This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Run from the Water

Since Tropical Storm Hannah dampened my 12 mile run yesterday, I had to go for it today. Unfortunately, "go for it" only lasted for a few miles before I threw in the towel. What should have been a two-plus hour run turned into a little over an hour. There were just too many obstacles preventing me from pursuing the full 12.

I decided to take a route to Shelley Lake, go around Shelley, then come back towards Lake Lynn, take a loop around that (or two, depending on how many I had left) and be done with it.

I didn't start out totally confident but not thinking it couldn't be done. But once I factor my negatives, it doesn't take much to sway me the other way.

First off: I'm running my long miles in a different environment. Not usually a bad thing, but it's one factor -- I am running a different route than the past several weeks. This also meant that I would be exclusively on pavement, which is a bit daunting for someone who took two days off last week because of shin splints.

Also, I would be running in my new shoes. No way will I run in the shin splint shoes (AKA Brooks) and the Thursday run in my Climacools just reminded me of the _other_ pains I get from running in those shoes. Twelve miles in a brand new pair of shoes is had me feeling tentative.

Second: I was starting around 10 AM. Still early, but way late compared to my usual 8-8:30 starts. Also, a day later than usual. And I had an evening out last night, versus eating to carb up for my run.

I started off a bit slow, as usual. I wanted to keep my pace at or under 11 mn/miles. The first mile ended up being 11:19, so I wanted to see if I could quicken my pace.

As I approached Creedmoor Road from my neighborhood, I noticed a loose dog not far away from me. I love my dogs but I don't like other people's loose dogs. In fact, I am semi-terrified of loose dogs. See my phobia on being chased by a dog on bike...

The dog saw me and just stared me down. I knew he was trying to figure out what I was and why I was moving fast. I debated on just running past it, since it was MY ROUTE but I knew that I would panic and had no idea how to fight it off if it decided to attack me or worse, chase me.

So I took a sharp left to the Vet Hospital we use, ran up it's gravel road, and cut through it's lot to hit the sidewalk adjacent to Creedmoor. Ha! Ha! I felt pretty good that I was so calm about making that decision...when up ahead, at the intersection of MY ROUTE and Creedmoor, the dog saunters onto the very sidewalk I'm on.

Fortunately, he was not a rabid dog and ended up being more scared of me than me of least, that's what kind of psychological warfare I made towards the dog. He had no idea I was on the verge of panic. But he ran off and my next fear was that some car was going to hit him, which would have just traumatized me.

I run along, cross Creedmoor and take a left onto Millbrook. This was a decent route, despite the sidewalk and swooshing cars on busy Millbrook, because for the most part, it's downhill. I felt great and ended up -- according to the GPS -- going around 9:30 for the next two miles.

I decide to go clockwise around Shelley, so that I go down the big hill and the hill by the bridge where everyone feeds the ducks. I'm having a hard time slowing down (this is where I see my second 9:30 mn/mile) and I try to concentrate because I know I am having an adrenaline rush, plus the downhills are helping me feel great.

I cross the bridge -- having to dodge people who pay no attention to anyone around them -- and continue around the treehouse thingy overlook when I hear someone coming my way tell the gentleman in front of me something. I ask that gentleman what she said and he said that the trail was flooded. Oh. Okay. No biggie, I think, I'll go around. As I approached the flooded part of the trail, I noticed no way around and it was a good five feet hurdle to get over the flooded part. I make a U-eey and acknowledge to the gentleman "yup, it's flooded!"

So now I have to go counter-clockwise around Shelley and run UP the two hills that I was trying to not deal with. My new route is to go all the way around to the flooded part, turn back, and go back the way I came.

I can still see that my pace is still too fast for a twelve mile run. But it was one of those moments where it is just too difficult to slow I really going that fast?

So I go across the big straightaway that divides the lake from Millbrook...go down the hill to start around the lake and after circling around the soccer fields, more flooding. A LOT OF FLOODING. In fact, the water on the trail was just a part of the lake. This was too good to pass up so I took a break and decided to take pictures.

This is the trail as I first came upon it:

A different shot:

Then a shot turned just to the side where the trail was still dry, albeit covered with pine needles:

And another shot of how it is even with the lake:

And lastly, a shot of the whole lake from my end to the bridge where everyone feeds the ducks, well on the other side of the lake:

Fortunately, this side of the lake allows a lot of room to run around the flooding and I made it back onto the trail. It becomes this point that my watch no longer provides me with accurate readings, which makes me wonder a lot about my 9:30 mn miles. Except for the next remaining almost three miles, I get a reading of 7:45 mn mile and 2:xx mn miles. Not a single time does my watch make the drop-gps-sound, but something screwy was happening.

As I approach the left turn that takes me _around_ the lake, I notice it too is flooded. And again, it didn't appear to have a lot of room to get around it and I just started thinking about what else was flooded if I were able to get around that one. So I end up following the trail straight out of the park and onto North Hills Drive.

Once I got onto North Hills, my run turned yucky. I was no longer in any shaded areas and just direct sun...and the humidity was awful. I take my first half of a gel and feel like it never kicked in for the rest of the run.

I turn from North Hills to Lake Lynn and it just gets worse. It's now that I start factoring all the bad of this run. A 'cursed' run by all that was already mentioned and now, the route I had in mind being another obstacle and my watch giving me wrong times. I felt like it was a sign that my run was not meant to be.

So as I debate myself -- go home, no continue to Lake Lynn -- I feel a minor second wind. I know that going to Lake Lynn is easy on Lynn Road (after one major hill) and since I run Lake Lynn so much, I felt confident that I could put the miles in once at the lake.

I cross Creedmoor again and I've made up my mind not to take the left on the road to my neighborhood...I'm going for it and hitting the lake. But once I started up the big hill, and knowing how little water I had left, I said 'screw it! i'm going home' and the short run to get me back home was the longest ever.

So it was a disappointing six miles, give or take, of a 12 mile run. Well, I wasn't too disappointed, really, It was just an awful day, weather-wise, for this run and then everything else just made me not want to do it more.

But I got some good pictures out of it!!

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