Monday, March 21, 2011

Trail running

What's better than running in the East Texas woods (sans dogs, of course!)?

Running on Brushy Creek Trail, or as it is properly called, the Williamson County Regional Trail. I ventured out today while Elizabeth was at friend's house for babysitting swap. I've hiked the trail before with the kids and biked it with the kids, but running on it was a new experience. And since I was running and alone, I went beyond where I go with the kids. I am so fortunate to have this awesome trail (almost) in my backyard. Right now, it is a 6.5 mile trail, passing by four different parks and ending at the YMCA. I did not run the whole trail today, nor do I imagine I'll be running 13 miles soon as I do not see a half-marathon in my future. I might have to bike it, though.

Running in the woods (but not in mud and without having to worry about dogs chasing me) = WIN!

Now, since I am "running" (I put that in quotes because I am S.L.O.W.) now, I have developed a hierarchy of preferences.

Bottom choice, least favorite = running on the treadmill. We have a Y membership, so it is nice to put the girls in the Child Watch while I exercise. I think I'll use that time for weight lifting (which I have not started yet) or a yoga class or Body Pump class (which I have also never done.)

Top choice = running alone on Brushy Creek Trail. I may have to save that one for the weeks I am "off" for babysitting swap or weekends when John can watch the girls.

Here's the list, though, ranked favorite to least.
1. Running alone on the trail
2. Running alone in my neighborhood
3. Running with the stroller (I have not ran with the stroller on the trail, only in the neighborhood, so I'll keep that together)
4. Running on the treadmill

I think the reason I do not like the treadmill is that there are too many distractions -- TVs, people, magazines, etc. What I am enjoying most about running is being alone and not thinking about anything (except maybe how far I've gone or how much longer I need to run). That's part of that psychological benefit of exercise, I guess.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Angels watching over me

I goofed up. I really, really goofed up and I can't get it out of my mind. Funny thing is that this goof has no repercussions whatsoever. Nothing happened. But I am struck by what *could* have happened. I am struck that I made an adolescent mistake, one of those stupid, didn't-think-about-the-dangers things that teenagers are notorious for. But I am the 37 year old mother of two. I should know better.

I blame running. And maybe lack of sleep since we were up late the night before driving.

John and I left Austin after church Sunday night and drove to Hemphill, to my dad's new house, for spring break. The girls slept in the car, but of course, that meant Elizabeth (my non-sleeper) was up and wired when we arrived. So we were up late with her. We did get to sleep in Monday, and I was excited to leave both kids behind and take a run by myself. I'm working my way through the Couch to 5K program and am at the 20 minute run part (since I took off a couple of weeks after my bike wreck. Well, gosh, maybe I have made stupid decisions recently, like talking on my cell phone while riding my bike. But that didn't bother me mentally nearly as much as this does!) I set off on my run with my iTouch Cool Running program directing me. It tells me when I've reached the half-way mark so I can turn around. I ran to the end of my dad's road and turned around, finished off his road and headed onto the highway. There was no shoulder and it had just rained, so I turned around and passed daddy's road to head to the next little gravel road. I turned down it and was feeling great. That is what I'm enjoying most about running--how good it feels NOT to think about anything but the moment of running. And I guess that is where I got in danger. I ran down this little road as it got even littler, into the woods, thought briefly of the probable-meth house I was running past (a travel trailer in the woods surrounded by old tractors, tires, cars, junk), turned around and headed back. I was anticipating running the same loop the next day I enjoyed myself so much. After an afternoon fishing trip, a few of us headed home early, with me driving. I passed by daddy's house and reset my odometer so I could drive my route and track my miles. I took my passengers down that same gravel road as it got smaller and BOOM, five rottweilers were on my tires in no time. I put the Honda in reverse and backed down the road until I could turn around and lost the dogs at some point. But they were vicious. And my heart is pounding now thinking about it. What if those dogs had come after me while I was running? What was I thinking?! I wasn't! Nobody knew *where* I was running. I just took off. There is no way I would have outrun those dogs. I had to write it all down in hopes of getting it out of my head. I have two little girls to take care of. I can not be eaten by dogs.