I guess I spoke to soon when I claimed last time that the exorbitant amount of rain we've received wasn't causing any major problems. Last Tuesday, creeks and rivers starting leaving their banks. Our house wasn't affected....it sits just outside the designated floodplain (the boundary of which is the street in front of our house), but there was a ton of water where it shouldn't be in Belle Fourche last week. Getting from the north end of town to the south end was like running an obstacle course, trying to figure out which roads to detour on in order to avoid roads closed by flooding. It became enough of an issue that they canceled the last day (half-day, actually) of school on Wednesday. This meant that we could began our mini-vacation a little bit earlier; instead of leaving for my grandma's place in west central Minnesota at lunchtime on Wednesday, we left bright and early Wednesday morning.
I've been to grandma's house once before, 4 years ago, but didn't do any running when I was there back then. That year, we made a stop in Fargo on the way and I ran a PR (at the time) at the Fargo Marathon before continuing on to grandma's. The day after the marathon, I caught the flu bug that my son had been battling all week and spent most of the time there feeling generally shitty. This time, no illness, but my daughter developed a severe rash on the way there. My first thought was that she was allergic to driving across North Dakota, which is totally understandable, but a visit to the doctor in Alexandria, MN revealed a delayed reaction to anti-biotics she had just finished taking for bronchitis. Apparently, we are cursed when it comes to Minnesota trips....wonder who will get what next time we go??
In any case, I did get some running in while I was there this time. I had expected to endure miles of total flatness along section line roads, but the area ended up being hillier than I remember (but, like I said, I didn't run the last time I was there and you don't truly notice hills until you run them). No major hills and no trails to speak of, but a lot of rollers that at least broke up the monotony somewhat. I fully intended to get in a long run of 20 while I was there, but a night of drinking Grain Belts with my dad and cousin followed by an early morning of walleye fishing kind of put the kaibash on those plans. So, I guess I started taper for Bighorn a little early. Well, not really because I plan on getting in some decent miles and a decent long run this week before really starting to taper next week. Really, I don't know what the hell I'm doing....just flying by the seat of my pants here.
Speaking of Bighorn, looks like a good possibility that we'll be on an alternate course this year. They've still got some pretty incredible snowpack up at Porcupine, the start line for the 50 and turnaround for the 100. I may have to go back again next year to get true vengeance on the route that I DNFed last year.