Sunday, August 15, 2010

In which Shifter tries to run on water

Today was an incredibly beautiful day here in the not-so-Frozen north. We've been really hot this summer, but today? Ah, today! Today was exquisite. It was like 70 degrees, maybe 75, and had this lovely breeze. There were clouds in patches with sunlight shining through, and there was not even a bit of humidity. It felt like the best of fall come early. It was, in short, the very best type of day for running.

So naturally I did my long run yesterday in heat, stillness, and humidity.

Yesterday's run was not quite so great. I got up at 4 because it was still muggy, and drove to a park where I like to run a 1.7 mile trail around this pond. It's not too boring, not too hilly, and was my way of taking it easy for what I hoped would be 20 miles. Now if you get up at 4am, and it's past the equinox, you're going to be running in the dark. No problem! I've run around this damn pond so many times I could do it in my sleep. So there I am, starting off down the trail in the dark park, secure in the knowledge that it'll be a good run.

Then I ran into the lake. Or at least it seemed that way. I'm running along the trail, and suddenly I come to this water stretching out in front of me. And I can't see the end of the water on the other side! Two possibilities presented themselves. First, I had accidentally taken a turn and had actually run to the pond, instead of around it. The second was that the trail was flooded. I could not assess these possibilities, in the dark, so I ran back the way I came, ran out of the park, and ran around on the roads for 5 miles until it was light enough for me to figure out what was going on. I returned to the trail and found that it was option b. The trail was flooded out. We've been having a lot of rain, and it was enough to cause a little mini pond right in the trail. No problem! I can run on the grass next to the trail, and get to the other side of the temporary pond, now that I see what's going on. Which I do. Squish, squish, squish running through the grass - a bit damp, but fine. Then I come to another portable pond. No problem! In the grass I go. Oops, problem! This particular pond has turned the grass next to the trail into still more pond with grass growing in it. AKA a marsh. With about 3 inches of standing water. Splash, splash, splash through the marsh I go. #$@#.

I don't mind water, to be honest, but when your shoes are entirely drenched (as in you just ran in a pond) two things happen. First, your feet are soaked and blisters become a real possibility and second, your shoes lose all their absorbency. It's like running with cardboard or leather soles and no padding. Since this was 5 miles into what was meant to be a 20 mile run, it was not a good thing. But doggedly I ran on, deciding that perhaps what I would do is run all the way around the loop to this big portable pond, turn around and run back until I hit it from the other side, and in that way do my laps. Then I hit another pond - squished through it, not too bad. Then I came near the end of the loop, close to my start point, when I hit a portable lake. I couldn't even see the other side of it. The trail went in and just did not come out again. I thought there might be ducks or a boat on it further down the waterway that had once been my running route.

At this point I realized that it was possible I should simply declare this trail "flooded" and find somewhere else to run. I'm not the brightest bulb in the light store at 4 in the morning (more like 6:00 by then) but I do catch on eventually. I turned around and ran back until I could take a side trail away from the pond (and all it's new subsidiaries), got back to some familiar highways, and ran along the road. At about 15 miles my feet were just killing me so I called it quits, ran to my car, and drove home. My shoes are still drying out.

There is no moral to this story. There are no words of wisdom to share and no witticisms to impart. I will simply conclude with "#$@!" and hope with better luck for next week.


Seeker said...

The only one to never get his sneakers wet was Jesus!

Seeker said...

Only Jesus can run on water and not worry about wet sneakers....