When I got my answer from Darren about whether he thought I should be a pacer for one of those brave and hardy souls who run the Leadville Trail 100, it was what I expected. Here it is verbatim:
...definitely a no on the seconding this year...running that slow pace will not be good for your back and hamstrings. Unfortunately, we need to be somewhat selfish and focus on Terzah and getting you healthy and ready for your upcoming races.
So there you have it! I was sure enough of the answer that I actually said "No" the day I wrote the original blog post.
There's plenty of adventure to be had around here without Leadville. Tomorrow is my next physical therapy appointment, the one where I'll find out whether or not I'm headed for a shot in the back. I think I am. It's been more than four months since I started with PT, dry needling and massage, and while my core is noticeably (if not visibly) stronger, back pain is still a constant in my life. A shot can do a lot to calm inflammation that isn't responding to exercise, ice or courses of ibuprofen, all of which I've tried.
I've heard stories from people who've had shots, only to find the relief from them was temporary. I'm hoping that by continuing to be diligent about my core, I'll be in the camp of folks who are effectively cured by the shot. We'll see. I'm not nervous about the shot itself. I know it will hurt afterwards, maybe a lot, but I had a spinal when I had my C-section, so I know I can handle the actual needle part of it. And a few days of pain will be worth it to run and sleep pain-free.
I've had plenty of adventure on non-running fronts as well lately.
On an unhappy note: This morning, while on my way to the gym at 5:30 a.m., I was driving about two blocks from my house when I saw one of the beautiful little bungalows that characterize my neighborhood engulfed in flames. Both the front and back doors were alight. I stopped the car, grabbed my phone to call the fire department and headed toward the house, planning to knock on windows in case the occupants were in there asleep. Fortunately, their next door neighbors had beaten me to it. I watched as they lifted the family (a dad, mom and a 2-year-old) out of a first-floor window. They had already called the firemen. With nothing more for me to do, and my car in the way, I continued on to the gym to do my workout. It took me a good 15 minutes, though, to be calm enough to concentrate on the intervals I was supposed to be knocking out on the recumbent bike.
Later, I read that the police suspect arson. I'm no detective, but I had wondered too. It was just too weird that both the front and back doors would be on fire, but not the parts of the house in between. Scary. It brought to mind every weird person I've ever seen wandering my neighborhood, including one guy I saw around the same time of morning on my street two weeks ago when I was leaving for a run. He was walking slowly, staring at houses, and jumped when he heard my front door open (I have to drive to my runs for now, so I wasn't worried about him from my own personal safety point of view). I saw him again 45 minutes later when I was on my way back from the run, still wandering around the neighborhood. I know that person and this morning's fire are probably unrelated, but that's what witnessing something like that will do to your mind.
Shudder. I'm just glad they got the family out.
On a happier note: Over the weekend we took our kids camping with four other families from their preschool. It was an absolute blast (though my back does NOT like sleeping on the ground). If you're wondering how best to make little kids fall in love with sleeping outdoors, I recommend doing it with plenty of friends around for them to play with. We got home yesterday grubby, exhausted...and totally refreshed by our time out there. Even trips to the bathroom while camping can be magical. Ruthie, my daughter, saw a shooting star on one such trip, and I saw the Milky Way for the first time since our last camping trip last fall.
We have another trip coming up where we won't be camping (the cabin we've rented has comfy beds and a kitchen), but it will be rustic in the sense that "the facilities" are an outhouse and we have to hike to a main lodge to shower. Not sure how I'll get my workouts in during that time, but I do expect it to be fun!
Finally, after much discussion, Dan and I decided to go ahead and send the twins alone on a plane to visit my mom. They leave this Saturday. Tipping the scales in favor of this were 1) I can't take off work for long, but I can take enough time off to fly out at the end of their stay for a couple of days and then fly back with them, and they'll get a much longer visit with their grandparents than they would if they had to wait for me to be able to come for the whole thing, 2) it's only a one-hour flight and the airline (Southwest) takes good care of kids traveling alone and 3) Dan and I are excited about having some alone time together, even though we both have to work. What's good for our marriage is good for our kids.
This also fits in philosophically with my own desire that my kids learn, from an early age, that there are many things they CAN do on their own, that (when equipped with the right tools, such as, in this case, memorized cell phone numbers and good manners) they needn't be afraid in the world and that independence from Mommy and Daddy in age appropriate ways is a good thing. There are a lot of scary stories out there, but I firmly believe that these are magnified by the prevalence of the media in our lives and that the world my kids live in is much safer than even the (still safe) one I grew up in. I was allowed to walk home from the school bus stop alone from the early elementary grades. Ditto for going to the park or getting myself on my bike to a friend's house. I do not believe that very many people at all in the world I live in would ever harm my children, and I do believe that many would go out of their way to help them.
I know everyone has their own opinions and that everyone's kids' thresholds for this kind of thing are different. But if you're interested in learning more about "free range parenting," check out this blog. I read it regularly.