This is a picture taken a couple years ago; but since I don't carry a phone on my runs, will have to suffice. I'm actually not sure I could improve upon it. This is my running route, and what I see every evening. It's a perfect reflection of my running scene the last few weeks--that glorious late-evening-into-dusk light that only September brings. Actually, the weather has been supreme as well--about 70 degrees when I start out, dropping slowly as I heat up. And technically, at my house, it's probably a good 3-4 degrees cooler. I'm still running in my tank top, which is wonderfully surprising this late in September. The smoke from all the fires reveals the sunset in all it's true glory-- I realize many are affected by this; luckily, I am not, as the particles make for spectacular views. I feel as if Mother Nature is making up for such a shitshow June. It can linger as long as it wants; October is my favorite month, but I'm happy with a slow seduction instead of the usual slap-in-the-face-shut-up-and-sit-down Hello from Autumn.
The Pup is becoming a real running RocketDog. I think he's truly starting to enjoy it, look forward to it, and even bug me if I dare to take a day off, or leave him at home. The longest he's done is 6 miles. I worried because his tongue was hanging way out, and he made me feel guilty that I hadn't brought any water. Until we turned the corner to the last mile--a straight shot up the road, exactly one mile to home. It ends with a nice steep grade the last quarter mile, and usually I sprint the last 30 yards or so. It's still uphill, but my driveway is in sight and I always imagine this helps me build a bad-ass kick. In reality, it's how I tore my hamstring in 2010, but why dally on minor details. Anyhow, Rocket starts fast, and I constantly have to remind him of the dangers of this type of training, (ah youth. To have such innocent zest! ) but he settles into a nice groove after the first mile. Until that last mile or mile and a half. Then my feeling I'm Baroness Machiavelli turns into realizing I've been duped by the speed he suddenly manages to pull out. I've said this before--if you want to improve your paces, get a German Shepherd Dog. My last mile tonight: just for fun, I sped up to Rocket's pace. I have always been lucky at estimating my paces almost perfectly--this felt just slightly easier than my last 12k race pace. Imagine my delight when upon reaching the driveway, hill included, I discovered I'd just run a very comfortable 7:01 mile. I had to double check my time, actually do MATH (to those who know me, this is impressive) just to MAKE SURE. Yup. My previous race pace at 12k, which I wasn't even sure I was at, was about 8:00 even. Best coach I've ever had, with frizzy hair to match mine to boot. Plus I get the added benefit of an intimidating bodyguard! Double win!
This whole enjoyable Weather Event has made the continuing hits in the "failing appliance" dept more bearable to take. Oven goes out to the tune of $400? I'll just run tonight. Dryer stops drying again, even though we just spent $150 on a part to fix it a month ago? Wow...look at that sunset on tonight's run! This on top of the air conditioning, the fuel pump in the Rig, the Driver's Ed Sticker Shock, the college tuition for Hallie's Running Start (still cheaper than actually BEING in college I know) Oh, and lest we forget--Dog has two retained testicles, requiring expensive surgery and triple the recovery time? Hey, but I'm running in 70 degree weather at 6:30 pm at the end of September!! Which, by the way, also affects my backpacking and hiking plans, boo. Rocket's Missing Balls will require neutering by ultrasound and a 3 week recovery time. Sigh. We have a backpacking trip planned in the next couple weeks, and I will die a miserable death if I can't hike with my second best friend in October---which means I'm facing a $500 surgery right at Christmas time. Hey kids! Come pet the dog! Merry Christmas! Maybe I'll wrap his wayward balls up!
And the last niggling niggle....the last backpacking trip, my boots showed their evil bitchy side. My AT's, which after 2 long years of struggle, I'd finally managed to force into submission, roared back to life with renewed vigor and vow to ruin my running and hiking. I suspect they're in cahoots with The Cowlick, which has also reappeared hell-bent on making up for lost time. Double sigh. So....the question begs: do we chance the trip to the mysterious Ibex Lake, which entails a serious river fording but promises a hidden jewel of a lake, untouched by the hoardes of hikers, just waiting to reveal her pristine secrets--and risk my fickle ankles? If I were a gambling man, I'd bet against it. Anyone with any ounce of sense in their head would surely choose the obvious path of rest, ensuring the exruciatingly slow mileage buildup is not lost. But whoever said I had any sense in my head?