Despite the IT band issues I lined up for the first race of the NMTC Fall Series. A lot of people turned out for this race - 80 to 90 I believe. I had brought along a high school runner I know to join in the fun. I reminded him of the race length - 5 miles - and that it was a very hilly course, but knowing he is much faster than I am told him to line up closer tot he front of the pack than I do.
As we waited to get started we chatted about the year the hornets were really bad on the course. I opted to bail out and run a "short course" that year, especially as we had seen people come flying back towards us batting at the insects. No thanks!
Headed out at what felt like an okay pace, but which rather too soon led to a bit of wheezing (something in the air? humidity?). Hung in there, counting the 'dips' along the way (each dip is bracketed by hills) in the hope that I would remember how many there were and could gauge my return trip by counting them down.
This course is run on one of the cross country ski trails in the Superior Municipal Forest. The trail was in great shape, mowed, and not too wet despite recent rains. It was a cool day (mid 60's) but humid and I figured hornets wouldn't be an issue. Hah!
By the time we were 4-5 dips in, and many of the lead runners had gone by, I was wondering where my young friend was. There had only been one side trail and I was pretty sure that he would remember to follow the pink ribbons, besides there were so many people out there that missing the proper trail would have been tough. We finally spied him walking back toward us. He had gone out way to fast, thinking it was a 5 K, charged all of the hills, and was wiped out. I shouted encouragement as I went by and then kept on going.
Made it to the turn around (at the top of a hill) and headed back, saying "hi" to folks along the way. Saw a friend who commented on her way by that "the bees are waiting for you". I thought she was making a joke. A few moments later I heard buzzing near my right ear and then... the sting! On the back of my right arm. Slapped the hornet away and tried to find a little extra speed to get away. Escaped with only one sting and no ill effects. Every time I get stung I wonder in the back of my mind if this time I will have an allergic reaction (okay - a little paranoid on my part, but I have more allergies now than when I was younger). Joked with Rick, the guy I was running with that if I started wheezing again to take off for the finish, find one of the 5 doctors that were at the race, and tell them to come back ready to insert a trach ;->
The rest of the race was pretty uneventful after that. Caught up with my friend (still walking), provided some encouragement and passed on by. I knew he would be okay in the long run, though he told me later that he "lost his lunch" out on the course. Led to a lively discussion on whether or not running at that effort is a good idea (he is planning on doing more of these). As with many of the NMTC races, this one finished uphill. By then I had slowed a bit (no negative splits for me) and was happy to finish with some spring in my step.
Got some water and headed back to cheer my friend in. He finished running, which was a great thing after a rocky middle of the race. I think he learned a lot about pacing that day. Oh yeah, counting the dips on the way back? I lost track (as usual). Too much conversation and other distractions ;-> I believe that there are 7 "dips" and 15 major hills on this course (maybe 18 counting the ones at the beginning/end and just before entering the ski trail). Good start to a cross-country season!
Adult soccer league. Games start this Sunday.
Isle Royale for 9 days (leave Tuesday)
Bangin' in the Brush (race is two days after I get off Isle Royale - not sure about signing up for this due to the IT band issue, but maybe 9 days of backpacking will be the rest I need)
I will miss one soccer game and two NMTC runs while I am on vacation, but the trade-off is worth it.
Need to finish up trip preparations and make sure the bills are paid before I head out of town.
Found my book for the trip ( I have a very hard time sleeping without reading first - weight trade-off). Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. Love her stuff! This one is over 500 pages so it should last me the whole trip.
What to do about trip knitting? I am leaving towards a project on circular needles again - less chance for disaster. Good way to while away the time on the ferry if nothing else.
OTN: a new hat (I haven't forgotten the mittens). "Turn a Square" by Jared Flood . haven't knit something in worsted weight in a long time. Depending on how the top shaping turns out I may want to adapt this to sport weight yarns (just a little math involved). Will try to post a picture before I head off on vacation.
Enjoy your weekend!
Selective Focus: Matt Kania
8 hours ago