To say it was an eventful few weeks, would be an understatement. Weeks 8-11 of Dopey training were “seat of our pants” to say the least.
Sandy and I had taken a quick trip up to Lubbock to visit my step-son at Tech. That same week (Dopey Week 8/9), Texas got an unwanted visit from Harvey… a hurricane of historic proportions. Harvey not only wreaked havoc on the Texas coast and the Houston metro area, but he also brought major flooding and some wind damage to our home region of central Texas. Luckily our home was spared any major damage and was away from the worst of the flooding. Before the recovery had even begun in Texas, Florida was bombarded by Irma. More flooding, wind and storm surge damage was on tap for our friends in the Sunshine State.
I was born and raised in Houston and have many friends, family members and classmates there. I also have close friends and family in Florida. That said, it just didn’t feel right to blab about training, travel, and fun when so many people close to me were being affected by these disasters. Now that the storms have passed, and those we care about in the affected areas are safe and beginning the recovery process I felt better sharing some of what’s been going on in camp Fatman. Who knows, maybe someone will appreciate the diversion.
Dopey training on the road: What we learned.
First, training while traveling creates its own set of obstacles, but if you work it right those same obstacles can create memorable adventures. Finding safe running routes in cities you aren’t familiar with can be a bit tricky. We’ve found that with a spirit of adventure, and a little flexibility, training on the road can be awesome, and the change of scenery can be really stimulating on long run days. We make the most of apps/networks like MapMyRun, Runkeeper, and Strava when we are on the road. Runners are everywhere, and for the most part, we’ve found most locals more than willing to share their favorite routes with out-of-towners. TIP: We like to drive a new route before running it, especially in a city we are unfamiliar with. This is a good way to preview road conditions, obstacles (eg, construction, crowded areas, etc) and things like whether or not there are streetlights in case your run goes longer than expected. Previewing routes also allows us scout restroom facilities, drinking fountains and even places we can stash water if needed. We also get a glimpse of the neighborhoods we will be running though… sad but important. This strategy has helped us stay out of trouble, and I recommend it to anyone running in unfamiliar areas.
Since our travels took us to elevations of 2500-4000 ft (high for us flatlanders), we got to do some altitude training. Not so useful for Dopey, but will come in handy for our Rock ‘n’ Roll races in Las Vegas this November. With the elevation, and being further from the coast, we also got the blessing of cooler temperatures and much lower humidity than we are used to at home. We were in such a euphoric state that on our 11-mile run, we didn’t plan for sufficient hydration and both of us struggled after about 8-9 miles. Even when it’s cool outside, proper hydration is a must! Lesson learned.
Oh, and there are hills in Lubbock. I think we found all of them on our runs. Go figure!
We also subbed in some biking, hiking, and trail running on our visits to Caprock Canyon and Palo Duro Canyon State Parks (both awesome parks, and subjects of a future post). Speaking of alternative cardio workouts, Sandy and I had another first on this trip… stand up paddle boarding! Yep SUP in Lubbock of all places. Believe me, you will hear more about this adventure as well. Stay tuned!
So that’s a wrap for this belated Dopey update. Hope everyone is doing well with their training, and that those in the areas affected by Harvey and Irma are safe and beginning the recovery process.
Stay STRONG, my friends!