I am a girl who loves mountains, changing seasons, running, true backpacking, strong coffee, and knitting with high quality yarn.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Friends, vows and trail etiquette.

I haven't run with friends for longer than a 5M Sunday group run since I moved here almost 3 years ago. Running partner is such a delicate thing, you know, and I miss my Gail, and Mike Bushwhacker, as friends and running buddies, people who you can be comfortable talking about anything, who have seen you through thick and thin, who can have a light chit-chat and a deep conversation, and even more importantly, who you can be silent with absolutely comfortable. People like that don't come easy as we get older and move through places and ages, especially when life is busy. Even running with Larry is not happening often, we are too different in paces that when do start together, separate most of the time, and may be end up doing things side by side once a month at most. I've been a solo runner, for a long time.

This weekend Joe Prusaitis of Tejas Trails and HCTR fame, and long friend from way before, had invited me to join in on a Saturday run to explore some new loops he created in Hill of Life trail system area. I had seen majority of those trails, but he strung them together so you can make 7 miles without repeating once. Larry and I had some more mile on schedule, so we began earlier, then Larry pealed off and I went to pick up the crew of Joe, his better half Joyce, their son-in-law Sean and Diana H. It was 7 am, and it was hot and humid already! Shirts season is over in Central Texas, whether or not you're beach-body ready (and I am not, but who cares!). It was fun! We chatted non-stop, mostly with Joe, our "business" stuff with clubs, some running rehashing, some gossiping (what friends are without those!), trail trash...after that 7M loop we dropped Diana and Sean and the three of us went for more running, flatter terrain, quicker leg turn over. Still talking, now with Joyce and Joe letting us do girl talk, family, finances...Then Joyce had done what she planned, and Joe and I put another 4 miles on top. On our return trip I finally felt the tiredness building up, mostly due to being dehydrated and not heat acclimated. We met a bunch of friends at the top, and ended up the run with tacos - and 18 miles (a bit short of planned, but who's counting).

Sunday Larry and I had some more in store, and while we started at different points, we crossed way, hung a bit together, split up, and as I approached our wedding spot, I saw him! I was just thinking about it, and as usual, actually reciting my "I do". How many people get to visit the place where they got married 2-3 times a month (and more if wanted)? And every single time each of us runs by, apparently we slow down or stop and whisper the vows. As I ran to Larry, he took my hands and said: "If I ever had to do it all over again, I would marry you every time without a single doubt". My eyes watered as we briefly kissed and made it down the ditch, where Larry left me behind.

I was still recovering my vision from all this sweetness when I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks and spotted a coral snake! Holly cow! One of 4 most poisonous Texas snakes! And it wasn't a baby, a good 2 feet, strung along the middle of the trail moving in my direction and not going anywhere. I stood silent, then made noise, then threw a big branch - and instead of getting away, it turned towards me! It was freaky, but eventually, another minute later, it slowly moved off, and I dashed forward past it.

My heart was just settling down, and I nodded some big guy running towards me, and literally a minute later somebody pinched me on my butt! I jumped and screamed so loud, in my confused mind trying to figure out if it's a snake biting me or a guy harasses me, and as I turned to smack whomever it would be - it was my own husband! He made his loop a bit longer and caught up with me. So much for trail etiquette Joe wrote on  HCTR Facebook!

Another friend caught up, and that made me push a pace a bit more than intended as we ran together for the next 3 miles or so. Larry was done for the day, David went on the same loop back, and I ran up a different trail to catch the HCTR Sunday group run - which had the biggest troop out there, all 28 people! Since I was pumped (and tired simultaneously), I did my favorite sergeant drill-ing and turned a regular no-drop run into an interval workout: see last person coming up, take off! Honestly, I whipped my own behind as much as anybody else's, and with 14 miles for another humid morning, I was done fulfilled, happy and with a good workout.

The week was finished with a round number 60, what is the highest so far, and likely stay to be (with race weeks as exceptions). I am fine with the mileage I've been putting, ever since last 2 years of training, when realized that when I have to make choices with time, I rather benefit from quality since I know how to do quantity. It worked for me lately, and as I don't have time to pack more miles - or desire to run in Austin hot and humidity of the summer (and missed out on our winter training opportunities), this will do.

The rest of the weekend was filled with chores, yard work (not me!) and relaxing and enjoying life as well.

Next - Pandora trail half-marathon.

All the pots are planted now too, besides re-shaping the front yard!


Danni said...

Geez I don't remember my last 60 mile week. Nice work! And I am glad you saw the snake before you were on top of it...

Julie said...

Seeing snakes always raises my heart rate and heightens my senses...every stick looks like a snake afterwards! The landscaping looks wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Seeing snakes always raises my heart rate and heightens my senses...every stick looks like a snake afterwards! The landscaping looks wonderful!

Sarah said...

I'm glad there aren't any poisonous snakes (that I know of!) west of the Cascades. I did almost step on a banana slug Saturday. ;-)

Nicky said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences here on your blog.

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