Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Falling Slowly

What happened?

The last time I posted was July 31. On that day, the high was 86. The whole month had been one long miserable slog through insufferable heat and humidity, with the nadir coming on July 6 when the weather station at the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea recorded a high of 103. Fortunately I was in Scotland at the time, luxuriating in clouds, drizzle, and 62 degrees. Everywhere I went, the locals moaned about the weather, and my response was invariably, "are you kidding? I'm loving this, considering what I left behind."

Now it is fall. The nights have been comforter-snuggling cold and the days have barely cracked 60 degrees. Saturday morning I was up ridiculously early for a long run at Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter with the Engineer and the Redhead. It was about 37 degrees when we left, and I was in nearly-full winter gear: thick tights, gloves, and hat. I wore a single thick base layer, because I knew I would heat up quickly once we got moving. I had eleven miles to cover.

Fall in Michigan. Eat your heart out, New England.
I am in the final days of training for the Detroit Half Marathon on October 21. I have been feeling good about my runs of late. While I am not by any means speedy, I feel strong. The 11 miles I ran on Saturday went by fast (good company) and I pushed myself over the final mile to see how much I had left in the tank and managed to squeeze out an 8:59.

I ran 2:04 at Dexter-Ann Arbor in June. I'd like to better that in Detroit. I doubt sub-2:00 is within my capabilities if I want to run the race wisely and not crash and burn towards the end. I have been cranking out my shorter runs (five miles or fewer) at the pace needed to run a 2:00 half marathon, but I don't know if I could hold that pace for 13 miles. On race day, however, as we all know...strange things can happen.

I love running at this time of year. The weather is so very kind to us runners. After the horrible summer we endured this feels like a gift. The Redhead and I have resumed running during the workday now that we don't have to worry about heatstroke.

Last Friday I drove to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan, for my long-awaited stock car driving experience. Last year, I purchased a deal for half-off a solo driving adventure at MIS, which is only 20 miles from my house. I have a quasi-secret love for NASCAR and for many summers in a row I was on the infield at MIS watching cars turn left for 4 hours and drinking lots of beer. This was my chance to see the track FROM THE TRACK.

I cannot describe how excited I was. I arrived at MIS too early for my class, so I stood around and watched the cars roar by on the track, getting more excited by the minute. Finally it was my turn and I was fitted for my Nomex suit and helmet. Then it was off to class, where I learned how I was expected to behave on the track and how to operate the car. About 45 minutes into the instructions, a woman came in the room and announced that MIS fire safety was shutting them down because of rain. There would be no more activity that day. When I heard that, I almost started to cry. I was SO CLOSE! SO CLOSE! to getting in that car and driving it at 150 MPH around the track.

Sadly, there was nothing else to do but head home. I have to reschedule for the spring. NEXT TIME, this is going to happen, dammit.

All suited up and nowhere to go...

Lastly, in honor of fall, here is Yo La Tengo's "Autumn Sweater."

Side note: in 2000, when I was on a University of Michigan geology department field trip out West, my friend Erik passed his Discman (remember those?!) back to me and simply said, "Listen to track 12." I did, and that was the beginning of a beautiful musical friendship.


Jen Feeny said...

I always feel like our miles together fly by... and this weather lately has made running considerably more enjoyable!

B. Kramer said...

Bummer about the NASCAR rain-out. I'm starting to remember how I like running this time of year. The summer was killer. Enjoy the fall. Cheers!

ee said...

Was that really 2000? That makes me feel old...