Gosh dang it!!! I am thinking I should replace the title “Whatevs…” with “Arctic Adventures….” It would be more apt these days…
I got the Res promptly at 8:03 for an 8am run date with a girlfriend. I had eaten a decent breakfast AND drank a cup of coffee in excess of 30 minutes prior. I had checked the weather and dressed accordingly. My drink was packed, my gels were packed, I was fully prepared on this brisk,sunny Saturday morning. Except my friend wasn’t there. I stretched a little. I waited. I went back in my car where it was warm. I checked my phone. I decided that if the next car wasn’t her, I would call. Well, maybe the next… or the next. At 8:14 I left a pleasant message, figuring we must have had a miscommunication or something, and set off on a short 3 mile loop, thinking maybe she would be there when I got back.
Indeed there she was when I got back. She wasn’t up for much more than 6 miles, but I was grateful for some company. As we approached the parking lot, her run completed, mine just about half over at the 9.5 mile mark, there were a few men assembling for their run.
My friend left, I gulped down some water, grabbed some Cliff shot blocks and a gel out of my trunk, and slammed the trunk shut. I trotted over to the guys, realizing mid-trot that my car key was now locked in my trunk. I asked them if they had a favorite route or one with some decent shelter from the brutal wind. In response, they graciously invited me to join them. Their plan was 10 miles, start at a 10 minute pace, and ratchet it up to an 8 minute pace. I wasn’t sure if I could hack it but I decided to try. In the middle of introductions and my thanking them for welcoming me along, I casually mentioned the car key problem, which was met with generous offers of a ride home to get my spare key after the run. I made a note to myself not to get dropped. I didn’t want to tack another 5 miles onto my 19 miler for that key.
As it happened, my mental note was no match for the fatigue in my legs as we ran into the wind. I couldn’t hang, so I dropped back after about 2 miles of Hurt and made a quick decision to alter my route so that I could get home using the most direct line possible, in order to get my car key. Dang it. Getting dropped sucks but what sucks more is having to run straight into the hurricane-like west wind for about 3 miles, surrounded by nothing but open space. I could get lynched for saying this in Boulder, but during those 3 miles, open space felt awfully ridiculously unbelievably overrated. You know in cartoons, when the guy (is it the Tasmanian Devil?) runs off a cliff, but his legs spin for a while at the edge right before he goes down? Imagine that spinny leg-going nowhere thing stretching on for 3 miles. That’s what I felt like. It was hell. Once I was able to head south, I was more or less out of the woods, except for that west wind becoming a nasty crosswind and the fact that I was running opposite traffic going probably 50-60 mph. Not my fave, despite a decent shoulder. I realize I could have taken a trail instead, but my right eye was numb, my face getting burned by wind, and my legs were plain old tired. I was afraid of the distinct possibility I would take an unnecessarily circuitous path, thereby lengthening my journey and I was in no mood for that.
Finally, I approached Amante. I peeked around for a pay phone, knowing this was a remote possibility. I don’t think I’ve used a pay phone since 1999 actually. The kind barista there let me use their cordless. It was around the time I told Dan I’d call and I imagined he might worry about me. I also hoped he would come get me at Amante while I sipped on a mocha. I was zero for two. His stupid phone was off. I soldiered on for another mile to reach home. My Garmin read 19.6 miles. Within 3 minutes I introduced myself to one of my neighbors and hijacked his phone, which was a landline. Now I see why some people have those. My phone was, where else… locked in my trunk. I called Dan again to assure him he need not be worried, hoping he might come get me while I had a snack at home. Again, I was zero for two. His ancient-dinosaur-hangs-up-on-you- for-no-reason-and-has-a-display-you-can’t-even-read-phone was still off. Just so everyone (Dan) knows, as far as I can tell, the old saying “No news is good news” is actually null and void when you make it impossible for anyone to give you news.
I got home, shoved down a few almonds and some beef jerky and got on my bike. I needed a little recovery spin after all. In 20 degree weather. I approached my car, fingers frozen, but glad I at least got it done one way or another. Also, I was welcomed by a little note stuck to my windshield from one of the guys, welcoming me to join them next time and hoping my key situation was resolved. I would probably take him up on it but I think for my own safety I need to restrict myself to the treadmill for a while.