No temporal anomaly — it really is August already.

2 08 2019

temporal anomaly

Unlike the many instances in Star Trek, we have not been thrown forward in time even though it feels like it.  Due to a long extremely wet, cool and grey spring, I find myself staring autumn in the face with the distinct sensation of summer just having arrived as Part 2 of my three-phase outdoor athletic season also comes to an end.

When I started 2019, the strategy was for a spring half-marathon, summer duathlon and autumn weekend of  “obstacle course race and second half-marathon” as my major projects.  Being an older and fatter runner, I tend to get overuse issues if I concentrate on just running all the time so I’ve added some other sports to the mix in an attempt to mitigate that.  This is the first year of many I’ve managed to stay injury-free and so I think this is the way to go hence forward.  The spring half builds an endurance base, then cutting back on distance and adding in biking for the summer maintains fitness and builds leg strength without as much pounding on the pavement as running alone.  Following the duathlon, resuming distance running while increasing upper body strength work with lifting, carrying and climbing seems like it should add agility to the mix and close out the year without having worn my legs ragged like I’ve done before.  Throughout the whole season, corework and flexibility are also required although I admit to neglecting them more than I should.  I mean I do have to eat, sleep, work and keep up a household too.

It’s hard to believe I’m already approaching Duathlon Weekend though because I feel like summer just started!  Yet here we are again where temporal anomalies seem to be the theme of the year.

I started the season late because of the awful crazy weather and some poorly timed bouts of colds and flu on the weekends of my usual winter races.  February’s annual 1:00 pm Winterfest 5k found me accidentally napping through it, and then for the Irishfest 5k in early March I had influenza, so I didn’t really start running regularly until almost April.  Other than a couple of virtual races I did on warm weather vacations, my first actual race of the year was the No Foolin’ 5k which is always held right around April 1.  As luck would have it, instead of the usual above-freezing early spring climate, we ended up with a dead-of-winter throwback to 24 degrees Fahrenheit the morning of the race.  I did okay though.  I hauled ass to get it over with quickly and finished with a smile.

No Foolin 5k



I had no idea that temporal anomalies would be the theme of the year, yet the next race followed the same pattern.  Having gotten from 3.1 to 5.5 miles through the training plan over the following two weeks, the 6.2 mile Champion of Trees 10k at Morton Arboretum on April 14 was my next distance effort.  But wouldn’t you know it, Mother Nature decided to bounce us back in time to winter again with a freak blizzard that blew through just as the race was starting with a few small wet flakes.

By Mile 5 it was icy with white-out visibility and slow, tough, miserable going.


But I finished.  Freezing, exhausted, wet and slow as hell, I finished.  Not knowing where I was or how to get back to my car probably had as much to do with it as mental and physical stamina, but that doesn’t count.  There’s something about thinking “I can’t take this another minute” yet still continuing that always makes me feel good.  Self-torture for self-satisfaction.  Weird, I know.  But other runners get it because we all do this.

Having built a base of 6.2 miles, I needed to get to 10 miles a mere six weeks later and then a half-marathon two weeks after that, but figured I could do it by running three or four times a week with a long run every 10 days or so.  It would be intense but if I could well prepared for the 10-miler, I could easily jump up to 13.1 without any problems.  And that would have worked if it hadn’t rained almost every day for the next two months.

OLD AGE SELFIEI managed enough interval, tempo and foundation runs between Easter and Memorial Day but only a seven and then an 8-mile long run before the next big event — the Soldier Field 10-Mile in Chicago.  On that day, oddly enough, it was not cool and rainy at all even though yet another round of thunderstorms had been predicted for the morning.  Just like the 10k day, we encountered another temporal jump when the weather plunged us into hot, muggy, sunny summer as the race took off.  But just like before, I slogged on and got it done — slow, ugly and plodding again the theme — but I finished.  I was so happy about it, I even made a meme of myself.

By the time the year’s first half-marathon arrived, we were back to cool cloudy days again and mercifully so.  The Wonder Woman Half Marathon in Gurnee Illinois was a joyous event where, unlike every other race I’d done thus far, the weather was my friend and I enjoyed just about every step.  Being dressed up like a super hero among hundreds of women of all ages, shapes and sizes was so much fun.  For that one day, we were all Wonder Women.

Commemorative Photo-WCAK0012

The weather being what it was, I managed a better pace than for the 10k or the 10 miler and, although I can’t say it was effortless, it was certainly much easier.

spring paces

Wonder finish

This particular half was their inaugural outing for Illinois.  There were some glitches at packet pickup with registration bar codes not being scannable and extra swag not readily available so that took a little longer than expected but it went off well otherwise.  There were plenty of porta-potties and ample water on the course, and the route was not at all difficult.  At one point we ran through Six Flags Great America which was really entertaining and we may have passed some extra bathrooms there too (but I didn’t have to go at that point so I wasn’t on the lookout).   It would have been nice to have more than bananas and water at the finish but that doesn’t really matter much.  I’m sure I am just spoiled by doing small local races with lots of food at the end.  Overall, it was a fun event that I’d do it again some time.  Oh, and they gave the course photos away for free!

And thus ended Phase One of the 2019 annual plan.  An injury-free endurance base was built, and I was ready to cut distance to a maximum of about 5 miles while building biking up to 15 miles with hills and heat added to the agenda as I prepared for the August 4 duathlon which awaits me in a mere two days.

I’ll be back with the Phase Two run down next post, including the “three races in three days in three states” weekend and the actual duathlon which will have all transpired in the interim.

Until then,