Monday, September 10, 2012

8 Weeks to go: The Weather


 
What a difference one day, and a 20 degree drop in temperature and humidity can make!

This past week was a recovery week for me, which means less days running (only ran 4 out of 7 days) and about a 20% drop in my last 3 weeks' average total miles (I averaged 52miles a week so that means I was to do about 42m this week).  Still planned on doing back to back long runs, as this is where I feel very behind in my training.

Did 2 very easy 6 mile runs during the week, which left me about 30 miles do to over the weekend, perfect!

Saturday I ran down at the River, about 60 minutes with a buddy and then about 2 more hours solo.  It was really tough, I did all flat roads and trails, have not run like that in a while and it was very hot and humid.  I felt good for about 90 minutes and then the “wheels fell off”.  Couldn’t wait to be done, cut the run short at about 14 miles and 2 hours 45 minutes.  Fueled up and let the down feeling go, it was gonna be a great day Sunday.

Sunday morning I was running with a group at one of my favorite trails in Georgia:  the approach trail to the start of the Appalachian Trail--Amicolola Falls to top of Springer mountain, over to “Hike Inn” for snacks and back – 17 miles (ish), 2300 feet of elevation gain in the first 7.5 miles – affectionately called the “Meat Grinder”! 

The weather completely changed over night and it was only 55 degrees and low humidity when I got up at 5am to get ready. Tried something new for breakfast:  Salami, cheese and mayo on white bread and a banana.  It was AWESOME and kept me full for a very, very long time!  May be my new pre-long-run meal! 

A new buddy, Tim “M”, famous for falling 4x in one mile on his first night run with us, was supposed to meet me at my house at 5:30am.  At 5:31am I sent him a text message and he says he was on his way.  I found out later he had been out drinking till 3am and was still sleeping when I sent him the text – nice training plan!  He also ate a 1/2 gallon of ice cream at 3am which I am sure helped fuel his amazing run Sunday!

Anyway, we make it up there and begin the run, with about 15 other people, at 7am.  It is actually cold up there, I could have worn a long sleeved shirt!  This is my favorite weather to run in and I felt great, right from the start.  I really could have run all day!  The hills felt so much easier than the last time I was up there and the descents were fun as always.  We made it to the top of Springer in under 2 hours, had a quick snack and headed back.

Now, did I mention to you that Tim “M” had been drinking till 3am the night before?  This guy is amazing in his ability to party and then get up and run.  He reminds me a lot of me in college, except for the running the next morning part!  He was actually doing very, very well for about the first 10 miles (he ate no breakfast also - the wine and ice cream were fueling him just fine) and then he started to drop back a bit on all the climbs.  Being a very good and caring “wing man”, I waited for him at the top of each climb to make sure he was OK.  I also got him food and electrolyte pills when he needed them.  With about a mile to go, he decides to thank me for all my attentiveness and caring efforts. 

He takes off.

He proceeds to run up a hill that I was walking up, I figure he will wait at the top, like I did. Like a good wing man would.  Like a true friend would. Nope, not this guy.

He continues to take off.

I almost caught him at the end of the run but bottom line I learned some valuable lessons this day:

    1. Never wait for Tim again at the top of hills.
    2. Never give Tim and water, food or electrolyte pills.
    3. Go out till 3am before my next run and let wine be my carbohydrate, it obviously works.
    4. Don’t run too close to people who drank a lot the night before, they stink.
    5. Run with Tim a lot more, as he provides excellent fodder for chapters in my next book!
    6. Never wait for Tim again.

To top things off, when we get back Tim’s car has a flat tire, he has no idea how to change it so I do all the work – including asking a park ranger for help getting the spare off the car!  AND reading instructions!  Very humiliating!

On a serious note, this is the best I have felt yet in my training for Pinhoti and it was a nice confidence builder.  I got in 43 miles for the week, 14 and 17 miles on the weekend.  Also, while Tim was dying (did I mention he was toast after 10 miles and only found his way back to the car cause I WAITED for him at the top of every climb) we stopped talking all together and I was able to do a full Rosary, while running with someone else, which was very, very cool.    I felt God all along this run and remembered, in a very clear way, why I do this crazy stuff.  Sometimes I think I should just run from September to April and take up golf for the summer months!  Might be the plan next year.....

Until next time……