This week in swim class, we started talking about running. A few of us had participated in the Skunk Cabbage Classic the weekend prior and we were chatting about our experiences. One of my classmates has a stress fracture in her ankle and she was telling us how she got it (increasing mileage, doing intervals etc) so our discussion turned quickly to running form, mileage strategy and racing and then Shane re-directed us back to swimming.
I knew she had a stress fracture; in fact just a few weeks ago we were sharing a lane and she was swimming faster than me when she wasn't even able to kick (she had a bool buoy between her ankles to make sure she didn't!) but this night was when I learned it was in her ankle. Instantly my ankle started to hurt. I'm the type of person who feels like I will throw up as soon as I learn someone has a stomach bug, almost passes out at the first mention of blood etc. I spent the next few days convinced I had a stress fracture.
Salt and Vinegars
Last summer, Jenny and I were training for the Green Lakes 50K, a first for both of us. For several months we felt like we lived on the trail together. This week, Jenny texted that she sang our "Salt and Vinegar" song. Yes, we even had a song to go around our favorite race refuel food; salt and vinegar potato chips! Between the warm weather, Scott's constant trail running training for Cayuga Trails 50, my sore ankle and Jenny's singing, I knew I had to hit the trail again!
Rabbit, Rim, Base, Rim, Rabbit
After volunteering to set up for the Tough Turtle obstacle race, Scott ran 18 miles home using a mix of trail and road. Early in the afternoon, Elizabeth went out for 11 miles; her last long run before the Flower City Half and Xander went to his Boy Scout service project. I worked on things for the May Day 5&5, baked and decorated a cake for Emoticakes, and then it was my turn! Late in the afternoon, I donned my hydration pack, downloaded a few podcasts and headed down Rabbit Run in my familiar "trail uniform" from last summer; a Brooks mesh tank top, Brooks Pure Grits, Nathan Hydration Pack, and my favorite running skirt.
My first podcast was an episode of Criminal, and I listened with rapt attention about a terrible case of a police shooting. Soon, I had arrived at the top of the North rim trail. I stashed my headphones and enjoyed the entry into nature. The smells and beauty of the rim instantly brought me back to last summer, then the re-entry into "civilization" on the base trail made me remember our long 18-20 mile trail days when we did this route multiple times. I enjoyed the softness underfoot and the mental energy it took to look out for rocks and roots. I nabbed a few pictures on this gorgeous day, and thanked God that I had this natural beauty in my backyard. I often long to live in Oregon, and this trail is one way to transport my mind to Oregon for just a short while.
I slogged up the steps without a single running leap. Just walking. Reasoning that even when I was in great shape last summer I usually walked them, I did so today with no shame or regret. Soon, I hit the area that I used for hill repeats last year and was ready to run again! I used the Animal Athletics "potato chip" image to keep my hands relaxed as I headed uphill, all the while imagining I had potato chips in each hand with a goal of no crushing!
Toward the top of the trail, one of my swim classmates was walking with her husband. We chatted briefly and then I discovered Xander's Boy Scout project; crushed rocks in the very puddly, swampy part of the trail! Bliss. I never look forward to this brief boggy section so that was a lovely surprise.
Upon reaching the top of the South rim, it was time to head back up Rabbit. By this point in the run I had decided to finish the run home instead of calling for a ride. There were 2 reasons; I knew Elizabeth had run 11 so I felt like 10.5 was a nicer number than 8 for me AND Rabbit, Rim, Base, Rim, Rabbit was symmetrical. That last part was pretty enjoyable. There was a nice swirling wind and road hills never feel as hard after trail hills; something I suddenly remembered from last summer.
I arrived home from my first trail run of the season to find my family sitting on our front step smiling at me. "You guys look like you have something up your sleeves," I said. "No, us .. not at all" followed by, "Little Venice" in "How I Met Your Mother" style. So, we finished our day of mostly separate activities by a family dinner at a local restaurant with pizza and beer!