Capt’n Karl’s Pedernales Falls Sunset 5K

I’m new to trail running–my trail shoes have like nine miles on them–so I started small: the Sunset 5K at Capt’n Karl’s in Pedernales Falls State Park, just outside Johnson City.

Five Rogues from Rush Hour, my Tuesday group, signed up for this one–three of us carpooled and the others arrived on their own. Our races (20K, 10K, and 5K) didn’t start until 8:30 but the race briefing was scheduled for 6pm, so we left Austin around 4:00–we had a 30-minute drive to pick up BRF #3, then an hour to the park. On the way we encountered sun, clouds, and a little rain. Once we arrived, we were directed to park in a field, then we headed to the briefing. As we stood there listening to the race director and park ranger, dark clouds rolled in, the wind picked up, and we could hear thunder in the distance.

The race director reviewed the courses and instructions for the different distances. He emphasized that if anyone encountered a runner in trouble to call for help, then stay with that person. They’d comp your next race if you had to stop to help someone in distress. I hoped that in an emergency they’d get better cell service out on the trails, because my phone said No Service most of the night. Then one of the park rangers spoke about park rules–no driving over 30mph, no alcohol in the park. He was pretty vigilant about both things.

After the briefing, we picked up our race packets and then got in line for the porta-potties, and then the rain started. Since we still had about two hours before our race, we took refuge in the car.

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Just before the start of the 60K at 7pm, the rain stopped so we decided to go watch the start of that race. Quite a few intrepid souls were lining up in ALL THE HUMIDITY to run 60K, which FYI is like 36 miles.

After they took off, we unpacked our chairs and cooler from the car and set them up near the start/finish area. We laughed when a kid of about 10 ran circles around his mom, excited about the 5K, as they walked past us. She said, “Dude can you take it down about 37 notches?” Thirty-seven was an oddly specific number, and it sounded like something I would say.

We watched the 30Kers leave at 7:30. At 8 we got back in line for the potties–their condition had deteriorated quite a bit since our first visit, ugh–and then got all our race stuff ready for the 8:30 start. I grabbed my headlamp but decided to leave my flashlight and headphones behind. Of the five Rogues, two ran the 20K, two ran the 10K, and I was there for the 5K.

I really didn’t know what to expect–if I had been to Pedernales Falls State Park at some point in my life, it was way back in high school and I had no memory of it. But I also knew that I was only running 5K–it was sure to be far less challenging than the longer distances.

Tejas Trails’ website describes the course:

The Capt’n Karl’s Trail Series begins on the hilly, steep & rocky trails of Pedernales Falls State Park along the Pedernales River. Located 9 miles east of historic Johnson City & only 43 miles west of beautiful Austin, Texas. Racers will be enjoying minimal fence line running & lots of challenging, technical & gorgeous single track.

The two faster Rogues started near the front–they were likely to win their age groups–and the rest of us fell back. I really didn’t want to be one of those people holding everyone else up on a single-track path.

It was still light out as we started across the grassy track and onto the trail. And almost immediately came to a stop. Everyone had to funnel onto a narrow path, and for the better part of .25 we had to walk until the people in front of us got moving again. Well, at least I wasn’t in any danger of starting off too fast.

At the out-and-back section, each distance had a different turnaround so everyone was able to spread out a little more. The 5K went way past all the others, took a left turn, and followed the trail far longer than I expected before I encountered the turnaround sign. In the twilight, I didn’t quite need my headlamp but also didn’t want to misstep, so I turned it on anyway.

I had been worried about getting lost, but the trail was well-marked with reflective flags. Each turning point had a sign with arrows for each distance, and I had no trouble finding my way.

