Sometimes things don’t go according to plan
I’m learning to take my “training plans” with a grain of salt and consider them approximate goals, because life does get in the way once or twice or more during the course of a 3 to 4 month plan, doesn’t it?
After my great short runs last Wednesday and Friday, I was all psyched up to go out and run 9 miles or so this morning. What happened instead was that yesterday I woke up with a bit of a headache… not too bad yet but threatening to become bad. I walked to breakfast and back (about a mile total), hoping to relax and loosen up my neck and shoulders in the sunshine. It seemed to work, and I was feeling pretty good by noon or so.
Then at about 1:30 the forecasted high winds showed up with a mighty blast. Within minutes there was blowing sand along with miscellaneous flying objects all headed at my car (which, unfortunately, is not garaged here) and my west-facing floor to ceiling windows. I watched branches snap off my two patio trees and crash to the ground. Watching all that was good for an instant, severe headache. I took pain pills, went to bed, and cowered all afternoon as I heard things crashing and bouncing across the flat roof.
I really don’t like wind. I think I’d prefer the heavy snow they got back in my home town this past week to that kind of wind.
I got up in the evening with my head still pounding. I turned on the TV (an extremely rare thing) and watched the local news. Winds at the airport had gusted to 66, but there were reports all over the valley of gusts to 90. A carport had collapsed, crushing about a dozen cars. Roads were closed due to blowing sand with visibility down to 10 feet (the police directing traffic had to wear goggles). Thousands of households were without power; hundreds of trees were down. While the winds were expected to die down overnight, I was groggy from pain pills and knew there was no way I would be going running this morning.
When I woke up this morning I felt a lot better, and it was indeed calm outside. I asked myself, if this were race day, would you feel good enough to drag yourself out there and run? The best I could muster was “maybe.” But today, with the race still three weeks away, I didn’t have it in me to go out and run merely to log the miles.
So I got up around 10:00, drank lots of coffee, and ate a light breakfast. Then I dragged a large branch (maybe 1.5″ diameter at the break point) out of the patio on the downwind side of the condo (I have no idea where it flew in from and how it landed there so neatly) and added it to a pile of other debris. I ventured out to inspect my car, which was very dirty but seemed basically intact. My head was feeling 90% better but I still had the residual neck and shoulder pain so I figured walking might help as it had done yesterday.
I ended up walking 7 miles, with a break at the halfway point for lunch. Along the way I saw many fallen branches, some as thick as 8-10 inches, and a good number of completely uprooted mid-sized trees. Surprisingly, I did not see a single fallen palm tree. I’d heard that their narrow profile allows them to withstand high winds; now I’ve seen evidence to support this. What does happen, however, is that they drop all their dead fronds. In the middle of downtown they’d already done a lot of cleanup, and these fallen palm fronds were stacked several feet high at various corners. Here is an example:
I did not see any structural damage other than some torn restaurant canopies, fallen stop signs, and a bit of minor roof damage here and there. However, the park where the half marathon will start and finish looked like a tornado had come through, cutting a wide swath of fallen trees from northwest to southeast. It was too big a sight to capture with my phone, so I have no photos worth sharing.
The good news, in terms of my grand running plan, is that the 7 mile walk today did help loosen my shoulders a bit more, and I’m feeling almost human tonight. So perhaps I’ll try to squeeze in an extra run this coming week to at least partially make up for my missed long run today… or perhaps I simply won’t worry about it, and I’ll go out there on race day with no plans or goals except to have fun.