Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hot and Humid

Yesterday morning Gary Henry and I met up with Lawrence Mountain Bike Club members to do some maintenance on the river trails.  Art King, president of the club, was our fearless leader.   We also met Lisa, Jeff, and Chad.

Gary and I managed to lop 2 miles of the west end of the trail in about 3 hours while the others worked on repairs to the east end, a section that's notorious for being soggy.  Gary snapped this photo of me trying to manhandle a pesky branch.

It got pretty steamy by the time we were wrapping up but a very small but sweet mountain biker made it all worth it.  Urged on by his father, a young boy of three or four came pedaling by on the tiniest bike I've ever seen and said, "Thank you for cleawing the twail."  What a sweetheart!

Sunday I woke up at 4:30 and after a 15-minute long internal argument, I kicked myself out of bed and got out to the levee for an early morning run.  It's been scorching hot around here lately and I wanted to get my miles in early.  I was also feeling wimpy about spider webs...which is why I chose the levee.

I was pretty miserable the first few miles.  Even though it was early, the humidity was killer.  But eventually my hair became drenched in sweat which kept my neck nice and cool(er).  I decided to keep my run to 10 miles, because I didn't want to be stuck on the levee when the clouds cleared and the sun came out.

I sprinted across the railroad tracks before this lovely train came through.  The sprinting was actually unnecessary.  I had time to take my hydration pack off, get out my phone and start taking pictures before the gates went down.

This is actually a picture with the KU campus in the background.  Unfortunately, like your sideview mirror, images are larger than they appear in this photo.  Anyway, the blip in the center of the photo is Fraser Hall, the highest point in Lawrence (I'm pretty sure).  Oh and of course, beautiful crops and a big ol' sprinkler make every picture better!

Corn.  I like the lines of the crop and the wavy pattern in the clouds.  What can I say?  I like patterns.  Could have something to do with me being an engineer.

When I finished my run, I was distraught to find my car key missing from my pocket.  If you know me, you know I'm "key challenged".  I'm constantly losing them and/or locking them inside the things they open.  Aaaahhhhh!  Then I glanced up and saw this.  My key resting on the trunk of my car.  My next thought was, thank goodness!  My next thought was, I'm an idiot!  I can't believe someone didn't steal my car!  My next thought was thank goodness!  The end.

Almost the end.  Sarah Henning and I put in another 5 miles on the river trails later.  It was slow and steady in the early evening heat.  My ice-filled bandana was a life saver!  So was the great company.  Did I mention Sarah brought me chocolate snickerdoodles?  I have the most awesome friends.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

One of those days?

Today was one of those days when things just don't go right for you, with respect to running anyway.  It was a pretty steam day, heat index of 100+.  I was looking forward to the run all day, even though I knew it was going to be hot.  I just imagined myself relishing the heat.  I knew it would slow me down, but I didn't think it would hinder me much.  That's right.  Even after running for 7 years, I'm still an idiot some days.

I planned on running a 5.5 mile loop solo, followed by a 4.5 mile loop with the group.  I brought my Nathan hydration pack because I didn't think a bottle would be enough at these temps.  That was one good decision I made.  After the first mile, I felt just fabulous at my slow but steady pace.  I scoffed at the heat as it clearly had no effect on me.

As I continued on, the spider webs became thicker.  I started running into big webs.  The big strong webs are the creepiest because there's usually a correspondingly large spider attached to them.  When I unknowingly run into a big web I let out a little scream.  When I see a spider hanging off me, I screeeeeam and dance around until I'm certain it's gone.  Truth be told, spiders want to get away from people as quickly as they can, so they're probably long gone by the time I'm done screaming.  But the sticky webs don't part so easily, so the creepy crawly feeling remains.

Well the web density was increasing and my legs were starting to get heavy and wobbly.  Not far from the 2 mile mark, I decided to turn back.  I was kicking myself as soon as I made the decision.  Before I knew it, I came across a young gentleman running back toward mile marker 2.  I didn't know him, but quickly decided to use him for my own ends!  Yes, I let him clear the trail of webs for me.  And I'm not ashamed.  Guys like that sort of stuff anyway, right?

I decided to continue on to 2.5 and turn back, staying on white the whole time.  I didn't know how far my trail sweep was going so I figured an out-and-back as opposed to a loop would be the best plan.  I also decided I was going to skip the second loop.  Despite taking an S!Cap at mile 2 and drinking lots of water, I was still feeling exhausted and started getting chills.  I figured 5 was good for today, especially since my training has been, well, nonexistent lately.

Before the 5 mile runs I did on Saturday and Sunday, I hadn't run in 2.5 weeks.  Damn thesis!  I finally said enough is enough and had to move my focus from running to getting out of grad school, which meant I had to cancel my plans to compete in the Headlands 50 Miler.  Ah well.  I'll live to race another day.  Once I'm done with school I can do whatever the heck I want!

So, today was "one of those days".  But more frequently than not, "one of those days" has more to do with "one of those weeks" or "one of those months".  Yeah, it was hot, but I can't help but think that my pitiful month of running has more to do with today's crappiness than the heat index.