This past weekend was brutally hot, especially for this time of year. It's way too early for the temperature to be in the upper 80's. The high for this coming Saturday is only going to be in the mid 60's so there is hope for reasonable weather come the 16th. I think we all long for "perfect" running weather for race days, but this year's Boston and two years ago at the Chicago Marathon prove we cannot always (can we ever?) count on "perfect" weather. Ah, what would life be if we didn't have something to fret about???
Last week I was running repeats on Ellis Ridge Road. I was descending the back side and saw a runner approaching on the uphill. I knew immediately who it was. Casseday and I soon met up and he asked me where I was going. He then turned and ran down to the bottom and then turned and started up with me. I know I was really slowing him down, but Adam is such an incredibly nice guy, he acted like it was nothing. If nothing else, it forced me to run a somewhat faster pace than I normally do. We chatted (which I personally found amazing, given I was able to talk at all on the upgrade) on the climb back up, and shared stories. Adam clearly has some stories. I kept telling him to go ahead without me, but he would say in another 3/10 of a mile or so. I'm sure he felt like he had to drive a stake in the ground to prove he was moving at all. Finally my slow pace got the better of him. He said he needed to move on so he could get home in time for dinner, or some lame excuse like that. I mean to tell you, he turned on the jets and was gone. What an impressive runner!
Saturday proved to be as hot as predicted. I hit my Forest Service Road at 0730 with a temperature of 61. I got a new GPS watch for my birthday ( a couple of months early ) and was anxious to see how it performed. I had marked splits using the odometer on my car. After 4 miles, my GPS was 0.3 miles ahead of my odometer readings. Then it seemed to hold steady through the rest of the splits. My 13 mile turnaround showed as 13.3xx. The rest of the run, I didn't pay too much attention to the GPS mileage until I glanced at my time and at 18.5 had a message that there was no satellite. I never did re-acquire the satellite, but finished my mini-marathon feeling pretty good. Legs were OK, but my feet kept getting hot. John Logar told me my shoe size has probably changed, so I need to look into that for sure. The 26 was a good workout. The heat wasn't a problem for me, but it was mostly shaded. My personal aid station had not been messed with, so I had plenty of fluids, and alternated 1 E-Cap on the half hour and 2 E-Caps on the hour. No cramps or signs of heat problems. I had been worried about "Yayhoos" on their ATVs because of the holiday weekend. I did see a few, but they were all courteous; slowed down and gave me plenty of road room. For that I was grateful.
Sunday I did an easy 10 miles. It was hot again, but the temperature didn't affect me. My legs were basically dead for the first 7 miles or so. I guess they warmed up at that point, because I actually began to feel pretty good. The last mile and a half is all up hill and I felt strong finishing.
I bought a copy of Bryon Powell's Relentless Forward Progress a few weeks ago. It's a good read dedicated mostly to Ultra/Trail Running. I was thumbing through it the other evening before bed, and I'm actually beginning to believe I can do this (Highland Sky). I've trained hard and done everything "the experts" say one should do in preparing for an Ultra. That coupled with the encouragement and words of wisdom from my informal coaching staff (Adam, Logar, Lehmann, and too many others to mention here) have me convinced I'm ready. I just need to avoid "out dumbing" myself or doing anything stupid during the taper for the next two weeks. I've done my last long training run. I only have a 16 (only?) this Saturday with a 10 on Sunday. I'm doing the 16 on the Forest Service Road (I don't want my healing boo boo to get wet crossing Otter Creek), but then I'm going back to the trails for my final weekend runs. I need to refresh my memory on negotiating the rocks and roots on the technical sections of Otter Creek. I've actually missed it the last couple of weeks. Following HS, I'm going to just do some fun stuff and explore some trails I haven't seen in the OC Wilderness. Just a "walk in the woods."
Hillary and Lola at the 1.5 mile mark on Otter
Creek. Picture must be 4 years old, as Lola is
clearly a pup, compared to her 75 lbs. now.
Otter Creek is very low here.