Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Ethan checking out my new shoes

Er... make that "back in the running shoes again," maybe?

Monday of this week was supposed to be my first official "back into training" week.  I teach a class on Monday nights called, "Life Work," and  ended up using the afternoon to finish preparing for our first class of this term.  So no run on Monday.

Tuesday morning greeted me with promises of only "scattered showers."  In Portland that can mean anything from "no rain at all" to "torrential downpour" or any combination.  The weather around here really is comical.  At least it makes for beautiful scenery, which makes for relaxing outdoor runs.

So yesterday - Tuesday - I purposed in my heart to finally get the jogging stroller out again and get my two miles in.  First thing in the morning I packed it up in the van, chased Ethan around to wrestle some warm clothes on him (in case is got rainy while we were out) and the chased him down again to put him in the car.  Running with the jogging stroller has always been a little intimidating to me.  Ethan tends to get bored quickly, and there must be something metaphysical about that darn thing - because EVERY time I use it - it rains on us.  EVERY time.  It could be just a coincidence because it is the Northwest.

We headed out for attempt #1, in which I stopped by the post office first to pick up a package we'd been told was waiting for us.  It was sunny when we went in, and when we came out it was gray and raining hard.  Boo.  I decided to take Ethan home in hopes that he'd take an early nap, which he did.  He was all napped and ready for action by 2pm, which is a world record for us.  He's usually running in circles and avoiding naptime around 2pm.

The sky was actually clear, and there was sunshine in our yard!  So after cleaning the kitchen and chasing Ethan around to get him in warm clothes again - we ventured out to Gresham Main City Park for attempt #2.  As we drove out to Gresham - only about 10 minutes - the sky started getting gray and I realized all the sunny weather must be back closer to our neighborhood.  I figured it was at least worth trying to get a run in, so we went to the park anyway.

I got Ethan loaded into his jogger, added his nice rain coat on top of him, strapped him in, arranged all my accessories where I wanted them (water bottle, cell phone, wallet, keys)... and then it started sprinkling.  I stood there for a moment and looked at Ethan.

"Do you want to go home, now that it's raining on us again, buddy?" I asked him.
"NO! Wunnin'!" he exclaimed.

It started raining harder.

"Are you sure?" -me
"GO!" -Ethan.

That settled it.  We started off down my usual out-and-back loop.  I run out one mile and then back a mile, and it makes for a nice little easy run.  We got about half a mile into the trail and the rain stopped - yay!  It was going to be a good run after all!  A young man on a bike approached from the other direction.  I always make a point of making eye contact with and acknowledging the other people on the path.  Mostly to be friendly, but also so that I could give police a full description if anything went down (I'm so paranoid!).  As the kid got closer, I could see that he had a hockey mask on his face and a green wig.  I also noticed that he stared me down as he passed us, but that he kept going along his way.  CREEP-O!  I maintained my composure on the outside and kept eye contact and nodded. On the inside I was feeling a combination of terror and animal-like-protective-mother-rage.  The words, "just try me you mother-f***er!" actually went through my head.  Wow.

I decided it was best for us to keep running our path, rather than turn back for the car.  I figured the kid was probably headed back to the park to hang out with the big group of kids I'd seen when I was parking.  Bunch of weirdos.

We made it out to our turn-around point and as I made the turn it started raining on us again.  I tried pulling the cover over Ethan so he wouldn't get soaked, and he got mad at me.  I think he actually likes the rain.  He's a true Northwest native, apparently.  He enjoyed the rain until our last quarter mile, and then he started screaming about it.  So our last quarter mile converted from an "easy run" into some speed intervals for Mommy.

When we arrived safely back at the car, there was no sign of creepy-hockey-mask kid.  Praise the Lord.  I packed Ethan back into the van, put the jogger away, and drove us home.

I was so distracted by the rain and the weirdos that I didn't notice until afterwards that my legs felt amazing while I was running.  A week of rest and shoes that fit really will do wonders for a stiff achilles and knotty calves.  It was nice to feel my quads and my bum getting a nice burn from the run, rather than slogging through stiff ankles for a change. :)

So that's it - I'm back in business!  Stay tuned for the final weeks of training, and the long-anticipated half-marathon trip.  Less than two months away! Wee!


  1. I'm so paranoid like that too. I can't wait to start running with my dog. I'll feel a lot safer with her with me.

  2. Glad you had a good run, even with creepy guy along the trail! It's amazing what a difference the right shoes can make. (nokitty00 on CM)