The second mile followed a grassy vehicle track along a fence line. With the uneven path, the slight uphill, and the complete lack of breeze I felt like I was working pretty hard, but the good news is that I was passing people. Mostly because they were walking, not because I was running particularly fast, but still. 😉

During the third mile, the terrain changed a couple of times–grassy track, sandy path, and uneven dirt road with deep ruts from someone driving through it after a rain. But it never got really rocky or challenging–I guess the longer distances encountered more technical trails. At some point (by now it was dark) I came up on a kid, probably nine-ish years old, walking by himself. He didn’t have a light, and he started running with me. He said he’d gotten ahead of his mom and sister and he wasn’t sure he was going the right way for the 5K. So he ran within my light beam the rest of the way.

With about a half-mile to go, we could see the lights near the finish, but we had some more winding around to do. Then we took one last right turn and sprinted across the grass to the finish. He ditched me there at the end, but after we gave back our timing chips and collected our medals I found him and gave him a high five.

Turns out I was first in my age group! Unfortunately they only gave awards to overall winners, but still I was happy to perform reasonably well for my first trail race. The 5K was pretty small, though, probably 35ish runners–depending on how they broke down AGs it’s entirely possible I was the only woman in my age group. And my Garmin said the course was 2.89 miles, so it’s not like I ran super far. It’s a bigger deal that the other Rogues were in the top five of their AGs. But I’ll take it anyway.

We rolled out sometime before 1am, stopping at a gas station in Johnson City for a restroom break (no one wanted to brave the race’s porta potties five hours after they’d already gone to shit, no pun intended) and snacks. The drive home took longer–winding roads through the Hill Country usually mean deer and other wildlife, so we took it slowly.

I got home at about 2:30am, but I was not about to get into bed without at least rinsing off in the shower. I hope my chafing-discovery shrieks didn’t wake the neighborhood.

Needless to say, I did not get up in time for the June Sportsbra Squad run this morning. But I’m hoping to do it July 21, if I’m brave enough. I may also sign up for the next Capt’n Karl’s race in the series, which is July 13. If nothing else, it gets me to visit some state parks!

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Impostor

Some days, I feel like a space alien trying to fit in as a regular Earthling. I know the language and can mimic humans’ behaviors, but I can’t quite blend in.

Especially when it comes to running.

Runners are people like Coach Bill, who wins marathons and is a handful of races away from completing his 50th state. Or Coach Vanessa, whose long legs make running 7-minute miles look completely effortless. Or my Rogue teammates who charge up the hills and around the track in 100* sun, dropping paces by minutes per mile and taking huge chunks off race times. Runners don’t stop to walk or interrupt a continuous track workout for a water break. IMG_3376[1]As a lifelong non-athlete who has struggled with self-confidence, weight, and body image forever, I still have trouble calling myself a runner, even after 8+ years. My coaches and teammates are nothing but inclusive and supportive, and I am proud of the improvements I’ve made in my pace and race times over the years. I ran a marathon, after all! But when race shirts are teeny-tiny, or when a half-marathon has a 2:30 time limit (my PR is 2:36), or when I’m suffering and everyone else makes it look easy, or when it takes me six hours and two minutes to finish said marathon, I wonder if maybe I don’t belong in this group of fit, fast people.

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I mean, fitness magazines (and my news feed) frequently display inspirational stories of people who picked up running, lost 100 pounds, and can now run a 2-hour half marathon, or something. It’s always someone who overcame some obstacle to become fast/fit/healthy and now sports a fabulous “after” picture. Not knocking those stories–serious props to them for their success–but no matter how hard I train, I’m not going to have a story like that. I work hard, I show up and attempt every workout, I always do more than the minimum number of sets, repeats, or laps, and I suffer through the Texas summer (AKA May through September) but that doesn’t scream “success” in the way most people define it.

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So I work on reframing those thoughts, reminding myself how far I’ve come and that Teenage Me would be shocked at how much endurance I’ve built. I mean, Teenage Me relied on a wonky knee to avoid running the mile-and-a-half each semester–probably to hide the fact that I couldn’t actually run 1.5 miles straight through. While I was an active kid and spent every summer day at the pool, including early-morning diving team practice, there’s no way Teenage Me would get up at 5:30 on Saturday mornings to plod through 8-10 miles. She wouldn’t have stuck with a 5- or 6-day a week half-marathon training schedule for seven-plus years, and she sure as hell never would have contemplated running a marathon. Kwitcherbitching and be proud of how far you’ve come.

