Monday, November 30, 2009

Alice's Restaurant Massacree Virtual 25K - Results

"I’m looking at 48 hours and change, if I go out first thing Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings.

“I have a couple of five-mile routes I can use, plus a six-miler/10K and a pair of fours as well, just to keep it fun and not too repetitive. [All distances are appropriately approximate <wink>]”

That was The Plan, anyway.

D’Wife got her schedule changed so she would start early on Thanksgiving [7:30AM] to get out at 3:00, so getting out and back on Thursday morning was off, right from the get-go.

I took D’Kid out for a 45-minute bike ride around 2PM instead then finished making “a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat.”

Friday, D’Wife had her regular shift, so getting some miles in before she and D’Kid got up wasn’t going to be a problem. The sun was on its way up when I left the house at 6:45; it was odd not needing to wear a reflecto-vest or blinkie light on a morning run. I figured I had just enough time to do 5 miles before D'Girls started stirring. As usual, I didn’t decide which route I’d take when I left the house; I’d make that call further down the road – literally. After taking the climb past the cemetery, I trotted out to the end of the road. I was on the right-hand side already, so I turned right [yeah, that’s the kind of decision making I’m known for; I’ve also flipped a coin or done “evens-odds: even we go right / odd we go left.”

I’ve been running this particular route on Saturday afternoons lately, so I was kinda surprised by how many people had chickens in their yards, judging by the morning crowing of the roosters in that section of town.

I made an adjustment to my route on the section between the 3½- and 4-mile mark; there is a rise here as the road climbs past a swamp. There are guardrails on either side, but the left-hand is oddly cambered and has been giving me trouble, so I ran on the right. Unfortunately, this is the side with more road-kill [2 possums, a raccoon and a deer, to be exact]

I reached the top in time to see my friend pull into his driveway. I stopped for a minute or two to chat with Bingo Bob, who had just returned from WalMart. He didn’t say what deals he got, if any. I suspected he went just to point and laugh, that’s the kind of guy he is.

I finished my first five miles and got back in the house just before D’Wife came down for breakfast.

D’Wife went out with her friends Friday night, so in order to let her sleep in, I planned to do my next run in the afternoon, while she and D’Kid went shoe-shopping. I guessed they’d be out for about an hour and a half, giving me time to do 7 or 8 miles and still be have time to get us all ready for 4:30 Mass; leaving only 3½ or so to do Sunday, before she had to leave for work.

Very doable.

However …

When D’Kid’s friend from across the street invited her over for the afternoon, that left D’Wife without a shopping-buddy. Women can NOT shop alone, especially for shoes, for some reason.

I was conscripted to assist.

Actually, I didn’t mind all that much; it’s been a while since I’d been invited along, and it was kinda fun. The girl has Mad Coupon Skillz, too!!! It was amazing!!! They had to make up NEW codes just to accommodate her!!! Two pairs of Clarks for $127.

Unfortunately, that trip put me in a serious time pinch to get the 25K finished.My options were:

1] Get up super-early on Sunday – like 4:30AM – and do 10½ miles before D’Wife had to get up for work = not freaking likely

2a] Get up at reasonable hour – 5:30 – do 5 miles or so and hope to find / make time in the afternoon to do the other five

2b] Get up at reasonable hour, do 5 miles, ignore the deadline and do the other 5 before work on Monday. I’d be dead last and probably DQ’d but I wouldn’t DNF.

"How do you DNF a Virtual Comp?"
"You DON'T Finish it!!! DUH!!!"
"It's Virtual, Dumbass!!! Make something up!!! You're a pretty good writer; I'm sure you could make it sound convincing."
"YOU ... have NO sense of Honor. PLUS ... I've got this friend - Voo - checking my moves from The Other Side. I can't let him down in such a way."

Like Bruce Lee said: "To experience oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, and to express myself honestly, now that is very hard to do."

Either of the “5:30” options would be fine, and neither would put undue stress on either of D’Girls. Just me.

