Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ridley Creek State Park; 12 miles, 2 dogs and lots of great scenery

If I've said this once, I've said it a thousand times.... running with a partner is soooooooooo much better than alone. Today I had 12 miles on my schedule for Gettysburg. I arrived at 8 AM to run 4 by myself and met Jeannie just before 9 AM to run 8 with her. The final 3 were a hard and I know I would have finished but I would have walked more than the 3/1 ratio we were doing had I been alone.

The path at RCSP is generally pretty clean as most of it is also an access road for folks who live in the park. The total loop is about 4.5 miles but I knew I did not want to do the BIG hill. It's steeper and longer than the one on the Audobon Loop. So to avoid having to go back and forth too much on the same path, I ran 4 miles outside the loop on other park roads. When Jeannie arrived we ran those same about 3.5 of those same miles and then headed for the loop. We ran left down to the Chapel Hill entrance to the park and then back up (literally) past where we entered and most of the way across the top of the loop toward Tyler Aboretum and back to the cars.

If you know this route you know that it is a good hill routine. I was very glad to have company or I know I would have bailed a couple of times. We kept up a pretty good flow of conversation the first 6 miles and that really helped. As Jeannie put it, "It helps keep me out of my own head". I was not very good about keeping up my end of the chat those last two miles. I was grateful that she didn't seem to mind. The company and the scenery really makes this a great run. Snow on top of an icy creek and all the snow stuck to the tree branches was very inspiring.

We met quite a few dogs on the road. All accompanied by humans but some of the humans were not very considerate. Two of the dogs came too close for comfort; growling as well. I don't know why their owners could not have reined them in more. I don't thin they (the owners) were trying to be mean. I just think they weren't thinking. Whenever I pass someone who is keeping a tight leash on their dog as I pass I make a special effort to say "Thank you". It really makes a difference especially to someone like me who is not comfortable around strange dogs; friendly or not.

I am very proud of our run today. We stuck to our 3 and 1's the entire time except after 4 when we took a slightly longer walk break in order to swallow and wash down some gus. I think my thighs will feel today's run into tomorrow but I'm ok with that. With Gettysburg I need all the hill work I can manage.

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