Man, I love a 5-day weekend. Of course, no matter how long you’re off it’s never long enough, but I managed to fit a lot of fun into my Thanksgiving break.
Wednesday: Grocery store (not particularly fun), pie making, and backyard soccer (I lost, 10-6) with Jacob.
|I don’t usually think he looks like me, but I can see a definite resemblance in this picture.|
Thursday: The 5K Turkey Trot, which we already covered, and family football at my mother-in-law’s house.
|Our team: me, Jeff, my nephew, Daniel, and my niece|
Friday: While Jeff did some early Black Friday shopping, slipping in neatly between the midnight and midday crowds, I piggybacked on someone else’s group ride. Mickey and I started early because I wanted to be finished by noon, so we rode a short stretch of singletrack and then headed east on the Katy Trail. Wow, was it cold. I’d only ridden this section once, during Patrick’s Cycle 100+, on a very hot day. Friday, by contrast, was around 25 degrees when we started.
|Summer 2010 vs feels-like-winter 2013|
The low point of the Katy Trail is in this stretch, and the picture was a pretty funny contrast with my picture from the high point (taken during my second Katy Trail tour).
I hadn’t figured in the fact that he’d be riding 6 miles out of his way first, though, so I ended up beating him back to the parking lot by about 2 minutes (but hey, I was right that I could ride back on my own just fine and he got in a nice hour of riding fast). 47 miles of riding and a reminder that below freezing temps don’t have to keep you off the bike.
After getting back, I made another pie, this one for my mom’s Thanksgiving get-together on Saturday, then got ready for dinner. After being blog friends for what seems like forever, I finally got the chance to meet Kovas and Laima in person. Mike and I met them in St. Louis at Bailey’s Range and had a great time visiting with them and their lovely family.
Saturday: I hadn’t been thrilled that my mom planned Thanksgiving on Saturday because it conflicted with my orienteering plans, but she’s always understanding if our schedules don’t exactly mesh. I was planning on racing solo at the St. Louis Orienteering Club‘s 3-hour Turkey-O at Hawn Park. Navigation is a huge weak spot in my adventure racing arsenal, and while I have no desire to actually be the navigator I’d like to at least be able to give useful input.
|The next best thing to training with another blogger is training with a blog reader who understands my obsession with having pictures to put on the blog.|
We got our maps, marked them, and sat at a picnic table looking at them. Struggling to orient myself on the map I started to consider that maybe this wasn’t the race to do solo. Two years ago I did most of the navigation at the Meramec Turkey-O with Jeff and Jacob, but since Jeff is a surveyor and way better with maps, he can help me out when I get stuck. Despite my growing sense of navigational doom, I did enjoy getting to say hi to our Alpine Shop friends Jeff and David and my friends Scott and Melissa as well as visiting with the friendly people at our table (which was in high demand since it was in the sun). By the time the race started, I had decided I’d run the first couple of controls with Bob and Mickey and then go my own way after that.
|That fleece jacket got a lot of use this weekend!|
Hawn is a gorgeous park, and the weather was fantastic (high 40’s? Maybe the 50’s? Warm enough that as soon as we started I knew the jacket was a mistake), so we were in for a great day no matter what.
|Early in the race|
Mickey, whose sole map/compass navigation experience as far as I know consists of reading the book I loaned him last week, was a natural. So he rides faster than me, runs faster than me, and navigates better than me. Whatever…I can fold a map better. And give birth. I’m pretty sure I can at least stay ahead in one of those areas.
|CP1 (well, the first CP. I don’t think it was actually #1)|
I managed to drop my passport after the first control and figured that was my sign that it was time to strike out on my own after I went back and found it, but instead Mickey ran back for it. My motivation to go solo by this point was pretty negligible, so I decided I’d just stick with the guys for the rest of the day and practice my navigation some other time. Like…oh, maybe never.
We hit the first couple controls with no problem, and then we had to decide where to go next. Looking at the map, the next closest was #26, a 20-pointer. Bob mentioned that it looked like it would be tough, but I had this great plan of attack. Like basically every time I’ve been navigating, it didn’t go so well and we ended up wasting probably 45 minutes (or more) looking for the stupid control. In our defense, we weren’t the only ones who struggled with it, but man that was frustrating. And costly, since it ate up nearly a third of our time.
|Total fake run on my part|
We had some climbing up from the two last controls, but that left us with a lovely downhill run to the finish. Alpine Shop’s Jeff Sona flew past us as we ran down the trail and another guy was ahead of us too, but since we could see them on the trail we knew where it went and could cut straight downhill instead of following the switchbacks. This cut out a chunk of our running time and let me jump onto the trail ahead of Mickey (the only way I’ll ever pass him in a run) and was a full-on blast. We should definitely run more in our races.
All in all, even with the navigational hiccups, it was a great day. The guys got in some practice, and I got to look at a lot of pretty rocks and do some trail running. Everybody wins.
Sunday: After three straight days of early wake-up calls, I slept in til almost 9, and it felt wonderful. I’d offered to run with Nathan, who needs to be doing plenty of running in preparation for boot camp, but I missed his pre-work window. It’s too bad, because it was a gorgeous morning, temps in the 40’s, perfect for running. Instead, I went to the grocery store, made 2 cakes for Daniel’s 21st (?!?!) birthday, cooked brunch, and cleaned the house.
I did get my run in after the part, just a short 2 miles with Nathan, broken up by a stop at the park for some pull-ups (I managed two). It was actually a great run, getting to talk with him the whole time. With that boy, it’s either conversational feast or famine, so you just have to appreciate the times he’s talkative. I’m thankful for the time together, thankful for the great weekend, and trying hard to be thankful to have a job to go back to tomorrow. That is, I’m definitely thankful for the job…it’s the going back to work part where I’m struggling a little with the thankfulness.
How long til Christmas?