Saturday, March 29, 2008

Canceled due to snow?!

Yes, today is March 29, 2008, nine days into spring, only three days from the first of April. So who would've thunk it, yesterday around noon, when the heavy splattery rain began to look suspiciously like snow? Then the mixed snow and rain turned into heavy big snowflakes which fell throughout the afternoon?

It was awfully pretty to look at, here in Everett, and really it didn't have much effect on the roads or anything. It stuck enough to show on lawns and such. I did hear that they got a little more up north.

(I was lucky enough to get in an 8½ mile run earlier in the morning. I was home, fed, dressed, and on my way to a late start at work before any rain or snow began to fall.)

So this morning, my only hope was that we would not get a repeat dose of rain or snow, because I was running a 10K and either would make it a lot less fun. And actually, it didn't look too bad out—a little light rain, nothing dramatic really.

The race didn't start until 11 a.m. but I wanted to run a slow 5K beforehand as a warmup, and to extend the distance. Plus it's about a half hour drive from Everett to Arlington. So I left home a little after 9:00, stopping at Starbucks before heading north.

I arrived at Haller Park at exactly 9:45, the time registration was supposed to begin. Nothing was set up yet, but there were a few cars. I did notice, as I was driving in, that the trail seemed to have a bit of slush on it.... I parked the car and finished my latte, working on a magazine crossword while I waited for something to be set up.

Around 10 a.m. a woman came over to my car. I opened the door and she told me that the race had been cancelled! Apparently the trail was a little icy, or at least they were afraid it might be. "Liability, you know," in case someone didn't sign the waiver. (That would be the waiver where you agree that running causes "certain risks of injury and death" and agree not to sue anyone if you should happen to get hurt or die.) She said they had been calling to let people know, but since I had put my home phone rather than my cell phone on the registration form, I didn't get the message until after I got home! (When I did get home I found the message—probably left minutes after I left home—as well as an explanatory email from the Arlington Runner's Club. They've already put it up on their website as well.)

As I left Arlington, I didn't know what to do. Here I was, dressed to run and nowhere to go! With the grey skies, I didn't feel all that inspired to find a new running site. At least I needed to get out of the snowy north.

I called my mother, who is usually all too ready to suggest I take a day off, and she surprised me by suggesting we go to Greenlake—"there's no snow there!" True enough, and the 3.2 mile outer track offered a lot of potential for putting together a genuine "long run."

By the time I stopped by my parents' house, went home for a change of clothes (for later), met my mom, and drove with her to Greenlake, it was about noon. About the same time we probably would have got there if we'd planned it from first thing in the morning.

Best of all, by heading south we had left behind the dark skies and into the (almost) sun! The Seattle weather was still patchy clouds, but with sunbreaks. And as the afternoon wore on, it actually became rather sunny. At one point I even contemplated ditching my jacket, although by the time I swung by the car to take it off, the sun moved behind a cloud, I felt cool in my sweaty shirt, and I decided to keep the jacket. And my gloves, of course.

My plan was to take four loops, to total 12.8 miles. I could also try to make it a 3/1 run, which means to run the first three loops at an easy (slow) pace, and then the last one faster, ideally at race pace, though who can do that without actual race conditions? Then maybe adding another .3 mile at the end to match the half marathon distance.

Although the weather was dry, there had certainly been rain recently, because the dirt and gravel path was scattered with muddy spots and puddles. Anticipating that, I had worn my "trail" Asics, to fend off the mud and save my nicer running shoes from getting too dirty. At first the trail shoes, which I'd only worn once before (for a long run at Discovery Park), felt heavy and a bit strange, but after a while I got used to them.

As usual, the first round was work (warmup), the second was comfortable, the third I felt pretty good. As I finished that third rotation (9.6 miles so far), I thought, "I've finished the 15K, now on to the half marathon!"

As I headed out into my fourth and final trip, I made myself pick up the pace to something I might optimistically call "race pace," or close enough anyway. This time I didn't stop at the restroom—I wanted to emulate race conditions as much as possible, and I have yet to stop for a potty break during a race. Knock on wood.

My muscles were feeling the run by now, from my glutes (surprisingly) down through my quads and calves. Then there was my ankle. Not the achilles tendonitis ankle, but the other one, which I occasionally kick with the opposite shoe, opening up the scab which had just begun to heal from prior incidents, and incidentally causing a jolt of excrutiating pain. I did it about three times today. My ankle bone is still smeared with blood and dirt. I'm counting on my bath later to clean it up. (Might sting a little in the epsom salts... no pain, no gain, I guess.)

I forgot to check the time exactly when I started this fourth lap, but I think it was 2:00 and I crossed my starting point at 2:28. Acceptable.

Instead of stopping, I veered down to the lake to finish my half marathon distance. For some reason I lost my pace when I hit the lakeside path. I don't know if I was tired, hitting the wall, or just feeling psychologically finished, since I had completed my designated route. Oh well, I just jogged along, deciding to go on as far as the restrooms (and make a stop), then walk back to the car. I figure that was about ¾ mile more, so I'm going to call the whole run 13½ miles.

I met my mother along the path, and we strolled on back to the car (at her pace, which was fast enough at this point).

By then it was about 3:00, and we headed onto Duke's for a restorative late lunch/early dinner. I had a two for one coupon, so we had to order the exact same item to get our money's worth. (It's always come to grief when we've done it any other way.) So we each got the steak salad, which is completely wonderful. Mixed greens with sliced flank steak, orange and grapefruit pieces, blue cheese crumbles, candied walnuts (yum), frizzled onions (yum yum), and balsamic vinaigrette (on the side for me). I also ordered a cup of the Mexican clam chowder, which is even better than the regular clam chowder. And a couple pieces of their warm sourdough bread, to replenish carbs after the long run, you know.

We topped it off with a McDonald's cone on the way home!

We had planned to go see a movie later that evening (and even invited my father to come along), but ended up cancelling since it was snowing rather heavily and there was some fear that it could get icy. (I wrote that in passive voice to avoid blaming and finger pointing as to who exactly was responsible for ruining my plans. I'm completely over it now.)

I might go see the movie tomorrow afternoon, and maybe bring my parents along. The movie I want to see is Run, Fat Boy, Run, and I want to see it before it gets too many reviews saying it's clichéd and predictable. I love a cliché! And what's wrong with predictable? Too many surprises, that's what's wrong with the world!

Anyhow, I'm now off to a bath with epsom salts and my special new Naturopathica Arnica Muscle and Joint Bath and Body Oil. It smells nicely of rosemary and basil (kind of like a well seasoned chicken). But it's just as well I'm headed to the bath—my muscles seem to be locking up (as I stagger to my feet and down the hall).

Tomorrow I'm sleeping in. And not running at all!

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