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But then I hear someone–who, by all accounts is doing something positive–talk about their doubts. These are usually strong athletes, fit and thin people, fast runners. I should be reassured, thinking, “I’m not alone in feeling that way.” But more often what comes out is, “What do YOU have to be worried about? YOU look great in just a sports bra. YOU can run a three-hour marathon.” Instead of relating to their message of positivity, I think of all the ways it doesn’t apply to me.

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For example, I was listening to the Running Rogue podcast on this topic yesterday. One of the guests was a co-founder of Sportsbra Squad ATX, a summer running group dedicated to supporting each other and proving it doesn’t matter what we look like; we are strong and capable and are allowed to take our shirts off while we get our miles in. They encourage women of all sizes and paces to join, and the whole thing exudes positivity. One of my coaches is another co-founder, and it’s terrific. But then I see pictures from the events and wonder how I’d fit in. These are runners–of course they look great in athletic clothing. But I’m over here in the Thunder Thighs Club. I don’t belong in the Sportsbra Squad. I’m not an athlete.

WHICH IS EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE MESSAGE OF SPORTSBRA SQUAD.

But because I feel like a running impostor, I don’t think the message is directed at me. It’s directed at real runners. Strong athletes who look great but maybe lack self-confidence because we’re constantly bombarded by images of fitness perfection. Not for people who look like me. Or who run as slowly as I do.

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I can feel your eyes rolling at this. And I agree, it’s totally the wrong way to look at myself. But even after 40-something years on this planet (and seven years running with Rogue) this is my default mode. Idiotic, right?

But what can I do about that?

Looking for answers to this question reminds me of those “tips for running in the summer” articles written by people in Massachusetts or Oregon. Advice like “don’t run in the heat of the day” has zero practical application in Texas, where July and August daytime temps hover around 100*–it’s all heat of the day–and overnight lows are in the 80s. Same with this issue of self-confidence. Articles say to focus on positive self-talk and don’t compare yourself to others. Okay cool, I’ll tell myself I’m doing an awesome job the next time I’m trailing my teammates by a damn mile.

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Um. Clearly I need more ammo to fight this impostor that’s had 40+ years to infiltrate my brain.

All right. Let’s try a more realistic list.

  1. Create small successes. As a teacher, I know that when kids are feeling insecure, one way to build confidence is to give them a task I know they can complete. It has to be challenging enough that they get a confidence boost from success, but not too challenging that it risks failure and makes things worse. For myself, that might mean going for a short trail run–since I don’t do that very often, I can just go out with no strings attached and the bar for success is pretty low. I could also take the dog on a run. He stops so much to sniff and pee on things that I get a break, but it’s on his timeline. I’m not stopping because I have to, but because he does.
  2. Get out of my comfort zone. This one is a double-edged sword. For example, I’m running a trail 5K on Saturday night–something I’ve never done. Most folks are running the longer distances–there’s a 10K, a 20K, and I think a 50K–so the 5K field is small. Last time I checked there was only one other person in my age group. And hey, first trail 5K = automatic PR! But on the other hand, as a newbie with fewer competitors, I might end up last. The fear of being the final 5K finisher isn’t necessarily enough to overcome physical ability, so with this one there’s a risk.
  3. Focus on effort, and compensate for a slower pace by adding more repeats or more miles. For example, on Saturday I felt sluggish, and I hated what I saw on my Garmin. My original goal was 6-8 miles, but because I was going so slowly, I forced myself to turn around at 4.25 miles (for 8.5 total) instead of three or four. It goes back to building some success–focusing on my longer-than-planned mileage rather than beating myself up about my pace.
  4. Disconnect Strava from Garmin, or make Strava posts default to “only me.” Complete the workout as best I can without the pressure of what other people might think when they see my run on Strava. I can always change a post’s privacy later so followers can see it if I want.
  5. Do non-running things that can impact my running. Now that it’s summer break, I am not on a strict school schedule. I don’t have to wake up at the asscrack of dawn to an alarm clock, and I can pee anytime I want. So drink a lot of water, get adequate sleep, read a book, see a movie with the kid, walk the dog, enjoy the downtime.
  6. Attend a Sportsbra Squad run. I’m not sure I can make June’s run because it’s this-coming Sunday morning, and we’re running that nighttime trail race Saturday at a state park at least an hour away. But maybe in July?
  7. Complain less. I’ve actually been working on this one for a while. It’s going to be hot, I’m going to struggle, get over it. No one wants to hear a complainer. That’s not to say I won’t bitch about things in my head, but at least outwardly I am trying to focus on shutting down that sneaky hate spiral.
  8. Rogues Run Together. Instead of comparing myself to teammates, think of all the ways these people support each other. Open invitations to Taco Tuesdays, summer swimming parties, enouragement during tough workouts. We show up at races we’re not even running to cheer for each other. These people are not my competition. When I’m feeling like I’m not good enough, I need to remind myself that I belong here, no matter my speed. Just look at the new group pics on Rogue’s walls–I’m in probably a dozen of them.

