The first part of our run included an out-and-back through the park where the scary statues are, although we didn't run on that path (I'm not mean enough to route our runners there while it's dark, haha). This is always fun because you get to see everyone coming and going, and spirits are always high in the first few miles. We exited the park and decided to try running on the same-side sidewalk, which is a new part of a road-widening project that has finally been completed. Amy and I got a short distance that direction, but then found that weeds were higher than our knees and were overgrowing the sidewalk from both sides, so we ended up turning around and doubling back to a good point where we could cross the road and run on the better sidewalk.
Shortly after we did that, we were in the middle of crossing a minor street when I could see that a car was turning left, coming toward us (there was no signal, and it was dark, but we did have lots of lights and reflective clothing on so we should have been visible). I grabbed Amy's arm and we shrieked/ran for safety. Just as we'd recovered from that adrenaline rush, we crossed the next minor street and a scary man turned the corner right behind us. By this point, we were quite a bit behind all of our other runners, having done that double-back thing earlier. Anyway, the man was probably just out for an early-morning walk, but he was wearing a sweatshirt with the hood obscuring his face (and it wasn't that cold, c'mon) - he was just a little too close to us, and although we were on a walk interval, Amy and I looked at each other and took off running. A few minutes at a quick pace and we couldn't see him behind us anymore, so we relaxed and I took a GU, as we were past the 3 mile mark by then.
Our next heart-racing event happened nearly a mile later - as we ran by another brushy overgrown area on the sidewalk (seriously, city of Bryan - come mow this stuff!), we heard an animal (snake/rabbit/armadillo/???) rustling, right by our feet. It happened again, and that was it - we both jumped off the sidewalk into the bike lane on the street...and ran a little faster to get away from whatever scary critter that was in the brush.
Finally, we got off that road and were onto our main running road. We were headed toward another out-and-back point, so we got to see our runners again - fun times! We hit the turn-around and started back - and shortly after, disaster happened. The sidewalk has these STUPID decorative cobblestones set in at each spot where a road crosses, and you have to squeeze in to a smaller area on the sidewalk as you run, because you can't run over them. Amy was a couple of steps ahead of me, and I saw her trip as she hit the cobblestones - she went down in slow motion, trying to catch herself, but we were on a downhill slant to begin with and her momentum was too great. First one knee hit the street, then the other, then her forearm and hand - I was afraid her face was going to be next, but she managed to stop that from happening. Did I mention she fell into the very busy road? I could see cars coming, so I'm trying to grab her arm and help her up/pull her out of the road, and what was she doing? Checking her (new) Garmin for scratches! Ahh, gotta love a runner's priorities, and I would have felt the same way...NOT THE GARMIN!!!
We took a moment to assess her injuries and how she was feeling - both knees were scraped and a bit bloody, her running capris had a big hole torn in them, there was a little road rash on her arm, and her hand was already bruised (but she protected the Garmin). We walked for a minute and she decided she felt OK to keep running - we were just past mile 5 at this point, and once we reached 6.5 miles, she could turn and go back to the park if she felt like it. We ran along for a couple of minutes, when Amy remarked "I guess I can't have coffee" - took me a minute to get it, but she was referring to the label in her capris, which said they were perfect to go for a run and then to the coffee shop with impeccable ease...awww. Ruining a favorite item of clothing on top of hurting yourself is just not fair.
Around mile 6 I broke into my M&M's - I'd felt my GU kick in about mile 4 (I took it just after mile 3) so I wanted to try and keep my energy up. We reached the point where Amy was going to decide if she felt like turning toward the park, or continuing on to finish the 10 miles - she wanted to keep going, so we did. She did really well until about mile 9, and then I alternated giving her nice encouragement with some harsher words that I knew would crack her up to keep her going. It wasn't like she had much of a choice, really - at that point she could have sat on the curb and waited for me to run back to the park, get in my car, and drive back to get her; but with only a mile remaining, she might as well keep running. We did see a parked police car near a park and I offered to get her a ride with the cops, but she declined. I think it might have been fun, especially if they took her to the park with lights and siren going!
We finally finished our run. While Amy was getting some much-deserved sympathy from our running buddies, I realized that I'd had some chafing going on during that run, which was starting to sting. Left side of my waistband, part of my left arm - I forgot that while things don't normally chafe during a shorter run, all bets are off on a long run. I guess I'll have to practically bathe in Body Glide before my next run. Still, the nice thing is that I ran 10 miles and didn't quit, didn't feel like I couldn't do it, and didn't focus on the enormity of that many miles looming in front of me. Plus, my legs felt pretty good afterward! That was a sweet bonus.
Of course we went to Blue Baker, and had such a great time - I love hanging with my running peeps. Amy iced her bruised knees:
Ziploc bags plus free ice from the drink machine makes for some nice ice packs!
And then, we went home for a shower and a nap. The Aggies had a bye week, so no football game to watch - as our friend CC put it, "what will I fall asleep to this afternoon?"
Later in the afternoon, runger set in, so we went out for Mexican food:
Casa Rod's enchilada dinner. Plus, of course, chips and salsa. Wearing my Houston "In Training" shirt with pride.
Massive amount of food, yes - I like to eat about half the enchiladas, some of the refried beans, and a little rice. Then I take the leftover rice and enchiladas home...mix 'em together and heat 'em up another day for an awesome lunch. Double the treat!
Come to Mama!
A couple of months ago, I declared that when we hit 10 miles, we should have a special reward for that, in the form of a Cafe Eccell strawberry tart. Why yes, I DO run for food! So on Sunday, Jeff and I went out for a tart...and it was damn delicious. It's going on my list for completing the Houston half marathon in January...yummmmmmmmm.