Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Hay is in the Barn

I have heard this phrase before, also in relation to having done the training but waiting for the race to happen. And happen it will: Rock the Ridge will occur a week from today.

Multiple weeks with totals above seventy miles - check. Back to back long runs - check. Some hill training (but maybe not enough - check. One more medium-long run on the towpath with friends - should be checked in a couple hours. Race started and completed - no check just yet.

Check back with me in a week.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Attack From Above

It was only a mile and a half into my run. I was on the all-purpose trail, deep in the woods, minding my own business. And then I felt a little scratching on the top of my head. Instantly, several thoughts occurred to me:

  • That felt a little strange. It was like someone was playing a trick on me.
  • Was it a branch? It felt like one. But (after a quick look around), I realized it wasn't.
  • I quickly looked around and above, and I saw it. An owl!

Now since I was wearing a hat, and since it was only a little scratch anyway, I would suffer no permanent damage. But Mr. Owl did spook me a little. It landed in a nearby tree as I shined my headlamp his way. Then it took off and swooped down at me again! As you may imagine, I hightailed it out of there.

I made it out of the woods alive. The strange thing is this:

It was the second time I was attacked by that guy (or gal). The first was a year ago when I was running in the same area, also donning a hat and headlamp. That time I didn't see the owl, but something rearranged the hat and headlamp enough to make it shine sideways. Since, as with this time, there were no nearby low branches, I could only conclude that it was the owl.

And the even stranger thing is this:

It was the second time within the week that I'd encountered an Attack From Above. The first time had actually only been a couple days ago. There was some planning, and some cause and effect involved.

To prepare for my upcoming Rock the Ridge 50-Mile run, I had originally planned to do back-to-back 20-Mile runs for this past weekend. It had been a long time since I'd done anything like that, but it seemed like a good idea. Further, the first long run could be on the towpath in Brecksville or Peninsula before work on Saturday, and the second could be the 20-Mile Drop, a race I'd done last year. Unfortunately, the weather got in the way.

Several days out, I began to notice that the forecast did not look to be conducive to comfortable long runs: Heavy snow was predicted for Saturday, and extreme cold (for April, or actually for anytime) was predicted for Sunday.

I changed my plans. Instead of taking Friday off, I ran that day, managing to get enough miles in to make my 70 for the week. I would take Saturday off, and did not register for Sunday's race, (re)planning instead to run long close to home. It's often the drive that's more of a concern than the run when the weather's nasty.

Sure enough, Saturday's snow was indeed heavy. Did I mention that this was April? Per my revised plan, I didn't run. The snow was beginning to subside as I drove to work. I was on route 82 in North Royalton, heading under the Ohio Turnpike overpass, when I noticed a snowplow on the bridge above. Little bits of snow were falling over the edge of the bridge, onto 82, and I realized, too late to do anything, that it would also fall on my car. Had I thought quick enough, I would have stopped just before the bridge, letting the plough go by first. But I didn't think that quick.

The snow and debris did indeed fall on my car. Only a little at first, but then a lot. A real lot. Right on my windshield. Enough to bust it up badly on the passenger side.

Enough attacks from above now. Enough!

Doin' my Motor Good

Maybellene, why can't you be true? Oh Maybellene, why can't you be true? You done started doin' the things you used to do A...