Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mohican On My Mind

Weeks of hard training are finally over and now in the final week of my taper stage. Somehow I still feel like I’m not ready and need a few more long runs to be comfortable. Then again, I feel this way going into most of my races. Most likely just the extra energy building up and anticipation of the days to follow! As for my training, most of my daily runs have been with a 20 pound weight vest, and I add 5 pounds weights in each hand for the hill repeats. With the extra weight on the hill repeats, I thought I was going to only perform half of what I normally do after the first set, but some how dug deep to get the last couple sets in. I had to play games with my head by saying just one more and you can walk the next one, and then time for the next one, and I just could not allow myself to walk it. I repeated this several times until all my hill repeats were complete. It was more challenging then expected, but felt great when it was over. Unfortunately, not a lot of long and steep hill to train on were I live so I must improvise to make the hills feel harder then normal.

My short 5 hour long run, in some intense heat, did not go as expected. I planned to cover more miles during the 5 hours I allowed myself before dashing home to shower and get ready to meet some of my coworkers at a local restaurant for a working meeting. I planned to run on very familiar trails at FATS and dropped off water bottles at specific points like always. The temp was 80 deg when I left the main parking lot, and new it was going to be a warm day, but was only thinking this was going to be some good heat training - finally. The trails were in great shape, dry, and smooth. I didn't get ½ mile out before I was already covered in sweat. I ran into a couple of spider webs but just wiped it from my face as I passed through it. Every now and then, I would pass through a larger one and it would stop me in my tracks. They are hard to see on the trail with the forest as a backdrop. I hate the feeling of webs on me and was a major distraction.

I normally carry two 20oz bottles, and before I knew it, I had already sucked the last drop out of one bottle and still had another mile to go before hitting my first water bottle drop zone. I almost never go through my first bottle this early! As I made my way around the Big Rock loop, I found myself moving slower compared to previous times. Nonetheless, I was less concerned about my speed during long runs and just trying to get the time in the bank. Half way around Tower loop I started to run out of water, thirsty, and water running out of me faster then I could put it in. I still had 2 miles to go before my next water drop zone and had to slow way down to control my sweat rate so I wouldn’t get in trouble. I cranked up my jams to take my mind off my uncontrollable desire to drink water - It's all I could think of. I had one 20oz water bottle at my drop zone and it felt like I just brought it to a boil - But it didn't matter because it was wet. I still had another 5 miles before getting back to the parking lot, thirsty, and knew 20 oz would not last long in this heat. I also noticed that I wasn't sweating and knew this was a bad sign. I figured if I could stretch what little water I had until the power lines section, I could drag myself the last mile before getting re-hydrated. On a good note, I only saw one snake (4' black snack) and it was on a short road section and easy to see. Also had a large deer jump across my path and thankful I wasn't in his way. I didn't plan very well for the hot conditions and almost put myself in danger a couple of times. I didn't get the distance I wanted for my last long run and felt like I took a beating with the heat. This is not the way to go into a taper before a race.I made it home in time to shower and make it to my meeting. I told the waitress to bring a jug of ice water and IV. I really felt it the next day and knew I did more damage then I realized. Normally I wouldn't have a problem with running all day in high temps, but because it has been cooler then normal in the South, I was not fully acclimated yet. I feel like I didn't get the mileage in that I normally should and will pay for it during the race. Then again, I felt that way at Rocky and ended up feeling strong all day until the feet came apart - Time will tell. As for my feet, I got this great idea from Bob who is using “Tuf-Foot” product to toughing and condition his feet. It was originally intended for dogs to condition their paws for tough terrains. Good for them may be good for me! I’ve been using it the last couple of weeks but won’t know if effective until this weekend. I also realized at Rocky that I didn’t stop and change socks or re-lube my feet until it was too late. I plan to do this at the 40 and 75 mile mark at a minimum. My problem is I block everything out, and don’t notice I have a problem until it becomes painful, which is too late. I need to work on this.Time to pack the Avalanche and head north for OH - I have an adventure waiting for me. Mohican 100 is 75% trails, 22% forest service roads, and 3% rivers and climbing with a total of 23,000’ of elevation change. The Mohican River crossing looks like it will be a refreshing dip to cool off, and the hand over hand climb up Lion’s fall should be interesting to say the least. Daytime temps look to be in the middle 80s with high humidity, afternoon showers, and lows in the 50s at night. I’m looking forward to pushing myself again, dealing with the unknown, and battling my demons towards the end when every fiber of my body says to stop.


Beth said...

Good job making it through your hot run. It's been cool here, too, which makes it hard to acclimate to the heat that I'm sure is coming. Good luck at your race! You are well trained and it will bring you through. I can't wait to read all about it.

DawnB said...

your short 5 hour run!! short & 5 hours do not go together. That is some training. I hope your last week of taper do not include a short 5 hour run. Good luck, you put in the training now go kick butt.

Lee said...

Go get 'em, TB! Good luck, looking forward to your report!

Scott Dunlap said...

Best of luck this weekend!


Anonymous said...

Let us all know how the foot product works for you! I've been reading about that one. I also, love how a short run has now turned into 5 hours! It's amazing how our short & long runs mutate!
Good Luck