One of the things I admire about my wife is that she rapidly adapts. When Plan A goes in the toilet, she doesn’t hesitate. “Plan B,” she says and she moves on. Immediately. No whining or lamenting over the loss of Plan A. I like to weep over the grave of Plan A, sometime for months. She shakes her head and leaves me behind.
Remember my childish January optimism? Well, another of my yearly goals went down the crapper:
2) Run Grandma’s Marathon in PR. That means beating 3:36:28. If I can’t run Grandma’s due to schedule problem, I’ll try to PR at Whistle Stop or some other local marathon.
I haven’t done a run over ten miles long yet this year and the race is three weeks away. I didn’t make the training happen while out of town relearning how to scare passengers. Discretion is the better part of valor. I’m not going to run it. Only the second time I won’t run Grandma’s when I’ve been present in Duluth. I missed one for Iraq and another time for being morbidly obese.
So, I was crying into my beer over this loss while in Houston retraining at my post-Air Force job. JK Smith, the guy I was doing my six weeks of 737 simulators with, said, “Why don’t you run on these trails you’re always talking about and write about it?” For once in my life, I went to Plan B right away.
Synapses start firing. Run local trails. Run the Superior Hiking Trail. Run all of the Superior Hiking Trail. (Not all at once, although an internet search shows that people have done it straight through in one shot.) Dedicate the mileage to charity.
So, without admitting it to myself, I took the dog to the west terminus of the Superior Hiking Trail in Jay Cooke State Park. We went out and back on the section west of Fond du Lac. It was great. Trillium. Eskers. Skeeters. Bluebird skies. High 50’s temp. Vaire vaire nice. Seven miles took two hours, but I stopped and took pictures. Oh, and there are some hills.
This morning (the next day) I applied to a charity to create my “event.” We’ll see if my idea gets approved. If so, I’ll keep you informed about my progress up the North Shore. And pester you to give money to the charity. I’d like to run the whole thing. It’s 296 miles long. I don’t care what you say, I’m going to round that up to 300. I’d like to finish linking the sections together by the end of October. Should be fun. I do love trail running. Getting lots of birds with one stone. Charity fundraising. Writing fodder. Meeting the goal of making Shmo smaller. (I nearly reached Maximum Shmo in weight this winter.)
Sometimes curveballs happen. The road to the Grand Portage trailhead was closed, adding more running miles to my day. The spur trail down to Fond du Lac was closed from 2012 flood damage, adding more running miles to my day. But when I saw all the fallen trees blocking my path, I just imitated my wife and said, “Plan B” and started running the other way.
I’m still sad I’m not running Grandma’s. But I take all my life advice from Oprah. And she says, “You can have it all. Just not all at once.” Oprah, from whom all blessings flow.