It’s gotten cool here. Now, don’t you laugh, because if somebody told me a couple of months before I’d say it when it is mid-90’s outside, I would smack them silly. But after almost 4 weeks at 105F daily, 10 degrees difference is all it takes to fell better. Not to mention that my road runs put some spin in my feet and I am actually capable of running again. It’s been a long time...
Last week I squeezed another 70+ miles week, culminating with a 30M long run. Done all by myself, all alone. Basically, all my runs but once a week, when Larry joins me on his easy day, are solo, and I like it this way. I had always been a solo runner. Don’t take me wrong, I love the company – and mostly I love the community. But I work much better when I am by myself, no distractions, no talking, no excuses. These two (running alone and running with a friend) are different beats for me. If I want to train – I need to listen to my body. And I think I perfected it quite well.
I always claimed I am a slow starter. And if and when I don’t predict how my run is going to be, how fast I’ll go and all that other number stuff, I almost always end up having a great second half of the run, no mater how long. So the only thing I tell myself is that right now I am going for 6, or 12, or 30 miles – and stick with it no matter what.
I also perfected even splits. May be exactly because I don’t shoot out (what I simply can’t even if I try). My 30 miler last Saturday in Bastrop and my today’s 30 miler right next to our place trail loop proves it best. Bastrop gave me 4 loops at 7.5M each. My times were 1:40, 1:30, 1:30 and 1:40. Bear in mind, first loop is always in the dark, and last one when the sun is beating down like crazy (I also fell, finally, on that loop). The “local loop” is 5M and I needed 6 of them to fulfill my plan. 61, 59, 59, 58, 58, 60. How is that for pacing?! Each run I consumed 9 bottles of water (regular size), 1 NUUN and 10 gels. I know, I know, it is probably not enough, but there is a reason to it – as well as suddenly describing my training in such details I used to hate doing. I’d like to talk how we as runners tend to overestimate our needs for the run. Calories, gels, water... may be there is something behind the fact I run well (usually, Hardrock excluded) in the second half of the race. I kind of stop eating. Most of us are. Nothing looks appealing, gels provoke a gag reflex, drinking gets annoying...you know the drill. And the salt overuse...About 2 years ago I started an experiment. Yes, it began as I was cheap (dirt poor) and lazy (both to buy stuff and to carry it), but I was taking bare minimum for my long runs and forgoing salt tablets all together. In fact, I ran Bighorn 100 a year ago on 5 S! cups total. For almost 27 hrs. At close to 90F both days. And I felt great – no cramps, no major stomach issues, nada. I think it’s because I trained my body to it. I was talking to Joe P. at Hardrock and a few “old grizzlies” who ran when all this stuff was non-existent. Body is a beautiful mechanism, I know, I got my degree in Medical School. It adjusts. To just about anything. If we load it with salt, it gets used to release all the excess to demand more. Ever heard the story how Kami Semick trained for WS100 in 2007 (I believe) by running with little to no water? To adjust to dehydration with less sweating as a coping mechanism. Mountaineers do the same, since it is often difficult to carry enough water to finish the whole climb. Kami used to be a fantastic mountaineer. Does it make you think? I was afraid that Texas heat will get to me and salty crust all over my body will tell me I need to take salt. Well, I don’t. In fact, I only used NUUN because I had Caffeine Flavor and it helped me on the those last loops both times to keep my pace. I really didn’t feel the need for it – no do I think it kicked in on that last loop anyway.
Anyhow, just a throw-away thoughts. Take them for what they are worth. Road running first few weeks helped me with incline and flat running, I am not as petrified of strewen rocks varios sizes on trails, and I am getting my fluidity back for the downhill. I got another new thing going – I eliminated shirts for the runs (I almost said "topless", but I don't think it would fly even in Austin). The body cools much better when the air “touches” it on contact, and the sweaty crappy feeling of adhering tank top doesn’t bother me anymore. Buddha belly or not:) And because I finally moved my runs to a daylight (remember, it’s basically cold here, in TX?), and on trails (!) I am getting sun tan too! Finally, otherwise it was weird to live in hot climate and go pale after my great summer.
I guess I am done sharing on this part. In other life’s corners all’s well. Kids are happy, Larry and I are too. Last Saturday night was the last race in 60k local series. Larry ran without a watch (I think for the first time in a race) and claims it felt great. Finished 3rd in great style. I helped out, drunk beer and chatted with friends, even danced. Kids had an awesome time! Neither one was bored this time, they played a lot, then had a night picnic, then offered runners words of encouragement and muffins in-between the aid stations. It was fun, too bad it’s over.
Hood 100 is full speed. With AC100 cancellation due to wild fires (scary thoughts, prayers to CA residents) we are getting loads of new runners – and even more emails with questions. Overwhelming, but in 3 weeks it will come to a final show-down. I can’t wait to be there! Hugs are guaranteed:)
There are more things in progress, but I’ll stick with my weird training post, and promise I won’t do it often. I am just getting excited to be able to train properly again and be more or less prepared for the beast of Cactus Rose 100 on Halloween, a mostly self-supported run directed by my favorite RD Joe P. You think I can walk it in 30 hrs? :)