A weather alert popped up in my computer’s system tray this morning, and if it had still been April Fool’s Day I would have thought it was a joke. It wasn’t warning me of floods or tornadoes or hail storms, it was warning me of this:
Freezing fog?! That sounds like something I’d have to face in a video game after crossing the river of lava and fighting off flying monkeys. If I went for my scheduled run, would I be flash frozen in a cube of ice, becoming a PastaQueen popsicle? I imagined myself only being discovered centuries later by archeologists who would say, “This early 21st century humanoid was part of a bizarre cult known as ‘runners.’ You can tell by her overpriced shoes and the abundance of cheesy techno music on her MP3 player.”
I looked up “freezing fog” on Wikipedia only to learn that there are eleventy-billion different types of fog: freezing fog, Garua fog, radiation fog, hail fog, upslope fog, advection fog and more. Freezing fog “occurs when liquid fog droplets freeze to surfaces, forming white rime ice.” I decided I could survive being coated in rime ice and drove down to the running store. The only part that felt like a video game was when I drove through the fog, which always reminds me of the Atari racing game Enduro. This in turn reminds me that I am old.
Today we ran for 60 minutes down the towpath next to the canal. It’s odd how fog makes everything mysterious, like a fantasy film, as if elves might pop out of the bushes at any moment. It also motivated me to run pretty quickly across intersections for fear of being hit by an unseen SUV only 30 yards away. The towpath is the home to lots of ducks and geese, who unlike me don’t mind to dunk their heads in 30-degree water. I passed a couple white ducks and lots of green duck poo. Lots of green duck poo.
For the most part, the waterfowl contributed to the picturesque atmosphere. Then I ran into the Gatekeeper Goose. This goose stood in the middle of the crushed limestone path, staring me down on my return trip. Its beady black eyes revealed nothing of its thoughts, if indeed its brain was large enough to have thoughts. As I dared to bolt past it, I thought of the old family tale of the time my Aunt L. was chased around my grandparent’s farm by a freshly butchered, headless chicken, squirting blood. If dead, headless poultry could terrorize a child like that, what could a bird with its beak still attached do? Thankfully, the goose didn’t make a move and my fantasy film did not suddenly morph into an old Hitchcock thriller.
Otherwise, it was a pretty good run, or at least as “good” as a 60-minute, 5-mile run can be. About 25-minutes in, I spied a park bench that looked like a great resting spot. Except it was on the other side of the canal. At that same moment two runners passed me in the other direction and I momentarily envisioned myself tossing one of them in the water and floating on his back to the other side. Instead, I abstained from committing assault and kept running. It was cold enough that there wasn’t much mud. I ran past the Butler University woman’s track team in both directions. I admire those girls for voluntarily running on a Saturday morning, especially considering I spent most of my Saturday mornings in college laying comatose in a bunk bed with Twinkies within an arm’s reach.
I also finally tried the free Raspberry Cream PowerBar Power Gel I got at the taste-testing session a month ago. I’d heard these could be rather nasty, but it was fairly good, or as “good” as a 100-calorie carbohydrate gel can be. It tasted like someone mixed the center of a Cadbury Crème egg with raspberry flavored cough medicine. You need to refuel your body with carbs during longer runs or else you can literally run out of energy to finish the race. I needed to test it to make sure I wouldn’t barf it up when I use a couple during my 15K next week.
Yes, the 15K is next week.
And the mini-marathon is in 4 weeks.
I realized it was getting pretty close when I flipped over the fourth and final page of the training schedule today. After today’s run, I have now run approximately 100 miles in preparation for these races. Wow. It makes me wonder if The Proclaimers had ever trained for a marathon when they wrote that song, “I Would Walk 500 Miles.” Because, damn, that’s really far to walk. I’ve only gone 1/5 of that in a little over two months. I can only think of a handful of people I would actually walk 500 miles for, and like the song says I would definitely “fall down at your door” if I did.
Hopefully the weather will be nicer next week for the race. However, given the recent history, I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up Saturday morning to see this in my system tray: