Ok, that was crazy. Zig zagging through darkness, flash floods, calf-deep quicksand, fallen branches, hundred meter puddles and raindrops in the eye. Saturday morning was an insane peek into the dementia of running. There should be limits to one’s dedication.
When I left the house at 5:30 a.m. it was a mild morning. By the time I got to RunTex it was a wild morning. It seemed fifteen degrees colder and the rain was falling hard. It would get worse.
I met the big group at RunTex at 5:45a.m. with no intention to run the 3M course with the rest of them. I had a son’s birthday party to attend to later in the morning, so I didn’t have time to drive all over tarnation looking for a route to run. I was going to run 7-10 on the trail and be done with it.
Gilbert gave us all his blessing, and they scattered in the rain. I went back to my car and took a nap. I figured I would wait until 6:15, and if it was still pouring rain, and Pat still hadn’t showed, I would just go home. So naturally, at 6:10 I started off running in the downpour. At 6:12 when the frigid drops came sideways and started stinging my eyes, I turned around and hightailed back to my car. I stood there in the rain, alone, fighting myself. Finally, what the hell, I was already soaked and frozen and awake, I might as well make the most of it.
I didn’t see another runner for the first two miles. Then one, a second, and a group of three. I saw another group of four at mile 5 and that was it for the morning. Just the ten of us. And why not? We were in the middle of a flash flood. What freaking morons run at 6:30 a.m. when it’s 45 degrees and 5 inches of rain are falling?
So yeah, looking back, it was dramatic and life-affirming and empowering and a blessing to be able to experience something just a little out of the ordinary, blah blah blah. I thought of the other Gazelles out on the roads, with 10, 12 more miles to go. I stepped in a puddle that turned into mud and sunk up to my mid-calf. The lightning flashes burned into my retina, then the rain would wash it away and I finally gave up trying to run around the puddles. Who was I kidding? The whole trail was a puddle. The drainage ditch by Austin High was a category four rapid. Some guy drove by and yelled. At me? At the ducks in the road?
I ended up running about nine miles. Not fast, but consistent. Like I said, it was tough to run fast alone in the dark through ankle deep water. I tried to pick it up there on mile 8, then cool down the last mile plus.
7.42, 7.37, 7.36, 7.35, 7.37, 7.36, 7.26, 6.51, 7.45, 1.22
When I got back to my car I realized I didn’t have a change of clothes or a towel. So I drove home naked. I think my white ass set off some car alarms when I walked up my driveway.
It was a glorious morning.
That was Saturday.
Today the world came to a stop because it was 32 degrees and a dollop of ice was spotted on a tree in Burnet County. ICE STORM ’07! Jim Spencer and Mark Murray duke it out for most dramatic weathercast! Of course that meant it was a good day to run. I did 6.6 miles around the neighborhood in 47.21. Few cars, few runners, few barking dogs, I felt slow. It wasn’t even that cold. Cool. Maybe tomorrow I can run uphill in the snow both ways.
Boy, I almost feel guilty. It is good to know that running in those conditions can be done.