"Only those who risk failing greatly can ever succeed greatly." –RFK
Monday, January 26, 2009
(Pic: This is the John Wayne Trail... in the SUMMER!)
Saturday, I ran with the Ellensburg group. It was a great run. We ran 21+ miles from Kittitas to Vantage on the John Wayne Trail. It's flat for a few miles, then a gentle down hill for the rest of the way. It was cold but not too cold. There was some wind but it wasn't bad. There were some icy spots under our feet and one person took a good spill on the ice, but for the most part, the snow cushioned the gravel surface, making it very nice to run on. I wore my ankle brace. I've decided I must get used to wearing it on all trails, even easy ones like this. I so miss running on the trails, and if a measly brace is all it takes to get me back on them, well this year I'm going to wear it!
We started with six runners. Once wanted to get in just a few miles so turned back early. The rest of us forged ahead. Tim drove to the end of our route and ran back toward us with the dogs, trying hard to restrain from running too much as he is easing back after a stress fracture. It was an absolutely joyous run! Hoar frost covered everything, making the high desert terrain look like a black-and-white Western movie. Our bright-colored running shirts, hats, and packs stood out vividly against it. I wished I had my camera.
(Pic: This is NOT from the JWT but it's an excellent picture of hoar frost and is similar to the conditions we ran in on Saturday.)
Overall, it was an easy run, a relaxing, high-spirited run filled with good stories and wit. Tim met us at 13 miles, so he ended up running 16, quite a big jump for a "gradual increase" in training mileage, but his hip felt good. And the dogs, they were in their glory! We finished some 4+ hours later, and spent the rest of the day relaxing in front of the TV. We watched two movies - "Breaking Away," a 70's movie about Cutters and a bike race, and "Kung Fu." I admit I was a bit surprised to enjoy both so much.
Sunday, we ran another 10, this time starting at the JWT Thorp trail head. The trail was washed out in several areas because of the severe flooding early this month.
(pic: Tim and Missy. Trail wash-out)
It was sunny but colder. We knew the wind was at our backs on the way out, but we didn't realize just how strong it was until we turned back into it. We thought it was just wind through the tunnel, but it wasn't.
The head wind remained for the 5-mile trek back to the trail head. It was bitterly cold. My face and hands froze. I wasn't very happy. But it was a short run and I needed the lesson in getting tough. The dogs, again, were in their glory!
(pic: Steely Dan)
After the run, we stopped at the fruit stand, swung through the drive-through coffee stand, and looked at some local RVs for sale. Just curious of course.
It was a very nice weekend with some good winter running. Y'all know I really don't like the cold, right? So, this was pretty good for me. I kept telling myself: "I am an excellent winter-time runner!" "I am an excellent winter-time runner!" Over and over. Reality is, I don't think I'll ever even be a good winter-time runner. I'll take the sun and the heat any day. Maybe that's why I enjoyed these runs so much. There was so much winter beauty on the trail! I suppose it's always there, however, this time I saw it and it was indeed very beautiful and ... heart warming.
I am an ultra runner, physician and have been medical director of some of the toughest ultras. I tend to be a mover and a shaker and louder than my size suggests. However, my Gemini twin is gentler and contemplative, an artist, a writer, and a poet. I am a dog lover, a believer in souls, and have a special affinity for those who struggle because I have been there.
This is my crazy lovable huggable Weimaraner, Steely Dan. I call him Steely. He left us in January of this year at only 6 years from lymphoma that did not respond to chemotherapy treatments. Steely was a total goof. He loved trail running, road running, treadmill running, new experiences, making eye contact, sleeping on his back, me, kids, and liver treats. He was Zappa's best friend. We miss him dearly.
This is Stella. A rescue from the shelter. She's about 6 months old and a Border Collie. She is a joyous bundle of energy and curiosity and now also Zappa best friend. She will make a nice running partner when she grows up.
This is the now the big brother of my family - a rescued Greyhound. His name is Frank Zappa. I call him Zappa. He's 7 years old and has learned all about life beyond the track and crate from Steely when he was with us. It was very rewarding to watch his personality bloom as he settled into the family. And yes, he runs like the wind!
This is Natasha, my dearest friend. She was with me through college, medical school, residency, and she moved with me from Chicago to Spokane several years ago. She was my best running partner for 10 years. My sweet Natasha died from bone cancer in 2006. I miss her still. I hung a windchimes over the deck outside. When it chimes, I smile and think she has finally -- wherever she is now -- caught a squirrel!