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!

North Canton YMCA 4th of July 5-mile

Since I have participated in the Ohio Challenge Series many years, I've done this race many times, albeit many moons ago. It's a fun...