1. Yes, yes, the very exciting news was that we removed the puppy gates. We have crate-trained both of our dogs, so most of the time while we are not here, Molly is crated, but when we're home, they are now allowed to go everywhere! Terrifying.
2. I keep forgetting that I'm running the Philadelphia Half Marathon this weekend. It is the lone survivor of my race schedule massacre, and I'm really looking forward to it. That said, I'm using it as a training run so I'm not setting a time goal. I'll be practicing the walk/run schedule I plan to use at Poconos to stay out of the death marching pain cave. I'm not expecting to PR because I have to keep it on the easy side, but I'm also not counting it out completely. Most of CAR is heading up to run this race as well, and I'm excited to spend some time with my teammates, especially cheering for them as they fade away into the distance. Hopefully they will hang around for an hour or so at the finish line to wave as I chug in.
3. That said, I've been fretting over Poconos for the past few weeks. There has been a lot of negative chatter all summer about this race. Until June, there was no official bike course. Once the bike course was posted, several local cyclists went out to ride the course and were surprised to discover that the vast majority of the course was on roads that needed repair to the point of being dangerous to ride. One road in particular is not even paved, but is instead a gravel road that requires walking your bike. The race organizers have been quiet except to pipe up every once in a while and promise that the roads will be re-paved by race day, but we're now two weeks out and updates from riders that were on the course last weekend report that the roads continue to be very unsafe. I've been trying to ignore all of this chatter and have faith that it would all be done by race day, but every day that goes by provides more unsatisfactory reports of the course. On top of all that, with all the rain that the area has had over the past two weeks, the swim course is currently closed due to extremely high water levels, high speed of the water, and debris in the river. According to pictures posted from last weekend, the dock and parking lot are completely under water. And several other roads on the bike course have been damaged and are currently closed from the recent hurricanes/tropical storms.
I emailed the race director late last week, and again yesterday to ask about contingency plans based on the current conditions of the swim and bike course, and have currently received no response. The reason I chose this race was because it's fairly close to my parents, and I had planned on spending several weekends up there riding and running the course. I don't always have the chance to train on the course I am planning on racing, but in this case I did - or I should have. I'm pretty disappointed to have missed that opportunity due to poor planning on the race organizers - this is the first year for this event, and I know the area well enough to know that there are a lot of options as far as bike course is concerned, and to choose a course that needs this much repair in such a short amount of time, I think, was foolish. But now I'm more concerned about safety on race day. I've been training my ass off the past two months, and if the swim is canceled and/or the bike course is re-routed into a 4-mile loop that we ride 14 times, I'm going to feel like it's all gone to waste. And if I spend the entire bike course clamped down on my brakes because of the unsafe conditions of the road, I'm definitely going to be pretty pissed that I spent all the time out at Skyline for nothing. I don't blame the race organizers for what the weather has done to the course, but I'm disappointed to have received no response to my inquiry.
My coach has already picked out a back-up 70.3 in case portions of or the entire race is canceled on race day, but having that un-certainity in my training plan is making me nuts. So these are my questions. Do I still do the race? Do I pull out now and just eat the registration ($225 is worth keeping my collarbones intact)? Do I bag it on race day if they cancel the swim and do my backup race the next weekend? What would you do?