Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter
Workout: Ran 6.4 miles in 55 minutes, 17 seconds; average pace, 8:38.
I've been avoiding it, the section of trail where I had my nasty fall. I knew it was crazy to do so. After all, whatever scared Denali that day was more than likely not stationed behind the fence to ward off curious huskies. But I could remember the pain and fear of that day, and I was in no hurry to be confronted with it.
Too bad Mark had other plans.
When we were discussing our route for our first "long" run post-F4F, he suggested the IPFW path. I suggested something else and made the mistake of mentioning my fear.
"It's time for you to face that," he said. "Conquer it."
I begrudgingly agreed with one condition: Mark would have to hold the leash during the run or at least near that section.
It was a CRISP 42 degrees when we set out, and I've been to known to say that this kind of weather is my favorite for running. This morning, though, it felt downright cold. I found myself a bit jealous that Mark had thought to bring his gloves. I pulled my sleeve down over my right hand to keep that one warm and flexed my left to keep up blood flow. (I couldn't pull down the sleeve because of the Garmin.)
After a slowish start, Mark and I found ourselves winding through campus. Acorns crunched beneath our feet. The air that once felt cold was now invigorating. Oranges and reds burst from the branches of the trees. I tried to lose myself in the beauty of the morning, reminding myself that there won't be that many days like this.
I had Denali at this point, and I had given myself permission to hand off the leash as we neared the spot. But after running 1.5 miles, it felt like a cop-out. I had the loop of the leash on my right wrist, with it crossing my body and Denali running on my left. I grabbed the leather with my left hand to keep more control and strode past the fence. I did keep Denali closer to me than I normally would so he couldn't near the spot but that was the only "precaution" I let myself take.
I confronted my fear and got past it ... literally.
The rest of the run was a bit uneventful. Well, except for the sixth mile where I seemingly fell apart. Mark had taken a short cut back to the house so he could finish his run and take the car for an early-bird car wash. I took his absence as a chance to slow down and apparently my body really wanted to go SLOW. I'm used to running negative splits and finishing strong but sometimes your body has other plans. And that's OK.