"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Monday, April 18, 2011

A little jog out at Afton

First, I have to tell the story from the drive home. I was listening to MPR's The Current, as it frequently alerts me to music I wouldn't have heard otherwise. I liked the new song by Grouplove, so I cranked the radio and then I opened the window slightly to help dry my sweaty hair. The next song up was "Dangerous Kind" by the Cars, a song I doubt I've heard since it came out - and I was never a fan of robotic synth pop - but I laughingly sang along, wondering how that could ever have been a hit. Unfortunately, at that moment, I was driving around the lake in my neighborhood, where young men cruise continuously, trying to impress young women and a pack of girls saw me and started to laugh. I wanted to shout, "No! I'm still cool!! I'm enjoying this ironically!"

I am too old to ever be cool again.

Saturday we had a snowstorm. Read reports from Trail Mix to see what April in Minnesota can be like. By Sunday, the snow was gone, so I headed out to Afton to run. It'd been a bad week, by any measure, and I needed a real trail run to test the waters, to see just where I really am in training. Half a mile from the park, there was snow on the ground; it hadn't melted here yet. I already had images running through my head of the attempt here a few weeks ago. It turned out that the trails were okay.

I planned to run the new Afton 50K course, doing the first lap fairly fast, but expected I'd drag by the end of the first loop and just plod a few more miles to get in my minimum time goal. It was not warm but I overdressed and, as usual, I headed out without food and with one water bottle (I don't learn). I didn't push, but I did the 16 miles - either the new course is long or I ran it wrong - in 2:35. That would've got me 85th place of about 250 in the 25K race last year and it was a training run in a sweatsuit.

I'll take it.

Just as I got back to the parking lot, where I was going to load up on food and water before heading back out, I ran into a group that'd just finished their lap a little earlier (at my mile 1, I saw them at their mile 6) and they were headed back out, so I asked to join them - Alicia, Jason and a woman whose name I've never known - without having had any of the food I'd planned on eating. After a few miles, I'd hit my 20 and said I was heading back (20 miles on maybe 50 ounces of water and 300 calories was adding up to misery). I cut my way along some deer paths and discovered a patch of hepatica in bloom. The first flowers of spring!

I needed that. It's supposed to snow again tomorrow.


sea legs girl said...

Was it the songs Colours??? Great song! I had forgotten about it- had it on my ipod a month ago and it was such a good one to run to. Thanks for reminding me.

SteveQ said...

@SLG: yep.

Kel said...

I like the "new" course with the Northern Hill even better than Nigel's Hill, but my Garmin has always measured that course a little long no matter which of those two routes I've run.

Does the solar powered water pump in the campground work year 'round, or is it a seasonal thing?

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

I am too old to ever be cool again.

I have to point out that there's a bit of question-begging going on in the statement quoted above.

wildknits said...

Cool sighting on the hepatica!!

Nice run too.

As for being cool... it is a hard thing to attain at any age and rather pointless as the definition is so vague and changeable. Though I have to admit when one of my (adult)kids friends thinks I am cool it does buoy that part of my psyche that is still attached to that sort of thing.

Afton always seems to hand me some sort of hardship. The race was too dang hot and the last time I was there I pulled up into the parking spot only to have my front bumper get caught on a piece of rebar. Backing up = pulling part of the bumper off.

SteveQ said...

@Kel: There's water at the campground even in winter. There's also a new faucet at the group campgrounds.

Kel said...

Thanks for the water update. I often end up running with my Nathan pack even on the hottest of days just because I'm never sure if the pump will be working (sometimes it breaks down even in summer). I'll also have to find the new faucet :)