This morning was a scheduled 2 mile run. It was beautiful out, well, beautiful compared to what I have been facing in the past month. It was probably mid- to high 30s. I put on a technical long sleeve shirt, some long running pants, a jacket, ear warmers, and gloves.
I drove my 5 year-old to school, letting my husband know that I would be stopping to do my run on the way home. I let him know that when the baby woke up, she would have to eat and get changed. Out the door we went.
My son goes to school about 3 miles away. He gets driven to and from school daily. There is a park that has trails marked off so I know which one to use to get my 2 mile run in. After dropping him off, I went back to the park. I put my ear warmers on and my gloves. I stepped out of my car and walked over to where I start, which is just a matter of a few steps. I took a quick glance around to see what I would be dealing with. I noticed a dog with its owner in the distance. At this point is when I always hope that the dog is on leash.
I hit start on my watch's stopwatch and off I went. I need to run around the trail 3 times, as it is a 2/3 mile loop. The first thing I noticed was that it was windy. I am not sure how windy it was, but it was windy enough that it was hard to catch my breath as I ran north and I was still running against the wind as I ran east. These are the first two directions of my run. The north and south distances are the longer ones. I would say that they make up about 1 1/2 of the 2 miles.
It is hard to explain the difference between running against the wind and running with the wind. Even though it was a gentle wind, there was still the resistance of it against me. I don't think I would have realized the resistance, except for when I turned south and then west, it was much easier to run. My breathing got easier. I didn't have to try to suck in the air. My legs didn't have to work as hard. I wonder if I would have appreciated it as much if I had started my run going east and then south. There is a clear difference, when running, between when the wind is at your back or coming directly at your face.
I have to admit, I prefer running outside, far over running inside. Treadmills are what I started training on, back in June 2009. I trained for my whole first half-marathon on the treadmill. There is such a difference between running on a treadmill and on a hard surface. I will run against the wind happily, over running inside. I think it might help with lung development :) I enjoy running against the wind a lot more than running in the snow though.
As I ran, I discovered the dog that I had initially seen in the distance, was not on a leash. Those realizations tend to slow me down. I don't want to get that close to a dog without slowing down and trying to figure out the situation. As I got closer, I realized that it was a young yellow lab. It seemed to be well-trained, as it stayed close to its owner. I still went slower passed it, just to be sure I had correctly accessed the situation. Thankfully, I had. This dog was on the north part of my run.
As I continued running, and rounded the east, then the south, the closer I got to where I would turn west, I made another discovery. There was a woman with a dog. This dog was obviously not on a leash. Once again, I slowed down. As I got closer to the dog, it seemed like an old dog, but I couldn't get a good sense of it. The owner was leaning over, feeding some other dogs through the fence. As I neared, the dog let out a bark at me. I slowed to a walk and then once I got passed it, I continued to run.
I was happy to get passed the dogs. I was even happier that on my second and third times around, the dogs were not there. I don't know for sure why people think it is okay to let their dogs run around without leashes. It has always been a bit of a pet peeve of mine.
My worst dog encounter was when I had my daughter in a baby carrier, and I was kind of doing a slow jog, a couple of dogs ran out from a house when the owner opened the door. I heard a lot of barking and turned to see a dog not too far from me. I turned my body away from the dog, so my daughter was the furthest away. The dog jumped up and bit my arm. If I hadn't had a coat on, I am sure it would have broken the skin. If I hadn't turned my body, it would have gotten my baby in the face.
Do you have any pet peeves about running outside?