18 December 2008

Non-uneventful week

A group of us that run dedicated, local, or regional always reply that we had an uneventful week whenever asked how things have gone. Kind of a silly little joke and most people that know us by now tend to ask if our week was uneventful. With us if we've had an exciting week it means something went wrong, usually very wrong, lol, so we all prefer things to be more routine and boring. This week, Monday evening into Tuesday morning was a little too non-uneventful to suit me.

Everything started out great, had a kick-ass 5 mile run at Pulaski Monday morning--it was warm enough to wear a short sleeve tee and shorts and be comfortable, loved it. Made it up a little further on the water tower hill than the previous attempt so was pleased with that. Got unloaded and reloaded early enough to make it to the Clarksdale, MS with 10 minutes to spare on the appointment time. But it was just after leaving the dock at Pulaski that I got the call from James with news that causes trepidation in any sane truck-driver. No, not "The buffet closes in 10 minutes" or "DOT's on the ground checking logs." Nope, got informed that there was freezing rain and fog in Arkansas. Now, overall I like the state I live in but they are notorious for not dealing with ice storms very well (understatement!). Monday night was no exception.

I don't like driving in icy conditions but I've done it enough to know that I'll be ok as long as I keep it slow, steady, and as far away from other motorists as possible. My main concern was not getting stuck behind someone that spun out on a hill. There was less than 8000 pounds in the trailer and I have an automatic, not a good combination for trying to get going up an icy hill. Oh, and I had forgotten my handy, dandy container of kitty litter sitting on the bbq grill on the carport at home (non-clumping kitty litter can be a life and sanity saver in the winter).

The icy stuff didn't start until just east of Little Rock and it wasn't terrible but there were still several four-wheelers that had hit the black ice on the bridges and slid off the road. While I was fueling up at the Pilot in NLR I had some guy come up to me and ask was I really going to drive in that weather. Not sure if it was because of the company I'm employed by and he thought I was an inexperienced driver or because I'm a woman or a combination of the 2. Whatever, it was funny and slightly insulting all at the same time. Oh, he'd made some other inane joke about not hitting him with the hammer that I was using to bump the tires with--that was before the other comment, otherwise I might have been tempted to tap him on the noggin, ha-ha.

440 was slick, it's basically one long overpass anyway between I-40 and I-30. But again, slow, steady, keep your distance. The fun really started once I merged onto 30, there were cars and trucks everywhere--in the median, against the guardrail, in the ditch and not a sand truck to be seen. This went on for about 10 miles and then everything kind of mellowed out for a while but I did start to see a lot of truck-drivers following way too close. They were going slow, but still if the person in front of you starts to slide and you're that close there's nowhere to go. I want as much space between me and other motorists as possible when it's like that (my husband taught me well!). It always amazes me when truckdrivers that are bumper-to-bumper like that yell at people who move over to pass them that the person passing is going to wreck when it's usually the other way around. How do they think multi-vehicle pileups happen? It's nearly always from following too close.

Even though there were a lot of spin-outs traffic was still moving ok on the west-bound side (east-bound was a different story, bad truck wreck at the 114 mm) until we got to the 91 mile marker. A truck had spun out trying to go up the hill--not sure what side it initially happened on, but it basically had a domino effect--both directions ended up stopping. When everything came to a standstill I was in the hammer lane so just eased my steer tires over onto the rumble strips so I would have something to give me traction in case I had trouble getting started again. Ended up sitting for almost 2 hours until the cops, sand trucks, and fire engines could get out there and get things moving again. I'd planned on taking my sleep break in Texas but only made it to Gurdon with 15 minutes to spare on my 14. No way was I going to push it on my log with all that happening. Woke up Tuesday morning to more of the same until just east of Texarkana. Evidently Dallas was a mess but I have a shortcut that knocks 15 miles off and I don't have to deal with DFW traffic so was able to miss all that.

Blech, I hate winter driving especially in states that may only have 2-3 bad storms a season. My neck and shoulders are still achy from where I was so tense driving. You don't realize how much you tighten up until the day's over with.

Had to wait until this morning for my trailer at Laredo so didn't get the 5 mile tempo run done that was scheduled. Substituted hill repeats instead, 1.5 mile warmup, .5 mile cooldown, 5 repeats up the little hill, 1 big hill repeat for the remainder with a total of 3.25 miles. Wasn't what was planned but a hard workout nonetheless. I haven't found a suitable (read safe) place to run at in Laredo for anything over 3-4 miles. Because of the area I usually get up just after sunrise and get my run done before everybody starts showing up to work in the industrial park where our yard is.

Heavy fog tonight so I just shut down early, don't have to be home early for anything so no need to push it. Drive safe!

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