Will these things help me feel like less of an impostor? I don’t know. Some days it all rolls off my back (with the river of sweat) and some days it’s easy to feel sorry for myself.

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I need to remember that struggle is not who I am, but something I must go through in order to improve. And stay strong.

 

 

[All images are from Nathan W. Pyle’s Strange Planet comic; the purple Prohibit Anxieties panel is currently my phone wallpaper too. 😀 ]

A little trail run

A few weeks ago I signed up for a mid-June 5K trail race. It’s at night, starting at a state park in the Hill Country. Several of my teammates are running the 20K distance, but as a trail newbie I figured the 5K was plenty challenging for me.

Because my right foot is bothering me, I decided I needed real trail shoes rather than winging it with road shoes. They arrived while I was gone, and Wednesday was the first chance I had to try them out. I don’t worry too much about breaking in a new pair of road shoes–I’ve worn the same brands long enough to know what works. But this was different. Since I’m not an experienced trail runner, I thought it wise to put some miles on them but I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew. So I decided to start with some moderately easy trails at a park along Bull Creek, which is shallow and popular with kids and dogs. I dragged mine along, figuring they could play in the water while I ran around on the trails.

I’ve been out here a couple of times before, although I’ve never run the trails. It was only 83* but it was sunny, and not all of the paths were shady. It was also really humid, with no breeze through the trees. So I brought my hand-held water bottle–I knew I could also swing by the car for a refill if I needed it.

The three of us set off, and pretty quickly the trail split three ways–the boy and the dog took the path that led to the creek, and I turned left.

A strong storm came through Sunday evening, on top of all the other rain we’ve gotten this spring. So the wildflowers are out, and vegetation crowds the trail a bit. In a few places, the path was muddy–more than once my shoe sank well into a mud puddle. That didn’t take long.

I followed the creek for a while, where I encountered B and the dog, then ran on a path that eventually wanted to dump me out on the roadway. So I turned around and meandered back. The trails ranged from a wide, flat dirt path to narrow muddy trail to rocky hills.

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After about 1.5 miles, I found myself back at the car so I refilled my water bottle and headed back out. I didn’t really have a plan–I just followed the trail and made random decisions when I reached intersections. I knew they’d all end up back at the trailhead at some point, plus intermittent signs pointed back to the parking area. I stopped to pet a couple of dogs, but otherwise I kept moving.

At about 2.5 miles I ran into the kid and the dog again, just .25 from the parking lot. So we ran up the last hill together and called it a day at 2.75.

That is a really small number for an effort that felt much more difficult. Also, I call BS on Garmin’s assessment that I burned only 220 calories. I mean, it wasn’t Everest, but it wasn’t all flat and easy either. Some spots were moderately technical at the same time they were steeply vertical.

