I continued my training in the cold, wet North. We had two days of 50 degree weather, so most of the snow melted and the roads were clear by the time the cold came back. I moved some firewood into the cellar for my Dad for cross training on Tuesday. I even ran on Christmas morning and the morning after (the day of my flight back to Florida). I headed into work on Friday and it was my turn to clean the hippo pool - via SCUBA. I am on the Dive Team at work and we help the Edge of Africa keepers clean the hippo pool. Maneuvering in the water is definitely a workout. Once out of the water and running the next day, the warmer weather was appreciated - I did not have to wear so much gear.
Well...a climactic end to Week 4 - I can honestly say that has never happened before.
It pretty much only snowed my first few days here. On Wednesday, I ran 4 miles in 40 minutes on a snow-covered, slippery road. Thursday was a rest day. I took Riley for a long walk on Friday - it was a snow-slush mix, depending on which road I was walking. And then, today.
I planned a 6 mile route - which happens to be most of my old school bus route - and headed out. At 11:30 am, it was already 51 degrees - a December heat wave! Most of the snow had melted and the roads were mostly bare. Once I got into the back woods, in the shade, it was a little colder and the roads were still covered. It was a pleasant, relaxed run until mile 3.5.
I first noticed the dog running through the snow, heading for the road - and right to where my legs were taking me. I was in denial - every dog I've ever run past in Florida has been contained by a fence. And then denial turned into run-for-my-life fear.
I am an animal person - I dog-sit pitbulls (and chihuahuas and dachshunds) all the time - I'm comfortable around dogs. But...I was bit by a German Shepherd when I was 10, and I've had an unreasonable fear of German Shepherds since, and though this was not a German Shepherd and I understand the desire for dogs to chase things, it was inches away from biting my ass. And I like my ass just how it is - I also like my legs - I kind of need them for this marathon.
So...it's lunging at me with both front paws, opening and snapping shut its mouth as its snout lunged at me - I am really not exaggerating. I was scared, filled with adrenaline. It was at least 80 pounds - I looked up dog breeds later and it was a Bull Mastiff. I saw no owners in sight. I was trying to run away and fend it off with my feet - I really had nothing else to defend myself. I always make fun of the teen in horror movies that keeps looking at the killer over their shoulder while stumbling and trying to run away. I get it now - I couldn't help but look back - it was instinct.
To those that say, "I only run when I'm being chased" - I say to you - if I had not been training all these months (with nothing chasing me), I would not have been able to outrun this dog. To which, they would say, if you weren't running in the first place, you wouldn't have had to outrun the dog. Touche!
In any case, I was not bit - and I completed my workouts for Week 4.
Yesterday, I finished out my work week - yay for Super Friday! - got a quick 5 mile run done in 46 minutes, showered, finished packing and headed to my friend's house...so she could drive me to the airport (thanks, Kristin!). One three-hour flight later and I was in single digit weather. Yippee! It's always nice when my Dad remembers to bring my winter coat into the airport to warm it up, so I don't have to put on an I'm-an-icicle-from-sitting-in-the-car jacket, or lug one up from Florida. Do I even have a jacket there that would keep me warm enough? I can deal with the cold, because it's always nice to come home...to Ashburnham, Massachusetts, that is - where I've lived since I was one year old in a house my Dad built with his best friend. It is a small town and we live kind of out in the middle of the woods - it borders a state forest. I am a New Englander at heart, but I have the (thin) blood of a Floridian. "Cold" in Florida is just not comparable to this.
I slept in a little this morning - both my parents had headed to work already - but I force-fed myself a glass of orange juice (woo hoo!) and fresh bagels from a little shop downtown were waiting for me. One of my favorite things about coming home - the local delicacies, i.e. bagels, AleHouse pizza, and the local grocer's frozen fruit punch concentrate. I watched some TV, then headed out for my cross training for the day - walking our dog, Riley, in the snow - we saw a single turkey on our walk, wandering up the middle of the road.and I also shoveled a path to the woodpile out back (and the walkway out front for good measure) after the walk.
It kept snowing throughout the day, so after my parents got home, we made dinner and watched a few TV shows together, and then the snow finally stopped. I got my second "workout" of the day by re-shoveling the pathways while my Dad snow-blowed the driveway. I'm pretty sure we got at least 8 inches today. Good to be home. :)