On my 45th birthday a wretched cold virus attacked, spackling my gnarly sinuses with an impenetrable layer of phlegm for which nothing would effectively thin except for Sudafed and running. Thank goodness for running. I haven't felt much like running, but the promise of bilateral even nostril air flow was enough to get me out the door during the week.
I'm supposed to be training for Wild Bills' Bad Ass 50K next weekend. I despise Perkins trail, as probably 75% of trail runners do--the featured trail that makes this run so "bad-ass". It's a five mile hellish, but pretty, bridle loop trail of mud and muck. I ran it a few weeks ago a group of runners along which were the sadistic creators of this event--Wild Bill and Chef Bill Bailey. On this particular day, it was raining, cold, and understandably muddy, but take note--this trail NEVER dries out. I've run it a few times in the summer and it was almost as bad. There was one section where I took a step and my right foot sunk up to my freakin' knees. I had barely enough strength to pull myself out. For a mere second, I thought I was being pulled down into hell, but, last second, spit back up to earth since running this trail is more punishment. Bob, Debi, and I ran one loop of this sadistic muddy rat wheel, later defecting to the higher, drier trail running bliss of Oakhill trail head just up the road.
My hope is to go as far as I can on Wild Bills' Bad-Ass. It's a free event, so I don't have cold hard cash invested, but I'll use it as an opportunity to be with my running friends and train for the upcoming Run for Regis 50K in January, the former Buckeye Winter K which has moved to a new location due to parking and other issues. Bob initiated a familiarization training run for the Regis run sending out an e-mail to a few running friends. The new course encompasses the gorgeous trails near and around Kendall Lake in the CVNRA. I have run every one of these trails at one time or another, but get hopelessly confused on how they connect. Bob printed out a list of text directions for running the 5 and 8 mile looped course off the race website. I was poking a little fun at my good Boy Scout running buddy Bob, cause how the heck are a couple of middle aged trail runners with bad eyes supposed to run along holding a list of text directions, without tripping and killing ourselves? At the very least, we're going to miss something. We will be so lost, but what the heck--it was going to be a gorgeous day--no rain, no muck and temps rising eventually to the 60's. You just have to go with the flow, right?
Bob is a lucky boy, cause as we were standing around in the Lake Trailhead parking lot, along with Debi, Patti, and Chef Bill, and in comes Tanya Cady--the race director of the race. Well, shoot--we'll run with her!! She was out to survey the course, put up a few markers, and get herself more familiar with potential problems for this course. Not a mile into the run, Tanya wrenched her left ankle pretty good. She had to stop for a few minutes, but once the shock of pain dissipates, these hard core trail runners just keep going. They'll deal with the swelling later.
Also, interesting is how you can start out with a small group of trail runners, but then strays start appearing out of the forest, as though they picked up the scent of the main pack and joined along. Roy H., trail running legend, appeared out of nowhere. He's getting ready to retire, and undoubtedly, be running even more than he does now. He was quoted recently on the last page of the New York Times Lifestyle section regarding his lack of toenails. Some runners have major issues with losing toe nails, so after awhile, it just makes sense to get rid of them. Roy said his left big toe looks like a bald headed little man. Debi has problems with this too, but doubt she wants her toes in summer to look like a row of bald-headed men. I mentioned to Roy that I don't have that problem, that it must be something about prone toe nail losers and their gait or footstrike. He said that I probably just don't run enough.
After the first 5 mile loop, we convened back at the shelter and picked up a new group that just showed up among which were some very fast young trail wolves, like Janet and E-speed, and Nathan--a young fast good looking redhead that sidled up on the trails and introduced himself. He reads my blog!! For the life of me, I don't understand why anyone in his age category would read through the middle aged blathering of an untalented, slow, mental health runner, but I was touched, nonetheless. E-speed has been reading my new frugal living blog. I got a great new tip from E-speed on a cheap way to keep our running tech clothes from retaining permanent unfeminine truck driver like odors without spending a fortune on specially formulated "washes". A cup of vinegar added to the wash should cut through the embedded stink just fine. I'll have to give it a whirl!
Eventually, as the miles added on, the slow wolves, like myself and Debi fell toward the back and ended up running sections of the hilly Salt Run trail without seeing a soul. Ironically, we passed Judge Quinn who just this last week ended Bob's married purgatory. Funny, how he didn't look like a judge, someone to defer to, out on the trails; he looked like a rough around the edges nature lover. Maybe he'll be the judge that ends my married purgatory in February. Tanya was holding back, too, no intentions to run fast today, but to survey every step of her new course. Maybe her ankle was still bothering her. Debi and I got some great ideas from Tanya on how to infuse some life back into our withering running club. She said her running club was showing signs of dying, and shared her revitalization plan. She had some great ideas which Debi and I would like to take back to the board and try to implement in some way.
Gosh, what a beautiful day, but my legs were very heavy and my energy level very low. My running has really fallen into a slump, but I'm grateful I'm still running. It's been my ultimate lifeline along with some very good friends and knowing that I'm part of such a fantastic community of runners. Emotionally, I've been going through some hard times. Lately, I'm like the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane season. One day I'm cool, placid and peaceful, but the next, I'm a stormy mess. I'm really doing quite well on my own, but as my divorce draws near, I'm letting fear of the unknown take root. When people ask me how I am, I answer only for today because I don't know what tomorrow's going to bring. So, here's to today!!