Sunday, March 13, 2016

Trail and road trip weekend

This has been a weekend of spontaneous adventures involving trails, roads, hills, friends and bagels, which was just what I needed to keep me busy, tired and carb-filled. Saturday morning, Alison, Bob, Linda and I piled into Gus (Pete's van, which I am supposed to be occasionally using while he's gone, so Gus doesn't get all cranky from sitting around or lose any of his Fun Gus cred from disuse. Or something like that.) and headed to Naples to run the trails at Hi-Tor. We were meeting up with a group to run the Muddy Sneaker course, which is 12ish miles of hills, hills and more freaking hills. It was a beautiful sunny day and the run was hilly and muddy and, for some people, even bloody. (No one was seriously hurt or anything, but we joked that the race should be called Bloody Sneaker. As in literal blood from scrapes and falls, but also as in bloody hell, another endless hill!). The actual race, in April, sold out before I got around to registering for it, so it was nice to have the chance to run it as a training run instead. Plus I got to run it with some of the most badass quinquagenarians I know. I really hope I'm still doing this kind of stuff in 20 years.

Saturday night I made myself lots of recovery foods (vegetables, protein, tumeric smoothie. And animal crackers, because I like to eat things that look like animals but are not made out of animals), foam rolled, relaxed and fell asleep early. Sunday morning, Chris picked me up just before 5am (really it felt like 4am due to the Daylight Savings Time change) and we headed to Rock Hill, NY to run the Celebrate Life Half Marathon. I had never heard of this race or Rock Hill, NY. But Chris had called me Wednesday night asking if I wanted to go on an adventure on Sunday and I, of course, said yes. When adventure calls, the only answer is yes. He was filling in as the 1:40 pacer. I knew there was no way I could run that fast but I decided to go along and just use the race as a training run. The course was described as having rolling hills. And I figured running some more hills on tired legs after getting up stupidly awesomely early would be good training for the whole running-around-in-circles-in-the-dark-for-12-hours thing I'm doing in July. (Signing up for that nonsense will either be one of my best decisions or one of my worst. It remains to be seen).

We arrived in Rock Hill with plenty of time before the 10am start (Chris had to be there at 9am for pacer pictures and stuff). I was feeling pretty well recovered from Saturday's shenanigans, but fifteen minutes before the start, while jogging back from the bathroom, I had two epiphanies: 1) Change into a short-sleeve shirt (it was warmer and sunnier than I was expecting) and 2) Don't be stupid. As in, there are times to test your limits. And this is not one of those times. I haven't followed a training plan in years. I just run, strength train, do yoga, have fun, and most importantly, try to avoid injury. So I decided I would run this race easy and relaxed. I told myself that under no circumstances should I ever be in front of the 1:50 pacer. If I caught up to him, which I did a couple of times, I slowed down a little and just focused on enjoying the views. It was a very scenic course, winding around Lake Louise Marie and Wolf Lake, though I did not see any Louises, Maries or wolves. I did see some cute lakeside cabins with signs out front that said things like "Dances with bears" and "This is happiness" (and spectators with a sign saying "Hey Girl, you're running a half marathon. I like that" next to a picture of Ryan Gosling. That is probably the best thing about road races; you can usually count on someone bringing the Gosling). I felt good the whole way, with the exception of the ball of my left foot, which started hurting a little towards the end. I think I'm just not used to running that far on roads, as most of my distance miles are on trails. Chris had run back out to meet me during his cooldown and ran the last half mile with me, which was downhill and awesome.

We got some food, got back on the road, and listened to the rest of the book on tape Chris had brought. I had never listened to a book on tape before. This one was totally worth it for the scene in which a security guard is being chased by a spitting llama with a spider monkey (named Frog) on its back. Hilarious! We arrived in Rochester around 5pm, making it a 12 hour adventure day!

It was a gorgeous sun and run-filled weekend. The whole time I was running, all I could think was how lucky I am. To have a body that supports all these crazy adventures. To have friends who make all the days more awesome. And even to feel so sad when Pete is away, because it means that he is such an important and irreplaceable part of my life, and I never ever imagined that I would find someone like him or be living a life like this.

That sign is right, I thought as I ran past it. This is happiness.

Lyric of the moment: "Let's dance to joy division. And celebrate the irony. Everything is going wrong. But we're so happy. Let's dance to joy division. And raise our glass to the ceiling. 'Cause this could all go so wrong. But we're just so happy. Yeah, we're so happy..." ~The Wombats "Let's Dance To Joy Division" (Because it's true. That's why it's on my Deployment Sucks playlist.)

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