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At least my shoes were baptized by mud and creek water, so I won’t be one of those newbies wearing brand-new gear to the race. And I’ll try to take them out to some different trails a couple more times between now and then. At least for a night race (the 5K starts at sunset) it won’t be terribly hot, but I’m not practicing THAT in advance.

Surprise

In early May, K and I hatched a secret plan.

After school got out, she and her family were road-tripping to Virginia to hang out with J’s family at their house on the river. But J didn’t know that I was joining them.

I flew to Cleveland on Thursday. While K was working, I walked her dog around the neighborhood and along one of the great trails in her town. Later we went for a run sans dog. It was about 65* and overcast– the coolest temps I’ve seen in a while. We planned to run three miles, but we ended up feeling good and went all the way to the town square and back, for a total of five miles.

The next morning, we rolled out for what should be about a six-hour drive. Except halfway through Pennsylvania, while K’s husband was searching for national parks to visit, we realized we were semi-close to the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, and we decided to take a detour.

The grey sidewalk marks the flight path just before the crash. Witnesses reported the plane was upside-down at this point, which must have been absolutely harrowing for them.

Across the field, probably a half-mile away, is the second section of the memorial, which marks the actual crash site. Through a gate is a section of grassy field, mowed to continue the flight path, and then a large boulder that marks the crash site itself. Only families are allowed down there.

I couldn’t listen to the phone call recordings–it’s just too heartbreaking for me. But this place, this flight, is less well-known than New York and Washington, and I learned quite a few things I hadn’t known before.

Eventually we made it to the river town–we played “beat the GPS” the second half of the drive and arrived just as J and her family were leaving for the fire truck parade that is part of the town’s annual river festival. K went into the house and I stayed just outside the door. When K said she brought along a navigator, I walked in. I believe J’s words were exactly the same ones, in the same sequence, I yelled when she and K showed up in Sacramento.

Its difficult to get much past her, but this time we were successful. Surprise!

Still shaking her head in disbelief, she led us to find seats at the parade. It was loud–fire trucks from dozens of nearby towns came through with their sirens and horns blaring. It was great fun.

The next morning, the Musketeers went for a run, following the three-mile loop around the peninsula. It was humid and I was dragging a bit. But they convinced me to add an extra mile by telling me we would finish at the coffee shop. I think they know my kryptonite.

We spent the day at the beach–it was not warm and none of the adults got in the water–and then ate an enormous dinner cooked on the grill to celebrate J’s daughter’s birthday. Then the dads took the kids to the carnival and we waited on the deck for the fireworks to begin.

The sun was out when I woke up the next morning, but by the time I’d put on my running clothes, the sky had become overcast and a light drizzle was falling. The three of us headed out for an unknown distance–we figured we’d see how we felt after we made the peninsula loop once. But from the beginning it was clear we were struggling less and enjoying it more. Easy conversation, no breaks. Just steady running in the cool rain.

There’s something about running next to the water, the waves hitting the beach drowning out most sounds. It was quieter on the bay side, but then the rain picked up. The last half-mile or so, it was pouring hard. At this point, K peeled off to the house–she hates wet feet–but J and I decided to run the loop again. We both felt good and wanted to take advantage of the cool rain.

The second loop was a little more difficult–the five miles in Ohio and four the day before were catching up to me a little, but overall I still felt good. And the last half-mile I sped up, which caught J off-guard and she had to come from behind. Of course, she doesn’t shy away from a challenge, and even my “strong finish” pace was slower than her usual pace, so she caught me easily. We ended up with six miles and like ten feet total elevation change. 😄

Sunday afternoon we hit the road again, returning to J’s house in the city. And Monday morning we woke up to more cool rain, so we headed out for a couple more miles. I was feeling the previous days’ mileage this time–plus her neighborhood is hilly–so my four miles were a little more hard-won. But I wasn’t going to pass up a cool, rainy morning, knowing my (much warmer) future back in Austin.

