Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

How the training is going…..

For the last four Sundays I have been steadily building my long run miles…. 14, 16, 18, and then 20 miles.  After each run, Marie and I hiked through a local park further adding hills, miles and time on my feet.  Some have gone good and some have gone bad.  Last night when I was preparing for today’s run I was really looking forward to it.  I was in the zone and I was ready.  Yesterday we had a great first GTS with our new TNT Gwinnett Winter Team.  We had a great showing and learned about several of participants current and past battles against cancer.  It was very inspirational.  What should have been a great run today (based on how I felt yesterday) turned into a slog fest almost from the first step.   Was it a lack of sleep from a long work week catching up with me or a result of getting up at around 4 AM the last few days?  Was it the heat and humidity?  Did I do a poor job fueling and hydrating??  I really do not know what the issue was.  I followed the same basic routine I normally do.  All I know is that I struggled the entire way despite having almost half of the run finished by the time the sun came up.  My right leg felt tight the entire run affecting my form and eventually causing pain in my shoulder and neck.  I did start to feel better at around the 18 mile mark but by then the damage was done.  I had slowed tremendously, I was baked, and I was sweating like pig.  Today was one of those days where I had the mental focus to get through the run but struggled physically.   I was absolutely thrilled when I finished the run portion and met the Sweet Rie for our hike.

Being the Sweet Rie, she brought me a coffee smoothie laced with bananas, milk, and a meal replacement drink.  It was really good and did help me feel better.   I changed shoes and we started the hike.  We have been hiking at Tribble Mill Park which has a great trail system running throughout park.  The trails undulate pretty good proving a nice challenge and a good workout.   While I was experiencing a terrible day of exercise, Marie was having a great day.  She led the entire way only to look back once in a while to scoff at me and throw insults in my direction…. Trail looser….  Ultra wimp, etc.  I deserved it.  OK… she did not really say that but I saw it in her eyes….  She literally hiked me into the ground.  

It was not a pretty day but I did get the last long run I had scheduled prior to the Pikes Peak Marathon finished.  Thank goodness.  Overall the training has gone pretty good and I feel fortunate I did not have too many bad days to deal with since I started the major mileage build-up.  

Over the last three weeks I have run and hiked 18 times totaling 169 miles with the highest mileage week being 60 miles.  All but two of the runs have been outside during a period of high heat and humidity…. Hopefully that is helping my overall conditioning.  I have run with my Team-in-Training (TNT) teammates several times including the first group training session (GTS) with the Gwinnett Winter Team.  The most interesting run occurred three Sundays ago when I started a run from our house with the intent of running to Tribble Mill Park where I would meet the Sweet Rie for a hike.  I had run to the park before but it has been several years.  To make a long story short, I was off on the route to the park and finally gave up at the 16 mile mark and called Rie to come and get me.  Luckily I was paying attention to the road names and I was able to direct her to where I was.  I was not even close to the park.  I think if I would have continued down the road I was on I would have eventually gotten to Athens, GA….

In running like life, we have good days and bad days.  Some days are ego boosting and others are ego busting.  The one thing I have learned over 25 years of running and 135 marathons is that you never know how the run, the day, or fate will play out.  We plan and train to control the variables we can and minimize those we cannot with the hope that fate will play in our favor when it counts.  If only fighting or finding a cure for blood cancer was that easy…. Unfortunately it is not.  That is why I am running and fundraising to help find a cure.  Please consider helping in the fight to end blood cancer by making a donation or a pledge at my website (see the link at the top right hand corner of this page) to help or to learn more about the Lake Tahoe Super Triple fundraising effort.

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