May 17, 2016

Desert Thoughts

The desert scenery dares you not to be thoughtful.
One of my childhood best friends, R, invited me, E, another childhood best friend K, and her husband D, plus another good friend of R, B to go hang out in the desert to celebrate R's 40th Birthday.  I'd never been to Joshua Tree and R correctly predicted that I would love it.  The quality of the desert light is hard to explain, but it's harsh and yet clear and bright in a manner I couldn't help but feel awed by.  And the sounds -- so mild and subtle -- scratchy footsteps on sand, quiet wind, still quiet between them, all in a volume my sensitive ears just loved.

Getting there was a bit of a fiasco and we almost missed our flight but thankfully all flights to Palm Springs were delayed by at least 50 minutes, so we arrived to the 100F heat before they shut the airport down for the day.

Joshu Trees in Joshua Tree National Park
It was so nice to enjoy the desert scenery and solitude (no cell service!), multiple meals and late nights of too much indulgence.  Truly, I felt so very lucky to spend time with friends I've had for close to 3 decades.
The beautiful cholla cactus.
We are firmly in middle age at this point -- each of us women within spitting distance of the exact half-way point of the 81-year average US female life expectancy.  And yet, many of our best moments are full of childish comedy and laughter.  We've known each other for so long that we can ask after each other's family -- in fact, they reminded me that I hadn't caught up with my sister in a long time, so I made sure to do that yesterday.
Cholla, as far as the eye can see.
I'd packed clothes to run over the weekend, but didn't.  Not at all.  The heat was certainly a factor, and the day we spent in the national park we did little more than walk a mile and half in the direct sun.  On Friday, I'd hoped to fit in 10 miles before we flew out, but as I mentioned, the day did not go well and our departure was a catastrophe (mis-packing, misidentified departure airports, and Lyft/Uber/Cab ridiculousness to name a few problems).

Essentially, for the weekend, I just overate and overindulged on a few other consumption axes while enjoying time with friends.  I woke early each morning and read in the garden wind, listening to the chimes while waiting for others to wake -- it felt so decadent, calming, and correct. 

However, I did sign up for the See Jane Run Half Marathon before we left, so I do have some shuffling to do to ensure I can finish comfortably.  Last week's running started well, with a slow easy 10 miler on Monday, and a 4 mile walk with a friend on Tuesday.  Wednesday, I did a very solid track ladder of 100, 200, 400, 600, 800, 600, 400, 200, 100 where I actually hit some paces in the 6 min/mile pace, which hasn't happened in a long time and has *never* happened at this weight.  There was another 4 mile walk Wednesday afternoon (I was *sore* from those intervals), and 3 easy slow miles on Thursday with several hours of gardening.  Friday AM, I had to finish the water situation in the garden before we left or all of my work would just die in our absence, and then the weekend was a write-off, mileage-wise.

Monday of this week after a lazy weekend of desert heat and friends, much like Monday of last week after a lazy weekend of rain and family time, I got back on the horse, and fit in a slow easy 10 miler to try to ensure I get in at least one long run each week before the half marathon.  I'm hopeful I can stick to a more reasonable running schedule this week, but we've got family to visit and a wedding next weekend, so if I find myself trading quality emotional time for running yet again, perhaps I'll just slate next Monday for my long run, yet again.


Jen said...

Sounds like a wonderful time in the desert with your friends! Good luck at SJR. We'll miss you at Danville.

bt said...

@jen -- I am sad to miss you all in Danville. I hope to run with y'all somewhere before I leave...

Jen said...

We should definitely get together before you go. Not sure when you're leaving town, but I'm probably going to run Brazen's Summer Breeze (half) on 8/3.