I loved pulling off this surprise! Huge thanks to K’s family for including me on their road trip; to J’s family for rolling with an extra person you hadn’t planned for; and to my family for working around all of this. And to the weather gods for the surprisingly cool running weather. Conspiring with K was fun, and it was a great weekend. ❤️

Global Running Day 2019

Running? Free stuff? Raffle prizes? Yep, that’s the way to get me to attend an event, even if that means fighting 5:00 traffic downtown.

Just before 6pm, BRF and I rolled into the Austin American Statesman’s parking lot at Congress and Barton Springs for their Global Running Day event. We were early enough to score a parking space in the shade, and then we wandered around checking out all the vendor booths.

We taste-tested honey, Ruta Maya coffee, Topo Chico, and granola. We scored Run for the Water shirts and stickers, Global Running Day shirts, and shirts from the New Year’s Resolution Run. Fortunately we also got drawstring backpacks from the Austin Marathon to carry around all these goodies. Before the run started, we dropped everything off in the car.

We didn’t bother with a map–the route went up Congress to the Capitol, then continued north to the UT campus. We could turn around anytime we wanted. After Tuesday night’s track workout, both of us felt a little sore–plus it was pretty hot out–so we decided we’d take it easy. Run to the Capitol, take a few pics, and run back in time to score pizza, beer, and raffle prizes.

Around 6:30, everyone started lining up at the start. Someone was doing a Facebook Live, and I realized it was a guy walking with Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano (who’s from Central Texas) to the front. I joked that we ran with Leo, but by “ran” I really meant “started the same time” as he did.

We ran through the Statesman lot and out onto Congress. We stuck to the sidewalk because it wasn’t like a regular race on a closed course. This meant dodging random pedestrians and those infernal electric scooters. It also meant stopping at traffic lights, which we did at approximately every other intersection from 1st to 11th Streets. I didn’t mind though–northbound Congress is deceptively uphill and the brief rest was nice. Occasionally we passed a hotel or restaurant as someone opened its doors, allowing cold air to escape and taunt us with its air conditioning. Did I mention it was hot?

We ran up and around the north side of the Capitol and stopped for a few pictures.

Then we looped around and headed south again. We had gone just about 1.5 miles, and that was good enough for us. But because I’d been running a little too fast to keep up with the group, it felt a lot longer.

The rest of the route was downhill, for which I was grateful. Again, we stopped at every second or third traffic light, but it was never quite long enough for a breeze to catch up with me and cool me off a little. By the time I reached the river, the heat and too-fast-for-conditions had caught up with me and I just wanted to be done. So much for an “easy” run–I’d treated it more like a race. Oops.

Someone had set up a sprinkler at the finish line, and this made me irrationally happy.

I grabbed an iced towel from Ready to Run’s booth, then picked up a bottle of Topo Chico and sat down on the curb in the shade. Then I noticed a volunteer in the 3M half marathon booth was giving away this year’s race shirt–just like the one I’d completely drenched on this run. The guy was kind enough to give me another one, and voila a dry shirt to change into! For those of you counting at home, that was free shirt #4 for the day.

Then as I sat on the curb and tried to stop sweating, BRF went off to find the beer. She came back with pizza for both of us and reported that they also had giant cinnamon rolls. I didn’t run enough (total was just under three miles) for pizza and cinnamon rolls, but that did not stop me. We split one of the rolls, drank more Topo Chico, and waited for the raffle to start.

A lot of folks had left after the run, so when organizers drew names for the raffle, it took between two and six attempts at calling names for each prize to be distributed. And they had a lot of prizes, so it took nearly an hour. BRF won something, but alas I did not.

Unless you count this spiffy badge from Garmin.

Getting caught in the rain

Thursday involved more than three hours in the car and a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. By dinnertime I needed to shake off the cobwebs–plus, I wanted to at least attempt my Thursday running group’s workout even though I couldn’t be there.

The road in front of my hotel had a sidewalk on one side, and I could follow it for exactly a mile to the Walmart (you know your town is on the map when it has a Walmart), detour down a couple of neighborhood streets, and work my way back. I was supposed to run :30 pickups with 2:00 recovery for 2-3 miles, plus warmup and cooldown miles. The road is well-traveled so I wasn’t worried about running solo.

