T-Rex and I left at 3:00 in the afternoon on Tuesday last, hoping to get as far as Peru, and maybe Moline before we stopped for the night. This was a cutback week for me, but I still had a bunch of miles to run. My plan was to try to make it to Cheyenne early enough to find a place where I could do Interval Wednesday that night, then a recovery run Thursday before driving out for the third leg of the trip. I might miss Friday with everything we needed to do moving into the apartment, but an early flight on Saturday would have me home in time for a short long run (10 miles), so I'd get all (or almost all) of the cutback week's mileage done.
If you didn't know, any trip in that direction really depends on Chicago area traffic. Ever since we started making these drives to the mountains in 2002, there's been construction in one place or another (usually several places) on I-90/94/80 from Michigan City to Joliet. This time, it looked like clear sailing for once. Just as we were getting confident of a once in a lifetime pass to the prairie, a wave of brake lights appeared. After a mile or so of super slow and go, and looking at the traffic on T's phone, we took an exit and tried for a bypass. It worked! We were able to re-enter I-80 just a couple of miles later beyond the construction zone, and get back on schedule.
I remember the early 70s when there was a national speed limit - 55 mph. Not much difference driving across town, but it sure adds up over 1,800 miles. Past Peru, Lasalle, Princeton, Geneseo, Moline. It was still early, so we booked a Clarion in Iowa City for the night and drove on. I love technology.
Except when it doesn't work. Despite the confirmation in the app AND the email from Clarion, our reservation wasn't in the system. Not a huge deal, since they had plenty of vacancies, but not at the price I'd gotten, by $50 or so. Not cool, Clarion. Taurus, the desk guy offered to let me have the senior discount (turns out I'm old enough to get it anyway, which was only $5 more, but there was a principle involved, so I called the 800 number and asked what happened to my reservation. He didn't know, either, but it was shown as "cancelled" on his screen (somewhere in India, of course). He agreed to re-book us at my original price and we were set. So, humanity wins this one.
Not only did we get to Cheyenne, we went all the way to Laramie before stopping the next day at 5:00. That gave me enough time to run. I swear the Indians are taking over this country. I have four of them on my work team right now. Of course 90% of any Help Line is based there. The guy at the Fairfeild Inn was Indian. Raj. He was extremely pleasant, capable and was excited to tell me a good place to run. Turned out there was a greenbelt just across the highway from the hotel. Her recommended driving there, since the overpass had narrow shoulders and no sidewalks (thanks for nothing, Laramie), but I had a driver with me so it worked out fine.
The Laramie River Greenbelt is a great place to run. It's about 5k from end to end, almost completely flat, right next to the river almost the entire way. There's one park about halfway through with picnic tables, play equipment and (fortunately for me because I always need one nowadays), a couple of POPs. I had 5 x 1.5 miles scheduled for this week. The park ended up being a mile into my first interval, so that broke it up a little. I intended to be flexible for this because - I forgot to mention - Laramie is at 7200 feet above sea level. Lack of oxygen does weird things to your brain. My watch beeped at a mile, but I thought it was beeping for the first interval (1.5), so I slowed down to jog for a half. When it beeped again, I took off and it wasn't until it beeped again much sooner than I expected that I realized I'd rested during the last .5 of the first 1.5. Interval #1 had only been 1 mile.
I adjusted by extending Interval #2 to 2 miles. Altitude does fun things to your legs, too, btw. That first mile had been 7:49 and felt harder. The next two were 8:02 and felt the same. #3 was a little better at 7:51, but I could tell the last two were going to be a struggle. Despite that, it was cool and the wind was almost cold. And I was hardly sweating at all. Normally, I'd have been soaked by 4 miles out. The greenbelt seemed pretty popular, too, for a Wednesday evening. I probably passed a dozen or more people out walking, biking or walking their dogs during the hour and a half I was out there. The trail was a little more open on the south end, where there's a big loop that's about a mile and a quarter. I ran around it three times and then headed back to the hotel. #4 was 8:06 pace and #5 was 8:00. Not as fast as I'd run this at home, but 7200 feet. Satisfied.
Siri directed us to a local Mexican place for dinner, but it was closed when we got there at 8:00, so we drove around and ate at Qdoba.
Next morning I got up early enough to be running at sunrise. Mrs. Dave thought it was a little "extreme" that I was running again, since I'd just run the night before. She thought we should have been driving already. I figured I'd want to spend the evening with my Dad when we got to Idaho. Plus, since we'd made it all the way to Laramie, Thursday's drive was a "short" one - 7 hours. Stopped in Pocatello to get toilet paper at Costco for the apartment. Mrs. Dave is convinced that was worth it. I'm not, but I try to keep harmony as best I can.
We did dinner with Dad and called it an early night. Next morning we met with the adviser at CEI (College of Eastern Idaho) about T's status getting into their MA(Medical Assisting) program next fall and then drove the last few miles to Rexburg. Took most of the day to get her settled in, groceries bought, roommates met. Had dinner with my two brothers and their wives, along with Dad who drove up. He took me back to his place after we said goodbye to T-Rex, fingers crossed and prayers said that she'll make it through better than the last time she was here.
My flight on Saturday was supposed to leave at 8:30 am. The IF airport isn't usually busy on a Saturday morning, and even when it is, it isn't. Let me back up to 4:15 am, when I was awakened by a text from Mrs. Dave, telling me that my flight was delayed an hour, I was going to miss my connection in Denver and I should try to catch the 5:30 flight. Get up, get dressed, packed, wake up my 86 year old dad and drive across town to the airport in an hour and 15 minutes to "maybe" get on an earlier flight? I didn't think so. This would have been helpful information the night before. I was set up to get texts and app alerts from United, but nothing had come about the delay. It wasn't until I was sitting in the gate area, having been re-booked on a flight out of Denver SIX HOURS later than my original ticket, that I received the messages from the airline. Thanks, United. Maybe they'd figure something out and still get me to Denver in time. That almost happened. We touched down in Denver at 11:35, but the gates were two far away and after taxi-ing the hundred miles between the runway and the terminal, it was almost 11:00 before I watched them pushing the plane - MY PLANE! - away from the gate. So much for getting home early.
As it happened, T-Rex's roommate had been delayed out of Detroit and was also stuck in Denver. So we had lunch together and hung out until her flight to IF. Mine left at 5:30 and landed at 10:20. Long day in the airport. Good thing the next day was Sunday, so I took it easy and tried to recover.
Because this is the last big week (60 miles!) and then it's taper time. I'm ready for that.
And, of course summer decided to come back for an encore this week, making a disaster of a tempo run yesterday.
I actually had low expectations. Just was feeling drained, I guess from the travel of last week, but started out decently, with 8-ish miles. But by mile 3 I could tell it wasn't going to happen. Made it through 5 and that was all she wrote. Could barely muster a slow jog for more than a quarter before I'd have to walk. Fall is going to feel SO good, assuming it gets here in time for the race.
Someone tell me it's going to be cool in New Hampshire on the 5th. This has been quite the roller coaster of a training schedule.