You may (or not) have noticed the lack of training posts in the last few days, and frankly, it's because training has just been training. There hasn't been too much to report in the last week or so (minus a recovery week that I took FULL advantage of) and the most notable training-related issues have been in terms of scheduling around a full time job and four hour commutes to random towns (I know, I know - welcome to the club).
Oh yeah. This little gem of an experience will make the wait for an update is well worth it.
Let me preface this by stating off the bat that I have no hate for suburbs or even subdivision-living. Rather, its a personal preference, and my preference is to stay far, far away. Having lived in the city all my life, I have come to prefer a set up in which the streets run on a grid with 99% straight streets that run the four directions. Easy. Makes sense. I do not prefer to live in a pseudo-town comprised of circular streets, all of which ultimately culminate into a park named after a dead county board member, and dotted with houses that like EXACTLY like the next. A little Stepford, a little creepy.
So here is the setting of my story. As I mentioned earlier posts, I was staying at a friend's house in the 'burbs, a town populated mostly by long, long roads of strip malls and, you guessed it, subdivisions. The problem began when I had to do my long run after the job training, beginning a 2.5 hour run at 5PM. However, my friend said that she mapped out a four-mile loop along the sidewalks of long stretches of busy roads populated by said strip malls. I would just have to do a few loops. Good enough.
Then, my friend said she would run the first hour with me, which was all fine and good, until 23 minutes into it (and three rest breaks) she decided that maybe she was not in the best shape to continue.
So I was left to my own devices after about 530PM. By this time, the sun was setting, it was getting cold, and I began to notice that all the sidewalks along said path were unplowed, presumably because they are technically city sidewalks so they don't bother to shovel.
So I ran through the snow for the next 45 minutes, slipping and sliding, knees twisting and turning with each step. Ouch. Finally, I made the decision to just take it to the streets in a nearby subdivision because they were quiet and plowed. And now the party begins.
When you spend so much time making sure you're not breaking an ankle by looking down for potential ice and snow, you tend to get preoccupied - the mind can only do so much and something gets put to the side. For me, the "side" was my sense of direction, and 1 hour 15minutes in, I looked up and said, "Self, you are lost." Lost in a subdivision. In a town I don't know. With no cell phone. And no number to call friend. So I ran from one stop light to another and finally begin to panic. Think getting chased and eaten by a grizzly is the scariest thing ever? No way, my friend. Subdivision disorientation kicks grizzly butt.
So I finally get my wits about me, freezing, shoes soaking wet from snow and slush puddles, and go to a gas station. The girl with blue hair redirected me a mile down the road to get back on path. However, the mile ran along a unlit stretch of busy street (oh, yeah, forgot that part - apparently the people that build subdivisions and strip malls pour all their money into Wal-Marts and Super Targets, so there none left to install street lights, but no worries, because cars have head lights and you have to drive everywhere out there anyways). So I run along the CURB against oncoming traffic, every now and again slipping off into the street, and diving back onto the curb. Awesome. So much for heart rate monitoring by this point.
I arrive at the prescribed intersection and it's familiar. Yea! But then....the IPod dies. It's been doing this lately, the battery dying after only being on for one hour. So now I have one hour left, a minor heart condition, wet feet, no IPod, BUT - I am back to my friend's subdivision. So, like any self-respecting almost-Ironman, I cried a little. Whimpered, really. And I looked at my watch - one more hour.
And then I ran about the block.
For one hour.
Around and around.
With no IPod.
At the very end, I decided that I awarded my self the "One Tough Bitch" award for perseverance.
And the best part of the night? When I walked in the door (at 730PM), my boss called - he was pulling me out of the suburb training, sending me back to Chicago that night, and putting me in a Chicago training. So I could have just gone home and done this whole thing on the Chicago lakefront.
Is this race almost here?