The first two miles, it was oppressively humid and overcast; storms were predicted later. In fact, when I passed a woman walking her dog, she said that she hoped we didn’t get caught in the rain. And for the time being, it indeed held off.

But by the time I ducked into the the Walmart to refill my handheld water bottle, the sky was definitely getting darker, the temp had dropped, and the wind had picked up.

On my way back, the rain started slowly, but the real concern was the lightning. The childhood trick of counting seconds between the thunder and lightning suggested I wasn’t in imminent danger, and I knew I was only a mile from the hotel so worst-case scenario I could be back in 10-11 minutes if I had to. But yikes.

It rained harder and harder, and I won’t lie–it felt good. But most people aren’t like me and don’t appreciate piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. A passerby driving a Suburban stopped to ask if I wanted a ride (this town is so friendly) but I was almost back to the hotel and the lightning seemed to be moving away from me, so I thanked her and kept running.

I went upstairs (I’m on the 3rd floor and only used the elevator when I first arrived with a couple of bags) but after a few minutes of not hearing thunder, I decided I’d go back out and finish the workout. I only had three repeats left, then a cool down–I could do that without going too far from the hotel, just in case.

I ended up with five miles that created a super-boring map but got the job done. Piña coladas, anyone?

Hammock time

For the first time in many years, my district wrapped up the school year before Memorial Day. My classroom is packed up–all I have to do Tuesday is defrost my fridge and lock up the cabinets.

It was a rocky year at my school–one that saw unexpected deaths, reassignments, and resignations, and we ended with a different principal than when we started. I won’t miss a particular ugly parent situation, the state testing, or the work I put into applying for a long-shot thing that I didn’t get. I’ll miss these kids, though. We got through this year together.

But I won’t lie. I am excited to flip my schedule and wake up early one day a week instead of six. Technically that hasn’t happened yet, as I worked all week, kept up with Rogue workouts (a little over four miles at the track on Tuesday, then a short fartlek on Thursday) and then got up to run eight miles on Saturday. But the M-F alarm–no pun intended–is turned off for the foreseeable future.

Saturday’s run was humid and slow. I started after the 5:30 group but before the 7:00ers, so I was on my own. I made a wrong turn about a mile and a half in–I turned one street too early– but caught back up with the route after about a quarter-mile. I met a few of the early runners on their way back, but mostly it was me and my Chernobyl podcast. I started listening to it because it’s hosted by Peter Sagal, and I’d listen to him discuss damn near anything. But it’s fascinating history, and the first two episodes kept me company on my eight miles.

After our post-run coffee date, I drove up to the lake house. The guys had gone up Friday evening and mowed the grass; I arrived in time to park myself in the hammock with a book.

The kid and the dog played in the lake, but the water was too cold for me.

 

It’s super windy up there, but the sky was overcast when I woke up Sunday morning, so I thought I’d run the three-mile loop around the lake. Of course the sun came out before I was a mile into it, but it still felt pretty good. The uneven dirt-and-caliche road requires most of my focus, so I don’t really think about much else. Which is good because I’d finished all available Chernobyl episodes and I couldn’t find anything else I was interested in right then.

 

Then we went out on the boat. The dog is absolutely insane out there– he barks like a lunatic every time B goes out on the dock without him, and he has to be on the leash at all times. So we brought him on the boat thinking if he could see his boy, he wouldn’t freak out.

This picture is a lie. He looks like a chill lake dog, but if it were a video you’d hear nothing but incessant barking. So now he gets locked up in the house to keep him quiet.

After lunch, the rest of the day was more hammock time.

Monday morning I woke up with a sore shoulder–that’s what lake house sleeping does for me these days, apparently. But it was overcast and only about 70*, so I decided I’d take one more run around the lake. I went the reverse of yesterday, just for a little change of scenery, but the damn road has hills both ways so I really couldn’t escape them no matter which direction I ran.

And with that, my summer vacation is officially underway.