Seven at 7:00 and One Mean Dog

This morning, I started my new Saturday routine. Now that half-marathon training has officially started, no more sleeping in! I rolled out of bed at 5:40 a.m. to give myself time to have cereal, coffee (critical!), and generally wake up before meeting my running group about 20 minutes across town. We were meeting at the local winery for a seven-mile run in the country. Six of us showed up.

It was a nice run over rolling hills in the midst of farmland, except for one problem---a very angry German shepherd. I've had dogs run out to the road and bark at me from the edge of their yard, but this was different. This German shepherd was growling and clearly meant business! One guy running with us saw him and said, "Whoa!" He had just been talking about how he's not scared of dogs, but he could tell this dog was seriously about to attack us. I hadn't even seen the dog because he wasn't barking, just growling. It's owner came running after it yelling, "No!" at the dog, but the panic in her voice kind of freaked us out. She really sounded scared the dog was going to hurt one of us. The guy running with us stopped dead in his tracks and turned his entire body to face the dog--- and the dog backed down. (I don't know if this is a technique to make yourself look bigger and the dog stop and think---anyone know?)

Anyway, she reigned in her dog, I yelled "Thanks!" and we went on our way.

That was the first time I've run seven miles since the day I ran 13.1 in the Country Music Half-Marathon. I've done 6 four times since then, but hadn't done a seven-miler until today. It wasn't bad at all. From here, it's just add another mile per week on my long run until I get to 12 or 13. No problem.

I think the hardest part of getting ready for a half-marathon is building up to that six-mile base. (I'm so glad I hung on to that base this summer!) Once you get to the half-way point, you can start to wrap your mind around adding one more mile per week, and before you know it, you're doing 10 and 11 mile runs. And they're not bad at all.

I wish training for a full marathon would be so uncomplicated! But I have a feeling that will be a whole different ballgame. For now, I'm considering the Country Music Marathon next April, but we'll have to see how it goes.