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The Loop

Hello from Idaho.



Haven't any pictures of this adventure yet. One reason is that the scenery has been much less interesting than you might expect, due to the California wild fires. That's just crazy. But I big high pressure centered over Nevada/Utah has all the smoke swirling north and then east and it's all around us here, just west of the Tetons. Nasty stuff. Combine that with the altitude (4700 ft) and the issues I've got with both legs the last couple of weeks, this hasn't been a great stretch of training or sight-seeing.

I'll go ahead with the documentation though. Feel free to go to sleep.

The point of this trip is multi-fold. Foremost is getting T-Rex out for the start of her MA program. This entailed moving into a new apartment, buying books, touring the teeny tiny campus that is the College of Eastern Idaho, and trying to keep her anxiety at a manageable level until she gets settled in.

Before we do that, let's talk about getting here. 

Wait. First is running. Most of the week after the Run Thru Hell was good. Bumped the daily mileage to 5 with 10 planned for Saturday. Easy runs, because I'm trying to be careful. Did a strong progressive tempo on Tuesday - 8:02, 7:45, 7:38. A warmish and humid morning that, so I was pleased with the effort. Sadly, on Friday I tweaked my left quad at the end of the run. A couple of hours later it was sore and tight. And guess what? It's still bothering me. Didn't miss any runs until today, but I think I must have been favoring it because now my right knee has been acting up. Not happy about that.

Did a decent 10 that Saturday, and keeping the pace easy helped the quad stay quiet. I hoped that Sunday plus two days of driving on I-70 would be enough rest for it. (spoiler: it wasn't)

Sunday evening as we loaded the car T-Rex asked me if her front tire was flat. It looked a little low, so I figured we'd just drive over to a station and top it off and check the other three as well. Except when I got closer, I saw a nail sticking in the tread. Uh-oh. And it's been so long since I've fixed any tires that I had no supplies in the shop. Two options: 1) try to fix it, if I could find what I needed, or B) wait until the tire store opened on Monday and delay our start. So we made a dash to Meijer (few places with tire repair at 8:00 pm on a Sunday). $6 and an hour later, the tire was ready to roll and we were back on schedule.

Think I've mentioned that in addition to T-Rex's anxiety issues, she also has suffered from increasingly frequent and painful migraines. By this time she was on day 3 of one of her worst. She's got a few different meds that most of the time help, but this time they were just barely taking the edge off. Obviously there had been a lot of stress getting ready for the move, so we hoped that it would begin to settle down while we traveled west.

We left at 4:00 am on Monday, as scheduled. The plan was to get to Laramie, WY but late afternoon. Traffic is much better now mid-Covid, even around Chicago, so we made excellent time until we got to Altoona, IA. That's when Dave locked the keys in the car in the parking lot of McDonald's where we'd stopped for lunch. When you buy cars now they have electronic systems to keep that from happening, but Cosmo is a 2001 Civic, so no such preventive. I was able to find an old wire hanger at the hotel next door and Mrs. Dave bought a screwdriver at a gas station. I've re-entered more than one old vehicle with those tools, but it's been many years since this has happened. I gave it a good hour's worth of effort and then we called our roadside assistance. I was going to call them right away, but Mrs. Dave, remembering my past exploits, I think, insisted I give it a try. Anyway, the guy showed up 15 minutes later with the right tools and we were going again, having lost just the one hour. Yes, there was a spare key as well, but it was in T's backpack, which was in the trunk.

And of course that minor disaster didn't help her migraine, either. By the time we got to Kearney, NE, we decided that enough was enough. After a short text exchange with her neurologist's office, we decided to stop in North Platte for some professional help. The urgent care was supposed to be open until 8:00 pm, but when we got there, they were already closed. So we drove another block to the hospital and took her into the ER. Because it was the middle of Nebraska and because it was 8:00 pm and because Covid-19, there was no one there and they got her back pretty quickly. While that was happening, I checked us into a hotel since we were definitely not going to make it to Laramie. By the time I'd driven the two miles there and back, they'd given her an IV "migraine cocktail" and she was sleeping better than she had in almost a week

The second day went much smoother, across Wyoming, north at Rock Springs, through Hoback Junction (just south of Jackson), then west across the border and Ammon (Idaho Falls) to my dad's house. No migraine!

Got a few decent runs in last week, sixes on Wed-Thu-Fri, and 10 on Sat. Didn't feel too much of the altitude. Going slow helps with that as well as the quad, which was not getting any better like I'd hoped. It would loosen up and be OK for most of the runs, but then would get sore again for the rest of the day. And then the knee, just below the patella, started. Dag-nabbit. The shorter runs I went east, toward the hills, just going out and back. Saturday I went west through Idaho Falls to the Snake River downtown.

Stayed short on Monday (4 miles) to make sure I was around for T-Rex to get off to school. Did 8 yesterday to make up for it, since I'm in ramp up mode, but it was ugly. Slower than even my long runs lately and harder than any in recent memory. When I finished, I saw that my average heart rate had been 163. Not terrible, but I'm mostly in the mid-140's on an easy run. And the knee was screaming.

So, I guess I better hit the couch for a few days before I try again. I'll take the rest of this week off and hope the knee and the quad settle down with a short break.

On the plus side, we've got T-Rex going. She's nervous, but not panicked. Her apartment is an upgrade from her previous one and includes covered parking (big plus for eastern Idaho winters). She had to get uniform scrubs for her program and of course they were all too large, but one of my SILs is an accomplished seamstress and had both tops and bottoms tailored to fit in about 15 minutes, after Mrs. Dave had declared them impossible. Fingers crossed and prayers ongoing that she'll be able to manage her migraines and anxiety enough to get through the next two semesters. Plan B has me coming back out for support since I can work 100% remotely. Hoping it doesn't come to that.

I notice I've used the word "hope" more in this post than usual. Hope I don't have to do that again.

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