July 8, 2012

No WONDER my legs are tired!

Grab a cup of coffee and prepare to set for a spell. This weekend was jam packed!

The weekend started with my favorite: a run in the park. For the past few weeks, my runs have been approximately an hour to an hour and a half. No long runs, just set the timer for half an hour and turn around to retrace my steps when it goes off. They average about 5 miles, 3 to 4 times a week (unless I miss hearing my alarm and accidentally run 6.4 miles).

Don't ask me why I decided in the middle of this heat wave that it was time to start running long on the weekends. It's not like I'm training for a race or anything.

In my usual gung-ho fashion, I first considered setting my timer to an hour. Luckily, I realized the inherent idiocy in running 2x as far as I have been, my first time running long. I opted to set my timer at 45 minutes. I also opted to run the bridle path instead of the paved bike path. I figured the dirt path would be easier on my joints. I did not figure in the increased difficulty of running through the woods as opposed to around them.
The adventure begins!
It was probably 85 degrees when I started. The plan was to run through the shaded woods to stay cool. That did work, for the most part. I followed the path, which surprisingly stayed relatively straight. No landmarks or turns to worry about. Whenever I did encounter another path, I simply chose the wider one and stayed in as straight a line as possible.

Until it no longer became possible.
Dead end!
I had no choice but to take the nearest path veering from this one.
A lot of the terrain looked like this
I did not run every step of the way. I ran most downhills and straight-aways. In the beginning I ran the uphills as well.

About 3 miles in, I ran out of shaded woods.
Like hitting a wall of heat
The field was beautiful. There were butterflies and birds. This is where I ran out of gas, though. The heat sapped it right out of me.

This did not stop me from ignoring my "time-to-turn-around" alarm, which went off at some point after 3 miles. The path went through the field, then around the edge of the woods and along the river, so there was some shade. I decided I would turn around at 4 miles, for a grand total of 8.

It was hot enough, I first tucked my shirt up under my sports bra, then took it off. I'm sure I was a pretty sight for the few people I encountered on the path.

I ran until the blood pounded in my head, walked until the pounding subsided, then ran again. This is what happens when I get overheated. My sinuses swell and I feel every heartbeat reverberate through my skull.

At 4 miles I began retracing my steps, looking forward to shaded woods again.
I think this is where I got turned around. I don't remember the turn that first took me up under the bridge. When I came back out from under it on the way back, the path T'd. I went to the right. Thinking back, I'm pretty sure I should have gone to the left.

I ran ahead, blissfully ignorant of my mistake. I took every wide path, looking to see that the path would have been the straightest choice had I come from the other direction.

At this point I was extremely overheated, enough to consider dunking myself in one of the water crossings. I'd actually started looking for a path down to the river, but it was moving too slowly and had foam on the top of the water. I couldn't bring myself to take that plunge.
Neither deep enough, nor running fast enough
to make me comfortable jumping in
I finally did find a crossing I was comfortable climbing into. I took pictures, but my finger covered half the frame. The water moved quickly, and there was a pool that came up to about mid-calf. I stood there for several minutes, splashing water over my arms and legs, and completely soaking my hair. It made me think of creek-walking as a child, which made me smile. Once my core temperature dropped, I started running again.

I came upon a path crossing I didn't recognize. I couldn't determine which path was wider, nor which would have been the straighter choice. They both curved into the path I'd just come down. I started wondering if I'd taken a wrong turn.

It wasn't long after, I found myself here:
Yes, that's the same dead end from earlier in my run, and I encountered it coming from the same direction.

Now I knew I'd gotten turned around, though I wasn't sure where. I also wasn't sure where I was in relation to my car. I had my iPhone with me. I use it as an iPod and GPS, but it's not connected to a network since we switched carriers. It has GPS, but apparently not a map app (something I've fixed, now). I'd left my real phone in the car. I was effectively lost.

I turned around and headed back the way I'd come... again. I'd crossed a paved path, though I knew it wasn't the main one. It led to a picnic area, which I assumed would lead to a main road. I was correct, and lucky that this particular picnic area also had a map.
By this time I was exhausted, still somewhat overheated, and no longer trusting my brain to work correctly. I studied that map for a good 5 minutes, walked away twice and came back just to make sure I knew where I was going. Then I stopped and asked a nice older couple for directions, figuring they knew the area. They told me to go in the opposite direction from where I thought I should, after studying the map. I was more confused than before, and not looking forward to another couple miles on my feet.

My GPs announced 8 miles as I walked out to the road. Looking in the direction the couple told me to go, I saw a considerable downhill just 30 feet from the picnic area entrance. Looking in the other direction, I thought I recognized an intersection with wooden signs. I decided to take a closer look. As I approached the signs, I saw the path I'd turned off onto last week. I knew where I was! Even better, I knew how to get back to my car. I was right in the first place, after looking at the map. The couple was wrong.

I was no longer running at this point. The bike path was another mile and a quarter, all uphill. When I got back to my car I'd traveled 9.25 miles, nearly 2x my standard run of late and a good 3 miles farther than I've run in a very long time. The car temperature said 95 degrees, in the shade. By the time I got to the freeway, it said 101.

I was supposed to go to my Mom's after my run, to lay a tile border around her kitchen counter tops. After my little adventure, I begged off. I wanted nothing more than a shower, lunch, and a nap.

I didn't nap. After my shower and lunch, I ended up spending the rest of the afternoon driving from place to place to place, trying to find an air conditioner. I'm always late to the party when it comes to air conditioners, and I did not find one in my price range. Just as well, since the heat appears to have finally broken. We didn't even hit 90 today.

Last night I went out singing and dancing with these folks:
Photo credit goes to Superman
This one too.
MoMo and Super Sayan Man were there too. I just don't have pictures. I was too busy wrecking my voice with songs that are >< that much too high for me to sing, and jumping/dancing/making a fool of myself. A fabulous time was had by me!

Once I got up and moving this morning (not the easiest thing after hitting the pillow around 4am), I headed to my Mom's to finally get the tile border done. 4 hours on my feet, going up and down stairs, in and out of the house. It only took one trip to Home Depot today, though at least 2 other trips happened in preparation.

Then I came home and cooked up a storm. I cooked the beans I'd been soaking since yesterday afternoon. I chopped a bunch of vegetables and added the beans and sunflower seeds to make salads for this week's lunches. All I have to do is add the dressing each morning.

I also cooked up my dinner for the week. This particular recipe is reminiscent of the Mother's Messes I made for my kids. Basically, the recipe for Mother's Mess is as follows:

Take whatever you have in the fridge/cupboard.
Throw it all into a pot or baking pan
Add cheese
Cook until done

This mess was layered biscuits, potatoes (boiled and mashed with plain yogurt, with cheddar cheese mixed in), bacon, onion and collards cooked in the bacon grease, and an egg + cottage cheese mixture to bind it all together. Not the healthiest, but wonderfully tasty!

And that was my weekend. Now I"m headed to bed so I can get up and run in the morning on tired legs. We'll see how well that goes. At least it should be cooler.

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