Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Long Run With Irene

We're under a tropical storm warning, but it still seemed safe enough to get in my long run. After all, what's a little rain and wind? At least in my corner of Maine it was manageable. I hemmed and hawed all morning on what route to run and ultimately decided to do the first half on roads and the second half on trails. That turned out to be a great choice.

As I set out on the road portion of the run the rain was actually really light for the first couple of miles. It was really humid and I had wished it would hurry up and start raining harder again. Not surprisingly, a couple of miles later when I reached the top of the ridge it was back to pouring down rain. The run descended to the flat, final three mile stretch back to my house. It was here that the wind started to really pick up as well, and blew the hard driving rain right in my eyes. I had to turn my hat backwards or risk the wind taking it away, so I was no longer benefiting from the shield of the hat's bill, which made it a bit tough.

Made it home for a quick change into my trail shoes and a quick drink of water. I was then off to hit the woods out back. I reached the fire roads and saw Kate! She was out for a 13-miler and it was great to run into her. I joined her up the hill and then took off at my own pace, but it wasn't the last time I would see her.

If I did my standard Woods Out Back Loop, I would be a few miles short, so I made a grid pattern out of some other snowmobile trails. This took me back to the fire road where I was once again ran into Kate. Yay! I mentioned I was getting hungry and she shared a Shot Block with me, which was a nice little piece of insurance. I ran with Kate for a bit until I reached the trail that would take me back into the woods and continued on.

A few miles later I was running along and heard a loud crack from behind. I turned around to see a thick branch make a deep thud sound as it hit the ground just 20 feet behind me. Whew. That would have hurt. The whole time the wind was gusting pretty heavily now, so it was a good reminder to keep my eyes and ears open.

The trail reached another fire road and guess who I saw? Yep, Kate! She had taken the fire roads back around and was heading to the roads for the final three or so miles home. I was also about done, but took the fire roads back.

I took a few detours to explore some trails that really didn't end up going anywhere and then when I was about a mile from home I decided to head over to the road to see if I could see Kate. I thought that through the hard driving rain I could make out a figure way in the distance and began to run in that direction. Then I saw the person cross the road and go down a small side street. I began to second guess if it was Kate but after I talked to her when she got back, I found out it was. She had taken the side street to tack on more mileage.

So, I got home and was actually kind of disappointed to be done since I was having so much fun out there. But I also had gotten in plenty of mileage for the day, and also for the week as well. Good cap to a 77 mile week that also included a tempo run and hill repeats. Pretty happy to get in the mileage as well as the holy trinity of key workouts (long, interval, tempo).

Ran 21.1 miles @ 8:52/mile pace.
Paved roads, muddy trails with lots of puddles.
Very hilly.
Around 70 degrees, light to heavy rain, very windy.
Saucony Kinvara (first half), Adidas Adizero XT (second half), shorts, cap.

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