On my 8 mile run today I accidentally kicked a baby squirrel. It was one of the saddest moments of my life. But before I give you the details, let me back up a little bit.
I was dreading waking up "early" this morning (AKA - 7am on a weekend). We usually wake up by then during the week anyway, but I still have leftover feelings of entitlement when it comes to sleeping in on weekends. Even though I have a toddler. Silly Mommy.
Alarm goes off at 7am, Mommy grumbles and rolls over.
Daddy says, "Don't skip your run."
Mommy, "I won't."
5 minutes elapse and the second alarm goes off.
Daddy says, "Don't make me say it..."
I'd previously told Daniel to help me get out of bed for runs at all costs. Even if it means he has to flip on the lights, steal my blanket, and say, "Get up fatty - you have miles to run!" He has had to do that routine only once so far. Fortunately I remembered that I'd given him those specific instructions and so it was actually a really funny way to wake up. Minus being stripped of cozy blankets.
Anyways - back to the real story...
I manage to get out the door after spending some quality time with Ethan (AKA - stalling by letting him drink the milk from my cereal bowl) and head towards Lake Oswego. I was especially nervous about this drive, as every time I've headed towards Lake Oswego I end up getting horribly lost. I had been very thorough in checking out the google-map directions, writing directions out turn-by-turn (including how far to drive before the next step), and studied the arial map of the surrounding four blocks to try and guess the best parking location. I headed out the door with about 30 minutes until the run was supposed to start - not the best move on my part, as the google-directions predicted a 28 minute drive.
I made it within one mile of the park when I hit a road block. Apparently today was some sort of Lake Run in Lake Oswego and their downtown was shut down to route traffic away from the park. Oops. Whoever planned our run this week must not have checked the local race calendars. I was directed away from the main road and sat in a parking lot for a moment to problem solve. I couldn't tell whether or not the park the Lake Run started from was the same park I was supposed to be held. By the time I worked my way back to the main street (they had a detour) it was already 8:15. I figured that even if I could work my way through the standstill traffic, find a parking spot and run to the field - everyone else would be long gone before I arrived. So I decided to head back to my part of town and run my 8 miles at the Glendoveer Fitness Trail.
The weather was perfect for a run this morning! Clear skies, a tiny little breeze and the sun shining down on a nicely shaded fitness trail. I wasn't the only one out enjoying Glendoveer this morning. It just so happens that I was passed by the same pair of speed-walking Grandmas not just once, not even just twice, but THREE times. They were really booking it... or I was going slow. Probably a combination of both. In addition to some speed walking Grandmas there were also several families with kiddos in baby joggers, a handful of really serious looking soccer players, and two other women who were putting in at least 8 miles.
What about the baby squirrel? Well apparently there was a recent proliferation of baby squirrels at Glendoveer, because they were all over the path in this one spot. Each time I passed I'd see one or two tiny little grey squirrels darting around in bushes, running into the path to stare me down, and then running back to hide. On my second lap, one of the little guys was just chilling in the middle of the path. They're all conditioned to expect you to feed them (thanks a lot well-meaning elderly people with bags of peanuts...) so they will actually run at you when they see you on the path. I slowed down a bit as I approached and tried to guess which direction the squirrel was going. Then he sort of spazzed out and darted DIRECTLY into my foot. He just bounced off of it and ran off into the bush. I felt bad - who wouldn't feel bad kicking a squirrel? - but also couldn't stifle a little giggle at the whole situation. I'm sure I would have felt different if I'd killed him. Hopefully he'll learn not to rush at people on the path. Now if we can just talk those sweet older people out of hand feeding them!
Squirrel-kicking aside, my run was actually really great this morning. 8 miles is the longest I've run since I've been home from the half-marathon back in March. I was a little nervous about turning out 8 miles today, especially when it meant doing the same loop four times, but I did it! I really have no idea what my pace was as I've stopped keeping track and really don't care. Thanks to Coach Patti from the Training Clinic, my focus has settled onto endurance rather than speed and I'm feeling really happy about that. I may not be able to do a sub-9 minute mile in 2010, but I'm definitely going to finish 26.2 of my slow-pokey miles all in one shot in October.
With my first fully completed training week under my belt, I'm headed into next week with the same goal; finish all my miles. This will mean planning, doing, and not whining. Maybe a little whining... but just a little. :)