It was too hot for army guys this past weekend in Arizona. My red, white, and blue gummy army guys that I found at Sunflower Market, they melted into a blob! I guess I'll add gummy worms to the things that need to be kept in the cooler during Badwater.
It was also too hot for snakes this weekend. I watched one big red racer crawl out onto the asphalt from underneath the shade of a mesquite tree, and it slithered out into the tree's shadow, but when it reached the sunny asphalt, I saw it jump up off the asphalt a couple of times then it quickly disappeared back under the tree. I've never seen a snake jump before.
But it wasn't too hot for me. It was a cool 102 or 103, depending on who you talk to, accu-weather or weather.com. It was perfect for an easy weekend of running. I went back to McDowell Mountain Park to do 16 miles Friday afternoon, then 34 miles on Saturday, when I was joined by Chris Harrison for several hours. Chris showed up around 12:30, when it was starting to warm up, and he went with me until my last out & back.
The ice didn't melt too fast, which was nice, I was able to do some 5 to 6 mile out & backs, avoiding having to go back to the car too many times to refill my bottles. Woofie stopped by to chat for a few minutes while I was out there, I saw his car in the parking lot and left a note on his windshield while he was out riding his bike.
I drove down again, planning to do a couple of good runs and spend Father's Day with my dad. Driving this time it was the trip from hell on the way down. Raton Pass was closed due to a fire on the New Mexico side, with flames all the way up to the interstate. So I took the detour on 285, which is the route we always used to take from Arizona to our cabin, but this time 285 was under construction, there was no shoulder and there were multiple traffic stops along the way where you had to wait for a long line of cars to go by in the other direction.
It took 8 1/2 hours to get to Albuquerque. When I finally got to a gas station in Espanola and tried to use the bathroom to pee, someone had puked all over the bathroom, plus I got a big star and crack in my windshield from the gravel on the road, and it was generally not a fun day. I did see the trains in Antonito as I drove by. It's been a while since I've been that way, and it's always a pretty drive.
In Arizona as I drove down the Beeline Highway from Payson there were a lot of century plants blooming. They are always so bright gold, I had to stop at Mt.Ord and take a picture.
I spent Father's Day with my dad and stepmom, we spent the morning looking at old family pictures. One of my dad's cousins found an envelope full of old, original photographs from the 1940s, of my great-grandparents, my grandparents and my dad's uncles, and my dad. They were in unbelievably good condition.
My great-grandparents emigrated from Russia and came through Ellis Island, around 1915. I never knew my great-grandfather, he died before I was born, but I knew my great-grandmother, Celia Nitzky, she lived to be about 96. She had a thick Russian accent and called me "Haaalene". I only have one memory of my grandfather, he died of leukemia when I was 2, but I remember him lying on the couch and my grandmother telling me not to disturb him. I remember my dad's uncles well, they are both gone now, but I remember knowing them as a kid in Pennsylvania.
There were also boxes of pictures from my childhood and old photo albums from family events all the way back into the 1950s and my dad remembered everyone, he was telling me all the stories. He is going to get those photographs framed with archival materials so they will stay in good condition and eventually I will have those photographs, that I hope I can pass on to my nieces and nephews.
I can hardly believe it's taper time. I'll have to watch out for the taper worms, and I still have so much packing and organizing to do. Every day will be full, between going to the sauna, getting my stuff together, and all the preparations for the trip. The sauna has been 175 degrees, and I'm spending an hour a day in it, and I know it's working.
I was talking with Steph, my crew chief, about everything tonight, we had one of our weekly Badwater planning phone calls, and I told her it feels strange, I have my mind wrapped around the race, and the fact that I'll be turning around and going back, but I feel like I should be a little freaked out about this, since I've never done this distance before. But I'm not.
I feel very calm and accepting of it, and I'm looking forward to the long days on the road, without the hype of the race, taking it slowly, enjoying the miles, scenery, my thoughts, and the company of Steph, Ed, and Felix who will be with me on the return trip.
I'm ready. Less than 3 weeks!