Yes, it's time for another road trip. Even though it involves that trip over White Knuckle Pass-er-Red Mountain Pass, I'm excited. I love these opportunities to get a quick 24-36 hours by myself.
This has been quite the week on the homefront, with my brain trying to re-learn a new summer schedule for the kids. The single upside to the Tired Daddy working a reduced number of hours for most of 2009 into 2010 was that he was available to help get them places, but with the project he'll be working until the end of the year, that isn't an option anymore. Don't get me wrong-it's a thrill to not be worrying about work hours and paying bills. It's just meant a LOT of time in the car playing musical kids, and occasionally having to rely on other folks to help out a little, which is something I don't like to have to do. Still-we made it through the first week of summer so it should just get easier from here on out with the routine.
In training news, it's been a bizarro week or two for weather. Two weeks ago, I had the epic hot weather run when I decided to cut the route short as the temperature climbed rapidly. This past weekend was one of only two weekends before Missoula when I would be able to get in a 20-miler. So, naturally, the forecast was for rain with thunder and lightning all weekend. Remember, this is the land of 360 days of sunshine a year. It's dry in the winter and even drier in the summer. When I awoke on Saturday, it was lightly raining but there was no thunder or lightning so I decided to go for it outside.
Things were fantastic for the first six miles. The temperature was about 59 degrees and the light rain was just plain refreshing. I could've gone on forever like this. I decided to mix it up from the beginning, and ran my first loop in reverse. This meant that about 2/3 of the way through the 9-mile loop, I'd descend from a residential neighborhood down a paved path, cross a bridge and meet a path that has both paved and gravel sections around some lakes. I've been over that bridge a million times in all conditions, both up and downhill. Never a slip, fall or skid. Well, I guess I was due for something. I was running one second, and then BAM. Down I went. Hard. It stung, and practically brought tears to my eyes. I was totally rattled.
To make matters worse, I landed at the feet of my early morning training partner's parents, who were out for a walk. Nothing like slamming down hard like that for an audience. They asked if I was okay as I got up to run again and I assured them that I was fine. But yeah-wow. I've fallen on dirt and gravelly trails before and honestly just bounced, rolled and moved along without much incident. My butt, hip, and back of my right thigh just killed. I knew nothing was broken or seriously injured but it was just that deep, painful soreness with every step. Knowing that it would only hurt worse on Sunday, though, I resolved to get through it on Saturday. That was not to be. It started pouring rain about another mile in, and then the thunder and lightning began. Game over. I hurried back to the trailhead with a little over nine miles completed, and headed home feeling kind of sorry for myself.
The next day, the weather forecast was more of the same, and I just HAD to get this run in. To further complicate things, this project my husband's on right now involves work on some weekends, and this Sunday was one of those days. This meant my option was wait until 4 in the afternoon for a 20 mile long run outdoors and hope the weather cooperated, or take care of business on the mill of dread. Option number two actually didn't sound terrible this time. In a stroke of good luck, the older kids had been invited over to activities with various friends, so I just waited for the small fry to go down for her nap before hitting the hamster wheel midday. A little over three miles later, I finally had my 20-miler on the books. It was a hard run in the late miles but one that felt SO good to finish knowing I could have talked myself into bailing anytime between the leg/butt soreness, and the run the day before.
I've taken this week sort of easy running-wise, doing a bit of a mini-taper for the half. I do think they were quality runs, though, heading up and down the hilly trails in my area. I'm not feeling sore anymore at the site of the fall, so maybe things are coming together just in time to have a suck-free race. I'm going to do something I do not usually do, and practice some slight restraint early on. From there I hope to gradually pick up the pace for a strong finish and course PR. This running thing is all one big experiment, so there's no time like the present to change things up and see what happens.