19 September 2011

Cause and Effect?

Saturday I woke up staring down the barrel of a 9-mile run. Back around June, I had signed up for a half marathon taking place next month. (Back around June, I had expected the summer to be more pleasant, more conducive to running, and back around June I expected to be in much better running form by now.) Over the last few weeks, I've tried to ratchet up my long runs (by which I mean, do some long runs), although I reserve the right to skip the half marathon if it's still unseasonably warm on race day.

So I woke up, are some breakfast, put on my running gear, and did some Olympic-caliber...procrastinating. I haven't run 9 miles since the marathon (and we know how well that went -- specifically, not well), and the prospect was not thrilling. But it was mostly overcast, which would surely make it more pleasant. Or at least less unpleasant.

But it was mostly overcast, which also made it a good time to take a few more pictures to augment my black and white construction/house picture collection-in-progress. So, before hitting the road, I dragged the ladder out of the garage, set it up in various spots around the house, and snapped some close-ups from architecturally interesting angles.

A favorite from the day:

But back to the task at hand: time to run.

But while I had the ladder out, shouldn't I go ahead and clean the gutters? Yes. When faced with the prospect of running for an hour and a half, cleaning the gutters of the leaves that recent winds have blown down into them suddenly seemed terribly important. So that's what I did.

And a good thing, too -- not five hours later, we had our first rain since the first day of summer. (Yes, since June 21. Nearly three loooong months ago. And with highs over 100 almost every single one of those days, it's been a rough summer.) Although it didn't amount to enough to make much of a dent in our drought, there was enough to get a first glimpse of our rain chains in action:

The water fell mostly from the diverter because there wasn't quite enough to send it down the center of the chain. In a heavier rain, the chain will do more of the work (like the house we saw on the Cool House Tour back in June).

Do I think it rained
because I cleaned the gutters? Probably not. (It was almost certainly thanks to the good people who washed their cars on Friday.) But I am glad I took the time to clean them before my run...which -- sure enough -- was three miles of slow followed by six miles of torture. It was about 85 by the time I finished, which I didn't expect would feel so toasty (given the 105-degree temperatures I've run in a handful of times this summer). And that's how I decided that if it's projected to be over 80 at the time of the race, I ain't doin' it. (Maybe the gutters will need cleaning again that day?)

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