I attempted to write a post a couple of times yesterday, but it was another crazy day, so I finally decided to just wait. The days during the summer seem so much busier than during the school year for some reason.
The boys had baseball practice yesterday morning, so I decided to take Joey with us and then walk him while the boys were practicing. There is a large loop of about four miles from the baseball fields. It's not an ideal place to walk a dog, because there aren't sidewalks and cars go pretty fast down that road, but we walked a couple of steps off of the road and into the grass in most places, so it wasn't bad.
At one point, we were going to pass by my friend Andrea's house, so I sent her a text to see if we could stop and get some water for Joey (it was only 66 degrees outside, but I wasn't sure how long he should walk before needing water). We stopped and I let him drink from the hose, then I chatted with Andrea for a few minutes before we finished our walk.
That had taken an hour and 15 minutes, and the boys' practice was two hours long. When we got back to the baseball fields, Joey and I sat to watch them play.
It felt really good to go for a long walk. I've gotten used to doing a couple of shorter walks with Joey each day, but to go walk for over an hour (in nice weather!) was great.
The weather was looking really good for a long run this morning, too. I had eight miles on the schedule. The kids stayed the night at my parents' house last night, and I ended up sleeping a little longer than I would have liked (7:00). It was still about 60 degrees, though, so definitely great running weather for July!
I decided to go to the Metropark to run, in the hope of avoiding defensive birds. I know there are birds in the Metropark, but I hoped that they would be used to having people around, walking on the bike paths, and wouldn't be so aggressive like the ones around here. I parked at the high school, because I don't have a Metropark sticker for this year, and then I decided to do an out-and-back. The park is three miles, but the car was a half mile from the park, and I figured I could just run a little out of the park at the far end to hit four before turning around.
I set my Garmin to the run/walk intervals of 2:00 run and 0:30 walk; and I also set the face to show only the distance. I didn't want to see the pace at all, because my whole goal was to just finish eight miles--the farthest run in a long time--regardless of my pace. As I ran through the park, I was happy to see that my theory about the birds was right. There were a lot of birds, of course, but none of them swooped in very close.
I was feeling pretty good, and the run/walk ratio was perfect. No issues with my stress fracture site.
When I got to the far end of the park, I ran through the entrance/exit and onto a road. I just planned to run it for a half-mile or so before turning around. Apparently, those birds didn't get the memo that people aren't out to hurt them, because TWO black birds dive-bombed me. After that, I wanted to get back into the park ASAP, so I just turned around early. Back in the park, all was cool again.
I saw a couple of interesting things on the way back. A huge slug was was crossing the bike path.
Shortly after that, I thought I saw a big nightcrawler ahead, but when I got closer, I saw it was a leech! I've never seen a leech outside of the water before. It, too, was crossing the bike path.
(I did see some cute bunnies, too, but they were too quick for a picture). When I got back toward my car, I realized I was going to have to run past it for about a quarter mile in order to get in eight miles. I hate having to run past the car! But I did it, and I felt really great when I was done. Eight miles is no longer "easy" for me, even when doing the run/walk method, so I was happy to have accomplished it.
My pace from last week had improved quite a bit, too (of course, last week was a humid, hilly run in St. Louis, and not the flat Metropark here). My average pace was 11:01--so close to sub-11. I noticed after I stopped to take a picture of the leech during mile seven that I had forgotten to pause my Garmin. So if I hadn't taken the picture, my pace would probably have been in the 10's. Maybe next week!
Tonight, we're supposed to go watch the fireworks somewhere. The State Park is usually super crowded, so I think we'll go park at our friends' house and walk to the beach. It's a nice day for it! We haven't gotten rain in a couple of days, so it's starting to dry out :)