I took the kids to my parents' house, where Brian was staying, and then headed out. I was aiming for five miles at my target half-marathon pace, which would be 9:00-9:10, maybe a little faster if I felt up to it. I added a mile as a warm-up, and just ran that at a comfortable pace.
The road I was running on is parallel to a barbed-wire fence that runs the perimeter of a nuclear power plant. On the inside of the fence, there are a lot of deer that live there (pretty happily, because they don't have to worry about hunters or cars). A lot of people even toss fruits and vegetables over the fence to feed them. Anyway, I saw a very young deer on the other side of the fence--she had somehow gotten out of the perimeter fence, and was on the side near the road.
She saw me and panicked. She started running along the fence, directly parallel to me, keeping the same pace as me. As she ran, she kept bucking the whole right side of her body up against the fence, trying to find a spot to get through to the other side. I felt so bad for her! I wished I could lead her to an open spot, but I didn't know of one (the fence is pretty secure, for obvious reasons).
She ran along parallel to me for nearly a half-mile, and then I think she decided to give up. She stopped running, and when she turned, I saw that her whole right side was raw and bleeding from throwing herself against the fence. I felt absolutely horrible, but I didn't want to panic her even more, causing her to run into the road or something. I just hoped she'd find her way back inside the perimeter.
Right then, my watched beeped to signal a mile, so I picked up the speed to my target pace. I turned onto my usual route, but saw a loose black lab in the yard that I was going to run by, so I turned around and took a different route. Taking a different route meant a lot of running on the gravel shoulder of the road, which sucks when you're trying to run at a decent pace. I ran on the road when I could, but then I had to keep jumping onto the shoulder when a car came. If nothing else, my ankles got a good balance workout!
When I got back near the fence, I was on the lookout for the deer. I didn't want to scare her, but it was the only way back home. I was completely relieved that there was no sign of the deer (so at least I know she didn't get hit by a car, and she wasn't still stuck on the outside of the fence). I'm assuming she finally found an opening to get back through the fence.
When I hit mile 6, I saw that my average pace (with my warm-up included) was 9:01. I was still almost a quarter-mile from my parents' house because of the detour I took, so I decided to see if I could run fast enough to drop the average pace to 8:59. I ran under a 7:30 pace, for that short little part, and stopped the watch once I was back at my parents' house. Average pace was 8:58 :)
I felt really good about that run! Lately, I've been trying to do my "easy runs" at a truly easy pace, where I almost feel like it's too slow; that way, I can save my energy for my tougher runs. When I got home, I compared today's run with last week's, which was the exact same (one mile warm-up, five miles at HM pace). In comparison, my heart rate was slightly lower today, and my splits slightly faster, so that's a good thing. I hope to see the same improvements next week, too. It feels good to get excited about running again, and see my pace improve.
Andrea, the captain of the Ragnar Relay Cape Cod team that I was supposed to run with, is looking for replacements for Caitlin and me, since we're unable to go now. So if you've ever wanted to do a Ragnar, this is the perfect opportunity! The race is May 9-10, starting in Hull, MA, and ending in Provincetown.
You wouldn't have to worry about any of the organizational work--Andrea, as captain, is taking care of all of that. You would just have to be prepared to show up, run, and have a blast! She said that pace isn't an issue, so don't worry about feeling "too slow" to do it. I'm so bummed I can't do this race, because I've heard it's a great course! If you are interested in running with them, you can contact Andrea at: agellen7377 (at) gmail (dot) com.
The last two Ragnars I've run have been with a team that I just met the day before the race--something completely out of my comfort zone, but I had the time of my life! I've never met this team for Cape Cod, but I imagine it would be the same. So I'd love to see someone step out of his/her comfort zone and give it a try :)