This morning Tami and I set out to do our first 20 miler of this training cycle. I was excited because we were doing the Dyken Pond Loop twice. It's a difficult loop but it's very pretty. We also had a really great 20 miler there last cycle so I was hoping we would feel the same after this one, even though Tami was coming off a week of being sick and I was nervous about having knee pain.
Dyken Pond loop is tough because you go uphill for 5 miles but then you get a nice mostly downhill section for the last 5 miles. I like doing our 20 milers here because mentally you are only focusing on the 5 mile section you are in- either the hard uphill or the easier downhill.
Our first 5 miles were tough but we got through them at around a 10 min mile pace. Then we hit the easier section and we were cruising. I fell into a really great comfortable pace- around 9:15. I felt great. When we hit 10 miles at our cars we quickly refilled our water and set out for the 2nd loop.
The 2nd loop is always tough, you have to face the hilly section again. I'm not going to lie I was tired and cursing the hills a little in my head. I just tried to focus on the fact that I only had to get through this section and we would be back at the downhill again.
Somewhere between mile 14 and 15 a big pitbull mix ran into the road at us. We both stopped and walked for a few seconds to see if he would just leave us alone. Instead he kept following us. He seemed friendly but we were nervous. We couldn't really tell where he came from so we yelled loudly that someone should come get thier dog. No one came. We decided to start running again and he started running alongside us. It seemed like he didn't live in any of the houses we were near, it was a pretty rural area so he may have came out of the woods. Anyone that we ran into we asked if they knew him but no one did. For whatever reason he really liked me and decided to run as close to me as possible. This made things difficult. He kept trying to circle around me and was cutting me off and I almost fell several times. He also would run into the road and when cars came by he was running towards the cars instead of away from them. So every time cars passed we would try to get him to come on the side of the road. There were a few close calls. Of course every driver looked at us like we were irresponsible for letting our dog run freely like that.
My calves really started aching from my funny strides. I never got into a steady pace or groove because I was constantly sidestepping the dog and stopping and slowing down. I felt so frustrated. About a half mile from the end of our run I stopped to walk because I felt like I was about to cry. It seems so silly now, but my calves hurt and I just wanted the run to be over with but I couldn't push it to get it done because every time I tried the dog would cut me off and I would almost fall. I walked for a bit and the dog started running with Tami. I felt bad but I needed him away from me for a few minutes. I finished the run a few minutes later and was totally done! I felt wiped out. My overall pace ended up being 10:08...a lot slower than I would have liked but I was just glad it was done.
When we were done our new buddy looked at us like "what's next". We checked his collar but he had no ID. The dog even followed my car for a couple of minutes but stopped before I turned onto a busier street- thank goodness! I can't stop worrying about him now. I hope he found his way home. He seemed like a good dog despite scaring us at first.