Today was another wonderful day. I ran 29 miles in beautiful weather and enjoyed the luxury of a flat, 12 foot shoulder that carried me all the way into the outskirts of the metro Phoenix sprawl. I left in the morning from the cowboy frontier and finished in civilization! Both enjoyable environments.
I was very fortunate this morning to have a police escort help me on my way out of town. It was perfect because there was actually no shoulder for the first few miles and so I got to run in the street with a cruiser behind me…felt pretty cool! Thank you Officer Bill for the help and for your enthusiasm!
Officer Bill was also kind enough to alert me to the possibility of encountering a wonderful animal called the Havalina. Basically, a wild boar with horns that “will charge at anything and has been known to jump out of the bushes and take down a jogger” Just when I thought I had my precautions down to snakes, dogs, and traffic, up pops the Havalina to keep me on my toes.
Well luckily I didn’t cross any Havalinas but I did have a few dogs chase me down the road a bit. I just sort of ignored them and kept running and it seemed to work. It’s actually crazy how many things become issues on a run like this. Like I said, sometimes it seems like everytime I feel like I know what to be looking out for, something else becomes important. At the heart of this it is very simple- I am waking up each morning and going running. That’s the part I focus on. But there’s also the other details, both interesting and at times frustrating. They are part of the adventure so I thought it might be cool to include them here:
Issue #1 : Shoulders- are they wide enough? Are they slanting at too much of an angle? Where do you go when they suddenly disappear? A few days ago a hwy patrolman stopped to tell me I was really “rolling the dice” by running on a narrow shoulder along a busy hwy.
Issue #2 : Water- Can I carry enough with me? Am I drinking enough? I should be better at this by now but still have to force myself to take a couple sips everytime I think of it.
Issue #3 : Where’s the bathroom in the middle of the desert anyway?
Issue #4 : Sunscreen
Issue #5 : Plants and animals- how to react to aggressive dogs, watch out for rattle snakes, remember that everything has thorns, and still watch out for traffic
Issue #6 : sometimes maps lie. And sometimes you just can’t run where you want to. It can be a frustrating halt in momentum. For anyone who’s curious or is also thinking of running long distances, lots of times you can find RR tracks near state hwys and most have a dirt road alongside them. Or if you’re running near powerlines, they also usually have a dirt road underneath them.
Issue #7 : Eating enough, at the right times.
Issue #8 : Giving your body enough TLC. Lots of times after running all day you just want to fall into bed. It’s a commitment making sure you stretch A LOT, find and use ice, elevate your feet to get rid of swelling, blister maintenance, staying sort of clean, using neosporin on rashes, cuts, anything that could cause an infection, etc.
All of these things aren’t really that big of a deal, they are small details, but when you go even a day or two without paying attention to them, you notice and your run suffers. You’re forced to see and experience firsthand the consequences of your decisions, even if it’s just a small thing.
I just wanted to mention those things because I think it’s interesting to see the little details that go into the daily routine. Hope it’s not too boring!