A deer, an unleashed dog, and a sprained ankle

Sunday: 5.24 mile trail run

Monday: 6 mile easy run

Tuesday: slept in, just went to afternoon pilates class

Wednesday: 5 mile tempo run – 1 mi warmup,  3 @ tempo, 1 mi cooldown

Thursday: 10 min erg warmup, then arms and core workout

Friday: 2 miles easy

Saturday: off

Sunday: 8 mile long run

Last week was … well, the last week where I decided all my workouts. That’s right: training started yesterday. But I’ll get to that next week. I included Sunday to Sunday since that trail run was… epic. I was really feeling  trail run, and busting out the Brooks Cascadias again, so I asked NB if we could hit up Frick Park and explore the trails a bit. We started in the usual spot, parking near the lot by the baseball fields and tennis courts on Braddock and cut down a path that ended up slicing off about 3/4 of a mile (oops). We did an out and back on Tranquil Trail (which is gorgeous, but all uphill one way) before heading up this one killer hill that ALWAYS kills me. This time I nearly made it to the top without stopping, and walked only the last few feet and took a little break while we decided where to go. We usually headed right, but to the left there was a right and left fork to try. We decided to go on the right fork, thinking – though there was an uphill – it couldn’t be much more. But HOLY DAMN there was still a lot of steep uphill. I had to walk. I HAD to. It finally leveled off and started coasting down a bit, narrowing down to some decently technical single track.

Then our concern was: was this going all the way back down, so we’d have to come all the way back up again? I just tried to ignore my I-hate-hills demons and enjoy the single track. It was GORGEOUS. At times I felt like I was flying. I shut my music off and just enjoyed finding my foot holds and dodging branches. The path seemed to loop around, and I was getting a good feeling: it seemed like ti was looping back to that left fork path. A little later, I stuck my hand out and said quietly to NB: Wait.

Ahead of us, on a little bridge, was a doe, who was munching and then stood up and looked around, pricking her ears. About five seconds later there was a harsh whistle (an actual whistle, not just someone whistling) as a guy with his unleashed dog tried to call him back as ran toward the deer, who of course bolted. I HATE unleashed dogs. There are HUGE SIGNS in the park saying to leash your dogs or face a fine (and my cousin’s dog got attacked in this very park by an unleashed dog, so this isn’t just people safety I’m talking about. I love animals.). But I was glad for the sight of the deer, brief as it was.

I pretty much rode a high the rest of the run and as we finished and stretched back at the parking lot, joyfully dirty and tired, it started to drip rain a bit. It was glorious.

The rest of  the week, I wanted to push. On Monday I slept in and NB and I went on a post-work run, a six mile loop that is pretty much uphill for the first couple miles, including the ever-gnarly Negley climb within the first mile of the run. I made it without walking a step, even if I was totally dying. We even talked most of the time, which was really nice. On Wednesday, I scheduled myself a tempo run and ripped it up. The only downside was some intermittent GI discomfort that caused me to stop and walk a few steps a couple times (out of necessity, not laziness, I swear) but I hit my splits and was very happy about how I did.

Sunday’s long run was… questionable. It was wicked humid and NB and I were suffering. I had to take a walk break a few miles in, but after that felt significantly better (especially since the worst hills were over, and I took a gel), but NB was bonking. He asked to walk and we did, and just as he was trying to push through the last two or so miles, we stepped off a curb onto a street that had been scraped recently and he rolled his ankle… badly. So badly he yelled out loud in pain and immediately stopped to walk. He tried to walk it off a few blocks but the pain didn’t subside. So I hightailed it home (doing the last two miles somewhere between tempo pace and HM goal pace) and brought some shot blocks, ice, ace bandage and water. He’s got a lovely-colored bruise on his foot and has been wearing a brace. No running this week (at least)! It really sucks, but if you’re going to get injured, I suppose its’ better to be at the beginning of training, and not the middle or end.

So today is the first day of summer, and the first run of the new training cycle. I’m again using a Runners World Smart Coach plan, and we’re doing it a lot tougher: mileage is starting higher; there are a lot more double-digit long runs; we’re starting at four runs a week and getting up to five, rather than starting at three and getting up to four; and instead of three weeks of building followed by a recovery week, it’s four weeks of building.

Can you feel it? Feels like a recipe for a PR. And I am so READY.

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I'm a 35-year-old writer and runner. This is my running blog.

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