But first we start at the start. It's really cold and very windy here in Western MD, but I will run outside for as long as I can. So I put on my tights and silly hat and hit the road.
I wanted to do an out and back run of 7, maybe 8, miles down our very hilly road. I usually run a route on a side road closer to home with one hill that I call Big Bertha. It's about 200 meters long and a pretty decent incline and I use it for my hill repeats.
There are two big hills about 3 miles from my house (with lots of rolling hills in between), and I call them Big Bertha's Grandmas. They meet in a pleasant little valley so you careen down one hill only to have to claw your way up the next one.
They kill me. Every time.
I trudge up them chanting in my head. 'Strength. You are strong. Maintain effort, not speed. Strength....' and so on. And I set mini goals. To the mailbox. To the tree. To that patch of brown grass. And then try to go farther the next time.
Grandma #1; On the way out
I can do it!
This morning I made it to the top. My calves were crying but I did it. I ran about a half mile more to the next crossroads and turned around so I could do it all again.
I did not make it to the top of the second hill, but I'm ok with that. And so are my calves.
Grandma #2; On the way back
This morning before I left I told Bill where and how far I was planning to run. And he told me to be careful and watch for deer. Um, ok? Then he reminded me that it's hunting season and I need to be mindful because there are lots of hunters out and they may overshoot and who knows what they may hit (something like me???).
I heard lots of gun shots in the distance on the way out and saw lots of trucks parked in clearings but didn't see any deer. I was minding my beeswax, trying not to croak after those hills when I looked to my right. In a huge open field there was a gaggle of deer. On the other side of them was a line of trees. You know, where a hunter may be hanging out waiting to fill his freezer for the winter.
So if he overshot, he COULD hit me. Well, crap; I guess Bill had point afterall. Yes, honey you were right.
The good thing is the deer took off. But the little suckers ran in the direction I was going and they kept stopping every now and then, like they wanted me to catch up. Of course there were intermittent gun shots off in the distance to keep my attention.
Wondering if I was going to need to hit the deck helped to pass the time. I started picturing myself doing a cool tuck and roll where I would jump back to my feet and keep running. I AM that cool...in my own mind anyway. Finally they veered off, and I was on my own.
Until I met up with the honey wagon. I waved at the nice farmer driving it and kept running as he slowly moved ahead of me. Then I realized I was looking at the business end of a poop machine.
Thankfully he did not turn it on. And in this cold weather my nose was so full that I couldn't smell the poo. Win, win.
The rest of my run was very uneventful with only speeding drivers barreling down on me and the pavement under my feet. I ran 7.25 miles in 1:21:14 which is an 11:12 pace. Not bad considering I haven't really done any real hill running since my last half marathon in early October.
I may change my name to Runs Hills with Deer. After hunting season ends.