Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ah, ah, ah, ah....stayin' alive....stayin' alive.....

A few weekends ago I made a quick trip over to my hometown of Muscatine, IA.  I was only gone for about 14 hours as I only went over for 2 purposes, 3 if you count sleep.  I had spent Saturday morning taking it easy, sleeping in, relaxing out on the porch, getting caught up on chores, etc.  I should've run much earlier in the day, but I kept putting it off.  I finally decided that I would just run when I arrived at my parent's home.  They have a nice trail right by their house and I could catch an easy few miles.

I left home much later than I expected, but that was the nice thing about a day that didn't have a lot of demand.  (Those don't happen very often and are nice from time to time!!)  When I was about 20 miles away from Muscatine I saw the sky darkening and just a hint of lightening way off in the distance.  Oh no!  Suddenly I was filled with visions of bad weather once I arrived & being unable to run.  *gulp*  I drove a few miles, weighing my options and playing out what ifs and worse case scenerios.  As I drove closer it became more evident that I was heading in to bad weather.  I did not want to run the risk of ruining my streak due to this.  (Although honestly if I was unbelievably desperate I was run in place for 10-15 minutes if I HAD to).  Not wanting to resort to drastic measures, I did what any other insane runner does.  I parked the car......

and I ran.  Yes, I turned on my gps, ran down the road a little over 1/2 mile and then came back.  It was humid as all get out and I was practically eaten alive by bugs, but I did it.  I was actually dressed properly since my original plan was to run as soon as I got to my parents anyway.  I made it all the way to the outskirts of New Boston, IL

and then headed back.  The spot where I ran was right on the edge of this storm system.  As I ran away from my car it was bright and sunny, as I got back to my car it was cloudy, overcast and beginning to rain with the lightening in the far distance. You can see the lighting difference in my pictures.  I took the bottom one first and the top one second about 5 minutes apart.  Phew....that was close.  Running streak is STILL alive.

Thankfully so because as suspected the weather & storms only became worse as I approached Muscatine.  I arrived at my parents just in time before a complete downpour, heavy winds and the tornado sirens going off.  Funny thing though, we sat and visited as if it was a bright sunny day.  (When you've lived in the midwest your whole life "bad" weather doesn't always faze you.)  I was at my parents long enough to inhale a plate or two full of my mom's delicious tacos and then we went to bed.
(My dad with his personalized Coke and my plate full of tacos.  I wanted to instagram the moment)

The next morning I had a 3:30 a.m. wake up call.  It's what all normal people do on Sunday, right?!?!  After a quick check of the weather (thankfully the storms had moved to the south as it would have ruined my plans) I got ready to meet up for a long run from Muscatine to West Liberty.  I knew for sure my Muscatine Running Friend Tony was going to be there to run.  We threw out an announcement to others to join us, but it ended up just being us two.  Three, if you count my dad who was nice enough to drive sag for us.  (Quick running lesson: sag stands for support and guidance.  A person who is willing to drive along or ahead to help us on longer runs.  It allows us to put all of our equipment in the vehicle and stop every so often to fuel up, take a break, etc.  They can also drive ahead and then alert us of any danger or changes to our route that we don't know is up ahead.)  A few years ago Tony & I ran this solo.  On one hand it is "only" 17ish miles, in the big picture that is doable to sustain on your own.  But it's always nice to ditch all the extra stuff and run light.

We took our start picture before we headed out at 4:30 a.m.
Soon, we were running down a dark, pitch black country road.

We took our time and made our way to West Liberty.  The run was pretty quiet and uneventful.  We both enjoyed each other's company with talking and long moments of silence.  My foot held up pretty well (will need to update soon on my plantar fasciatis  and how that is coming along.) as long as I stopped and stretched it out every so often.  Typically we stop and the big brick West Liberty sign for a picture.  I told my dad where to go ahead & wait for us, but instead I found him pulled over before that spot.  I yelled (as in shouted so he could hear me...I never have nor will I yell at my father in a disrespectful manner) at him to move ahead, but that's when he informed us that the road was covered with water.  The rain and storms from the night before had the creek overflowing and making the area un-reachable.  The road itself was barely passable, but getting a photo op with the sign was not going to happen.  We improvised, got as close as we could and took a selfie with it in the background.

A few more miles in to West Liberty and we were at our destination, a 5k race that was being held at the fairgrounds.
My gps had us at 16.5 miles, I wanted to round that up so I ran around the fair grounds to make it an even 17 miles.  Tony stayed and ran the race, but after visiting with lots of other Muscatine Running Friends, I headed home with my dad.  I'm big on tradition and this seems to be a little something that I do each year and look forward to doing it again and again.  So for another year I was able to keep it alive!!

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