Week Five and the Dangerous Squireel

Week FIVE
Day – 1 Today is Monday and I did not plan to run but managed to get in a hike with my dog. We went in the woods for about 45 minutes. We both enjoy these nature walks.

Day – 2 This is the first day that I have kept track of my time and pace for a couple of weeks. I was stunned that I had cut almost a minute off my time per mile. The fastest that I have run so far was just over a 13.2 minute mile. Today I ran 12.2 minute miles. I am running much more of the time and I pushed myself harder than I have recently. I am running 3 to 4 times per walk at least in the beginning of the run. By the end, I am walking more, but I am still going the same route and doing 2.25 miles. I also walked about 1.5 miles with the two younger boys in the afternoon while the oldest swam for an hour. Then we went to the park.

Day – 3 I was supposed to volunteer at school today but had a sick child at home. He was sick in the night and had a slight fever, but I believe it was a reaction to having two teeth pulled yesterday afternoon. My middle son has inherited my overcrowded mouth and will possibly have more baby teeth pulled prior to some orthodontic work in the future.

Day – 4 I started my run out by running 5 blocks! That seemed like a huge accomplishment. Our neighborhood is called Hillandale so there are quite a few uphill portions that I am not running yet . I ran most of the flat and downhill parts and walked when I was going uphill. There is a big hill toward the end that I ran part of. One day I will be able to run the entire way. I am not sure that I will manage it at the end of six weeks, but we shall see.

I always seem to do a hike with the dog on the same days that I run and today was no exception. I feel sorry for his sad face when he sees me go out without him. He sees the sneakers and knows that I am off to stretch my legs. Today was probably the scariest and funniest hike I will ever take.

Often when I hike in the woods, I worry about coming into contact with the wildlife. We have seen deer, fox, copperhead snakes and various other critters down there. Today, a squirrel jumped from a tree onto my back, down to my leg and took off running in one direction while I took off in the other. Wen I could breath normally again, I realized it really was funny, but I hope it never happens again.

Day – 5 and 6 I am combining these two days because I did no exercise to speak of. I must admit, I have not been stretching as regularly as I did initially and my goal is to return to that habit.

Day – 7 I set my alarm for 6:30 am so that I could get my run in before taking my son and his friend to the pool and then going to church. At this point I am running most of the flat/downhill portions and even short distances uphill. I started out by running four blocks, walking half a block and then running four more before walking just over a block uphill. I encountered two deer on my run, but luckily no squirrels! It was a beautiful fall am but I felt a little of the burning throat again that I did a couple of weeks ago. When I got home I felt like I just couldn’t clear my throat. It eventually went away. I did a little stretching and used the foam roller, but probably not enough. I plan to stretch more in week six and do some biking.

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Happy Place

It was difficult getting out of bed this morning. The whole family is still adjusting to the time change and losing an hour of sleep on Saturday night. We all went to bed early last night, but it was hard to wake up when it was still dark. We moved slowly, but everyone got off to school and work on time. After everyone left, it was time to do some exercise and catch up on my chores.

I started out riding my bike for about 30 minutes. I rode almost twelve miles on the trainer and I am closer to achieving my goal of doubling last years mileage. At the end of the ride, I got a phone call from a friend who was struggling with some sad news that her father is very ill. Since she is far away, it was really upsetting to me that she was so sad and there is really nothing I could do for her other than listen. Our conversation was brief, because my friend had to go and make some other phone calls.

2013-03-11_10-59-30_973My nine year old lab mix hadn’t ventured outside yet, so I decided to take him for a walk. We headed straight for our favorite place “the woods”. We are so lucky that we live within walking distance of the Northwest Branch trail and we can escape into Nature within ten minutes. As soon as we were outside, I noticed the gorgeous day. The temperature is warm and climbing and even though it is slightly overcast, hints of the sunshine were peeking out from the clouds. Birds were singing and Spring flowers are beginning to pop up all over the neighborhood.

The best part of the walk was when we got to the woods. I let Jack off his leash and he happily stayed near the trail and me and sniffed around enjoying the day and doing his business. We hiked down toward the water and began to walk around. The first sight of the water always takes me someplace else. Whatever thoughts are on my mind seem to float along the current. I can only focus on the still naked trees, the running water and the rocks and signs of life all along the path.

Today I was noticing animal tracks, new buds on trees and plants and just thinking about my friend. Sometimes when I am in the woods, I do think it could be dangerous if we ran into the wrong person or if either my dog or myself got hurt. I carry my cell phone and watch out for people and animals and keep Jack close by even when he is off leash to minimize any danger. Even when I lose myself in nature, I still pay close attention to my surroundings.¬†When we had been walking about 20 minutes, I ran into a man who was whistling and calling for his dog. His 12 year old hound, Trixie had run off and he had been searching for her for over an hour. I told him that I hadn’t seen her but that I would look for her. It was just at that moment that I saw a large wingspan of a bird I didn’t immediately recognize. I believe that it was a blue heron and I caught a glimpse just as it was settling itself on a rock to enjoy the day. I watched the beautiful bird for a few minutes, but it was really difficult to see because it was so still and blended into the surroundings. I did get couple of photos with my cell phone that I am posting below.

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On our way out of the woods, Jack and I saw the man searching for his dog again. He hadn’t found her and I said that I would keep looking and alert my neighbors that there was a missing dog. When I got home, I sent an email to the neighborhood list serve. Luckily I have since heard from the man and Trixie was found several miles from where she had been seen. Apparently while she was enjoying the warm Spring day she had found her happy place too and lost track of time.