Friday, November 14, 2014

The Coyotes Called and I Was Not Afraid

I didn't go to Masters Swim Thursday night. Cagri sent out a text asking if we wanted to go out to eat after practice at Hey Joe's with Petya, our former coach. She is visiting from Canada and was there Tuesday night. It was really nice to see her. The invite was very tempting, but I opted instead for a long run out my old standby, Money Road.

Penny is off work and wants to go to Jackson Friday so my play day is gone. I could do a long run Saturday, but if I do my wife will think all I do is train. She has a very selective memory. I do almost all of my training when she is either asleep or at work. I swam ONE Saturday training for the Suck and it was, "I am so sick of this. All you do is train!"

I train when my wife is at work or asleep.

On Saturdays I will only do short, sissy runs and maybe lift weights in the backyard. On Sundays, we go to church and I nap.

So I had to skip Masters Swim and work out some other logistical problems. I didn't want to get caught in "the Chute," as we call it, after dark. In fact, for the last year or so I have not been able to force myself over the Tallahatchie Bridge after the last light of day is gone. Call me a sissy, but I loose my nerve when I get to the crest of the bridge and all I see is black nothing on the other side. I don't mind getting caught in the dark on Money Road as long as I am not in the Chute, a huge, spooky patch of dark woods that is the site of numerous Bigfoot sightings that also hosts the ubiquitous coyotes and wild hogs. The way I had it figured, if I could crest the bridge at 2:00 or earlier, I would be OK.

Penny telling me that she wasn't coming home for lunch solved another problem. That meant I could pick up lunch at Honest Abe's (an eatery next door to the MDCC Greenwood Center) and eat during my office hour. Thus, I could get home at 12:00, take a short nap, and head out on the road for a run.

I bought Gatorade after my 9:25 class and the nerves began. I get nervous before a long run, not scared nervous just nervous. To make a short story long, I was over the bridge a tad before 2:00 with 64 ounces of Gatorade in my Camelbak and a smile on my face. Though the weather was cold and windy, I was layered and comfortable.

I began an immediate run/walk schedule. One can be very precise about these things when the road is pancake flat as it is on Money Road. I ran three and walked a half. Walking is something I need to work on if I am to  do the Mississippi Trail 50 fifty miler. Currently, I am not a good walker.

My legs still felt flat from yesterday's weights and short run. The wind was strong enough out of the north to be a real impediment. At least I would have it to my back on the return trip. I made the turn around (10.78) with the toes on my left foot feeling blistered. I had thought briefly about packing some tape and a pair of scissors. In my haste I left them. Now I wanted them. I also opted not to wear my Injinji toe socks. Saving wear on them, I thought. Smart choices both of them.

I didn't stop at the fire station in Money like I often do but I did do a short out-and-back on the road beside it to add a little distance since I knew now I would clear the chute in some level of daylight. When I did get to the chute, the sun dipped below the trees and almost instantly the temperature noticeably dropped as well as the light level. But it was still daylight.

Darkness did find me about four miles out the road and when the lack of daylight was total, a pack of coyotes opened up in their hideous crying and calling. I smiled because I was not afraid. They were behind me, between me and the chute. If I had been in the chute, however, when they let loose, I most likely would have crapped my pants.

I made it home a little after 6:30 pm, tired but feeling fully alive after completing my second twenty-miler of the year. Winter running makes me feel like that, alive. Specifically, I ran 18.59 and walked 3.24 for a total of 21.83. Last night I slept like a nurse gave me some sort of strong shot and I woke up stiff but satisfied. I can't wait to do it again.