I had 10 miles on my schedule today since my half marathon is next Sunday. The best part was I was not even dreading doing it. I woke up at 8am, had some coffee and a couple shortbread cookies, (I know, not a real healthy choice)surfed the net a little and then decided I had better get on my way.
The morning was gorgeous, cool and sunny. I debated whether or not to wear long sleeves and decided against it. Good thing the t-shirt was perfect, I would of been hot in the long sleeves.
I am definitely a creature of habit and for that reason walk the same path every time I walk. There is a loop in my neighborhood that is exactly one mile around. In addition, the distance to a shopping plaza from my house is exactly two miles. When I walk, I do a combination of these two paths. I stick to these for three reasons.
First, I know someone on these routes about every 6 houses give or take. This gives me security if for some reason I felt in harms way, needed to use restroom facilities, or a phone. (I don't carry one when I walk because my phone rings off the hook and I don't want the interruptions) Second, because I don't carry a phone if my family needed me for some reason they could drive the route and find me relatively quickly. Third, I'm lazy and just haven't bothered to figure out another route.
One of the best things about traveling the same route is that you get to know the people and pets of the homes that you pass all the time.
As I'm starting down my street I will sometimes stop for a quick hello to the French Canadian man who always has a story or two to tell about his colorful life. I just love his accent. (I kind of have a thing for accents, remember my husband is English)
As I hit the corner of the longest road in our neighborhood I pass my friend Kate's house. She has the most gorgeous golden retriever Bailey who always greets me with an excited bark if she is outside. Her daughter Hannah is also one of McKenlee's best friends so sometimes McKenlee is hanging out in the driveway and shouts out "Hi Mom, how many miles today?
Then I come around the corner and approach the part of the neighborhood that has the one mile loop. I spend the most time here because remember I am a creature of habit so I just do the loop as many times as is required for the day before I add the two miles to the shopping plaza and back.
Here I have made friends with several dogs and exchange waves with some cute children who play in their yards in the evenings.
There is the house with the massive dog. I don't know the name of this dog but he is the fattest lab type dog I have ever seen. Sometimes, I don't even know how he walks but he always walks down his driveway to greet me if he's out. One time, I came around a car that was blocking the sidewalk and I scared the dickens out of the poor dog and he me. I laughed so hard as I gave him a pat and told him "lets not do that again ok?" His owner is this very tall big guy with long hair and a beard who always smiles and says hello. This family also has a little girl who is always riding her bike.
As I get further down there are two ladies that sit in their driveways in lounge chairs and chat while their daughters ride their bikes or play games with each other on the front lawn.
As I round the corner of the loop there is an elderly couple who sit in their garage most evenings with their dog Penny. I know Penny because whenever she see's me she barks like I am a burglar and they yell at her to "stop barking Penny, you know her she walks this neighborhood all the time you silly dog.
On the other side of the loop there is a young couple with a juvenile Weimaraner that the young wife is trying so desperately to train. He is a very hyper dog and once when I stopped to say hello and commented on how beautiful he was but that I bet he was a handful. The young wife replied "Oh no he's really good" while the husband said "Don't let her fool you, he is a handful and a half but we love him." I couldn't help but think what great parents they would be someday.
Not far from there, there is an elderly gentleman who has the cutest little brown fluffy dog with a face like a Monkey. So that's what I call him although it's not his name. This man adores this dog and loves sharing how he was a shelter dog and the best little companion to him and his wife. He tells you how lucky they are to have adopted him but I know how lucky that little dog is.
As I head back up to where I started there is a tiny oriental man who walks this very tall beautiful Collie. Not like Lassie though this dog has a black and white coat. I have never talked to this dog as the little man keeps very much to himself and just gives me a nod when I smile and say Hello. It always makes me smile though because the man is so small and the dog so large that I always think in my head that the dog could be this man's horse.
I never find my walks boring because there is something to be said for routine. I love that I have gotten to know these people and their pets. Even if it is just a smile and a quick hello.
In addition to these new faces I have gotten to know in my neighborhood there are so many families that I call friends. One of them in particular did the nicest thing for me today.
When I am walking I hate to carry anything that is why I wear my I-pod in an arm band. However, doing 10 miles I knew I needed to take at least one water bottle with me. I told myself that I would just find a spot on my route and leave it knowing that I would be passing it several times.
Of course, I didn't want to leave it just anywhere. I didn't want someone to think I was littering in their yard and throw it away. Plus, my mind goes a little silly and I didn't want someone to meddle (see: poison lol) with it. I decided I would leave it in an empty flower pot on the edge of my friend Christine's yard.
I continued on with my miles stopping at Christine's to take a drink when I passed her house.
The third time around as I was coming up on her house I noticed a white piece of paper sticking out of the flower pot. I thought to myself.
That's strange what is that?
Well, let me tell you what it was. It was a note encouraging me on, and nestled in a ziploc bag of ice was my water bottle. Christine took the time to make me a note and ice my water bottle. Oh my gosh, I was so touched. So touched in fact that it brought tears to my eyes. (this might also be due to the fact that I have most certainly hit pre-menopause and cry so easily it's almost frustrating) But let me tell you, the tears they flowed. It was such a thoughtful gesture and my heart swelled with gratitude.
As a bonus it sure was nice drinking ice cold water.
Hey, 13.1 miles yeah you. Next Sunday I am all over you baby!!!!