Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another run cut short by lack of foresight; or, Catherine's introduction to Eric-style winter training.

With the Buffalo Run 50K in just two weeks, I decided that today would be good for one last long run. I wanted to run a relatively mellow 25 miles or so, but I didn't want to be running around Rose Park or doing laps at Liberty Park, so I decided to run the Canals Loop, featured on Davy Crockett's blog.

(Davy Crockett is a local 50-something ultra runner. From what I can tell, what he lacks in speed he makes up in prolificacy. He runs a lot. I haven't met him, but I first heard about him several years ago when Jared sent out a link to an account of his winter run across Utah Lake.)

The Canals Loop (for those who don't follow links) starts west of Point of the Mountain, near the National Guard base. From there, it's a simple matter of following an old dirt road north along one canal, and then returning south along another. The course seems nice--flat and gently rolling roads through the fields in the southwest corner of Salt Lake Valley. Although it's right by civilization, the route (or the part of it I saw) has a very rural feel. A perfect way to make up for last week's Liberty Park adventure.

Of course, after a week of warm, beautiful and dry weather, the forecasts called for more adverse conditions today. But from the report I read, that meant high 30s/low 40s and a little rain. The forecasts also mentioned snow, but considering the temperatures, I expected that to stay up in the mountains. (Can anyone see where this is going?)

Before I left our apartment, Catherine asked if she could come along. Instead of running laps at Liberty Park, she would set off on the canal roads after me and turn around at the 6-mile mark for a 12-mile out and back. She'd get back to the car before me, but she and Tigger would wait for me and then we'd grab lunch together on our way home. It sounded like a good plan to me, so we hopped in the car and headed south.

Because of the weather reports, I was disappointed, but not surprised, when it was raining at the trailhead. I warned Catherine that it might be a little uncomfortable, but we both agreed it was no big deal and set out on our runs.

It wasn't uncomfortable at all, at least at first. The path was enjoyable, and the light rain kept me cool. For the first four miles or so, I cruised along at an 8:00/minute pace, pausing every two miles to mark the difference for Catherine. But somewhere in the fifth mile (about where I passed the small buffalo farm), the rain started turning to snow. And by a couple of miles later, it was snowing hard. Because it was cold, to state the obvious.

At several points I thought I should turn around and head back to the car. But I convinced myself that Catherine, the one with the common sense, had already turned back and was well on her way back to the car.

But she hadn't, and she wasn't. At about 7.5 miles, I heard my phone ringing. It was Catherine, and she was cold, and she wasn't happy about it. She told me she was heading back to the car, and I told her that was a good idea. I was worried she might be in trouble, so I turned around and ran back as fast as I could.

I met Catherine at about 5.5 miles. By then, Catherine was doing much better, but I was a wreck. I was shivering violently and I could barely use my fingers, so Catherine and I hopped off the trail and I knocked on the door of the nearest house. Luckily for us, the woman who answered the door had just returned from her own run in the rain and snow, so she let us in and Catherine and I warmed up in the foyer until Molly came out and rescued us.

It's been a while since I've had one of my bad weather winter disasters, and this was Catherine's first. And while it probably won't be my last, it will be hers. Like I said, she's the one with the common sense.

Then again, she's also the one who jumped out of the car at a red light and ran across two lanes of traffic to buy a box of Girl Scout Cookies.

GPS Report - March 13, 2010


Anonymous said...

I don't follow links.

Catherine, keep Eric out of the snow, for his own good.

Abominable's Main Squeeze said...

Indeed this does sound like an adventure that only our Eric could have (I actually know that he is not the only one to have these adventures, but...). Watch those fingers, you only get one set and then they are gone. It sounds like you need to take the weather forecast a little more serious. Remember the Donnor party?
Maybe Catherine can teach you some of that common sense?!

Anonymous said...

btw, digging the beard.