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.

Posted on January 22, 2012, in Nature, Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. We had it today. We always say we have two seasons- windy and hot and windy. These are the kinds of days when the water in the toilet is swirling….. I blogged about a haboob a while back. We weren’t totally browned out today, surprisingly. With the drought we’ve been in since last winter, this does not bode well for fire season….. glad you stayed inside. My first 10 k we had sustained 40mph winds and it was like running uphill the entire way. Ugh.

    • I can’t imagine running in a 40 mph wind. You are one tough runner!

      • 😆 In my mind, there was only one way off the course- go faster. When it hit, I was on the only hilly part of the route which was slow, long, incline, and nothing in the way of a wind break. It was better once we turned back and had some trees, but still. What can you do when you’re out there and this stuff hits? I was more worried about the sand scratching my corneas…… and x2 on the change in pressure causing headaches, too.

  2. I wouldn’t be too surprised to learn that the wind and some of the accompanying pressure systems didn’t give you the headache in the first place. Probably best that you did stay indoors. After our last Pasadena winds I will never again be quite as ho-hum about potential. And as much as you long for home, you’re getting a good California full-throttle experience. We are a desert, after all 🙂 A good mixture of goals followed by occasional breaks from assignment usually keeps me a bit less stressed! You’ve got a good system going! debra

    • One of the reasons that I really hate wind is that I learned very young that it makes me rather crazy. I do think the rapidly changing barometric pressure has very real mental and physical effects on me (and many other people as well).

      As for the “plan” — in the end, it’s all ambiguity and just putting one foot in front of the other, until somehow it all works out the way it needs to… Eventually!


  3. Glad you stayed inside. At my old house, the next door neighbors had several tall palm trees. On a windy day, those fronds came crashing down, and could do some serious damage if you were hit — quite heavy and prickly.

    I’d planned a nice long walk this weekend, and didn’t get to it. I’ll try to quit beating myself up about it. 😉

    • Patty,
      Yes, I’m trying to learn to start each day new. So what if you didn’t walk over the weekend; you’ll walk another day as long as you keep it on your list of priorities (and I know how good you are with lists!). I didn’t run 9 miles this morning so I’m still “behind schedule”… but I did run 4.4 happy miles. And that’s fine.

  4. I figured that out a while back. Definitely view the plan as an approximation of what you’d like to do, if everything is perfect.
    I got back in the saddle (again)… Sort of. Did a 6 mile fun run walk. I walked, really. I may have jogged a total of 3 minutes in the whole 94 minutes it took me to finish. I did, however, have some pretty spiritual/personal moments. In the last 3 miles or so, walking not too far from the ocean, I felt a calm, and thought a lot about my gram, and took my time, living in memories. It was a nice start to getting off the ground.

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