Running Dry

Yesterday I almost decided to move my Sunday run up a day and sneak it in after my long bike ride. I didn’t want to. I wanted to have good fresh legs for the run, but all the forecasters said there would be rain this morning and without even thinking I was ready to rewrite the schedule to avoid getting out in it. Then I remembered—almost with a cartoon-like palm slap to the forehead—that I don’t mind running in the rain! In Napa it never stopped me and last winter I had tons of fun tramping up and down muddy Tabor trails as the wind howled through the firs and waves of rain washed over the hill.

So I stuck with the schedule and this morning woke up ready to take on the elements. And let me tell you, they were, uh, well, they were not fierce. Nope. A little breezy, yes. Not exactly balmy, either, at around 40. But rain? No, sir. As usual this winter, the rain didn’t come. We started this calendar year with a bang, totaling 5.04 inches in the first eight days of January here at our home weather station. But in the 44 days since then, we’ve had measurable precipitation on just nine days, for a total of 1.12 inches. I always remember Steven saying, “If you don't run in the rain in Oregon then you don't run. Period.” But this winter, that hasn’t been the case.

Well, it it was a fine run, anyway, disappointing only in that it wasn’t longer. I was up on Tabor for the first time in months, having avoided it while nursing the Achilles back to fine fettle. I took it real easy heading up to the park, mindful that bursting out of the gate uphill at 8:30 a.m. probably wouldn’t be a good idea. By the time I reached the dirt I was nice and loose and the run just flowed from there. No heart rate monitor or GPS today. The only measure I had of how long I was running was my one-hour Nano playlist.* I was limiting myself to an hour because I wanted to get to the pool right when it opened. Usually, it’s pretty empty then, but within an hour the crowds descend.

The run, though—it was so sweet. I toyed with doubling it, going for two joyous hours, and dumping the swim. But I’m proud to say I resisted the urge. To go faster at Coeur d’Alene this year I need to improve my swim and my bike. Extending runs and dumping swims isn’t going to get me there.

So I headed back home. My hourlong playlist played through about five minutes before I got home, so I was slightly behind schedule getting to the pool. And as it happened, this was the day the entire population of Portland decided to swim right when the pool opened. Most Sunday mornings I have a lane to myself, at least for a good part of the swim. Today, we were circle swimming in all six lanes. Still, it went well. The Slowtwitchers who call themselves swimmers pretty much unanimously believe a key element of becoming faster is swimming lots of hard intervals. So that’s what I did: couple hundred yards warmup, then 15x100, then a couple of hundred yards cool-down.

That was a good day of training—and look, it’s raining out now.

*Wake Up (Arcade Fire)
Golden Age (TV On the Radio)
Acuff-Rose (Uncle Tupelo)
Rehab (Amy Winehouse)
Keep the Car Running (Arcade Fire)
Wolf Like Me (TV On the Radio)
Shattered (Rolling Stones)
Mr. Jones (Counting Crows)
Gamma Ray (Beck)
California Stars (Billy Bragg & Wilco)
Human Behaviour (Bjork)
Go On, Say It (Blind Pilot)
Don't Go (Hothouse Flowers)
Black Dog (Led Zeppelin)
Kamera (Wilco)

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