I woke up in normal fashion [without an alarm, even], long before dawn. The stars were bright and clear in the 31° air. Frost was all around, and my breath left a trail of tiny clouds behind me as I ran out to the lakes and farm country. In the interest of time, I did only 5½, turning around at the 2¾ mark, with the blessing of an owl “Whooo Who-Who-ing” somewhere in the woods. As cold as it was, there wasn’t any ice on the lakes yet, perhaps because the water was still pretty warm. The beauty of running in the pre-dawn cold, is that feeling of accomplishment you get when you’re finished and you notice that there’s steam coming off of you, as you cool down beneath the streetlights.

I now had only 5 more miles to do sometime after D’Kid’s Choir performance at 11:30 Mass, lunch, grocery shopping and starting dinner around 5:00 [yes, we went as a family at 5:30 Saturday, but Mariel still had Choir at 11:30; one can never spend too much time in church].

The afternoon had warmed up nicely by the time we were finished at ShopRite. Mariel was fully on board with the plan for the rest of the afternoon, as I had outlined on the ride home. If any of her neighborhood friends were around to play with, she’d hang out with them for about an hour while I went out on my own; if not, she would ride her bike beside me as I ran either pretty much the same out and back I had done in the morning, or – if she was too fussy about riding 5 miles – to her school track a mile from home, where I would do laps for 3 miles then jog back.

At about 3:15, she rolled out, and I followed. I didn’t have to prompt her to slow down or to speed up, even though this was truly only the second time she’d bike-paced me. I neglected to start my watch, as this was for fun and not time, but I suspect we got to my first checkpoint, in about my usual time.

I directed her to turn left when we got to the street her school was on, as I wanted to show her part of my morning routine.

“Dad, this feels like I’m riding to school” she said, which led us to chat about why I had joined PTA [to get some bike racks at Assumption] and what a shame it was that I wasn’t able to pull it off.

When we got to the Church I told her to follow me to the statue of the Blessed Mother that stands in front of the entrance.

“Every morning that I run this route,” I explained, “I stop and say at least one Hail Mary; more if needed.”

I stopped, crossed myself and before I could begin …

“I’m done, let’s go” my partner said.
“You pray fast!!!”
“Well, I started early” she admitted.

I gave her the choice of which path to take [down the street past her school, or the bike path which also functions as her school track, which was her choice] and we made our way past the public school, the township ball field and across the railroad tracks. It’s a gentle slope for the next ¾ mile down to the lakes, rising back up to the farms around the bend. Mariel stopped to look at the sheep and cows as I continued on for another 200 yards or so.

I had just reached my turnaround spot when a little voice called from behind …

“Dad!!! Stop!!! I have a flat tire!!!”

She had gotten a flat just two weeks ago, and was sensitive about getting another. She showed me were she thought the hole was, but I assured her that was exactly where I’d pulled the sliver of glass out.

“It’s time for us to head back anyway. I’ll keep an eye on it”

It wasn’t long before I noticed that her rear tire was, in fact, going soft. I had the foresight to replace her inner-tube with a self-sealing one, so it wouldn’t go completely flat; still, it was a little sketchy, and difficult to pedal up a steepish rise.

She had just managed to get to the stoplight when it changed to red.

Really???!!! Now you change???!!!” she admonished the signal. “I hate you, stoplight.”

We laughed and teased the signal for it's rudeness, selfishness and general bad behavior.

The rest of the run home was uneventful. The leak stabilized with the tire about half-inflated. She reiterated how she’d like to be able to ride her bike to school someday, and speculated where they might put bike racks if they are ever allowed to. With a quarter mile or so to go, Mariel informed me that she wouldn’t be racing me home, but I was free to sprint if I felt like it, once we were back in our development.

We got back to our house just as the sun dropped behind the treetops of the woods behind our house.

We stopped to talk with a neighbor then went in.

“You go get yourself a shower, right now, Mister!!!”
“Yes, ma’am. ... And thank you.”
“That was fun, Daddy. We should do that again next Sunday.”
“We’ll see, Punkin. We’ll see."

Total elapsed time: 57 hours or so
Total running time: 2 hours, maybe?

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