Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Month to Go.......

Week 14 went okay. I planned on doing about 35 miles and ended up with 33. I had several short runs around town early in the week and had planned on a 20 mile run on Saturday morning on the Bike Trail in Champion. My son Taylor decided to join me as he too wanted a long run.

The plan was to start mid-way on the bike path, run out 7.1 miles to route 305, and then turn around and head back to the car (14.2 miles). We would then re-fuel etc. and head in the opposite direction and run 3.2 miles to route 88 and turn around for a total of 20.6 miles. I had never been on this trail and thought it would be a good way to track my miles. What I did not take into consideration was the lack of tree coverage this early in the spring and the temperatures rising to nearly 80 degrees.

We started out slowly and planned on running a moderate pace. After about a ½ mile, Taylor said he was going to run his pace and pulled away from me. I plodded down the bike path looking at all the swamp land and bare trees next to the trail. This was about it for scenery. It all looked the same. The trail is essentially a straight, flat line with nothing really to look at and NO MILE MARKERS. I knew this was going to be a long day after the first few miles.

When I got to about a mile or so away from route 305, I saw Taylor coming the other way. He got to me and decided he would turn around and run back with me to 305. W jogged and talked about the run, lack of scenery and the excess of bugs. Not a good combination! We reached 305 in 1:01.00 and I was pretty happy with the pace, about 8:30 or so and I had taken two pee breaks so all in all not too bad. My left hamstring was tight so I sprawled out on the picnic table and stretched out.

After a few minutes we were on our way back. Taylor pulled away and I told him I would see him at the next turn around. I jogged along by myself and started to notice how hot it had become. There were parts of the trail that were completely in the sun and were very hot. After a few miles I saw Taylor standing by the trail stretching out. He said he was cramping and so he jogged along with me for a while. Then once again, he pulled away and I plugged along.

Somewhere in the next mile or so I got attacked by a swarm of little black bugs and one of the little kamikaze’s crashed into my eyeball – a direct hit. I was paralyzed. This little bugger not only hit his target but felt like he was digging in. I stopped and started to try and dig him out. The harder I tried the worse it got. I was starting to worry that he was going under my contact! As I walked and dug, a cyclist coming the other way happened by and could tell from my body language and facial expressions that something was wrong. He stopped and helped and after a few moments the pesky invader was removed ~ still alive and kicking until I squashed the little perpetrator between my fingers. I thanked the guy over and over!

I started running again but the temperatures were increasingly warming up. I was now covered in salt and just about out of fluids. I moved along slowly thinking about the water and drinks in the car. After 1:06.00 I returned to the car to find Taylor sitting in the shade under the shelter. I asked him how he felt and he said “it’s a four letter word that starts with an s and ends with t” We decided we were both done for the day. I returned home, showered and felt nauseous for the rest of the day. I was totally dehydrated and three pounds lighter than when I left in the morning.

Just when you think you’re done, good things happen. Saturday afternoon my friend Brian Musick calls and asks if I want to run on Sunday. I say yes and we agree to meet at West Branch State Park for an enjoyable paced run.

After meeting in the parking lot of the West Boat dock, Brian says he thought he saw blue blazes on a tree down the road and we can pick up the Buckeye Trail from there. Neither of us had run this section of the BT so we decided it will make a worthy adventure. Just in the first few miles we found a dead snake, a vertebral column out of a deer, a slug and a whole bunch of mud and water. It was a great time. The trail is in very good shape and has about 10 creek crossings, each that present a different challenge.

We ran along until the trail reached a road and we followed the blazes up the road for a short while. When we realized the trail was going to stay on the road longer than we would have liked, we decided it would be a good time to turn around. We ran the trail back to the car and enjoyed crossing the creeks and the mud all over again. There is something about when you know you are almost done that you stop worrying about getting wet and muddy and just run right through it. That’s just what I did. It was a blast!

We ended up covering 10 miles in about 2 ½ hours which was just what the doctored ordered after Saturdays crash and burn. It was fun, relaxing, soft surface and very enjoyable. Brian and I shared a beverage in the parking lot after the run and then headed home. All in all, it was a decent week.

Here are the numbers:
Miles Run 33
Long Run 14.2
Minutes Run 345
Scariest moment: Bonking at 14 miles 4 weeks before the marathon!
Goal this week: 20 miles or 3 ½ hours of running – whichever comes first!


Jeff said...

I ran the Champion trail one time last summer. I started at the branch and went out about 7 miles. It was really hot that day (in the upper 80s) so I know how you feel. It just drags on and on and is pretty straight and boring!

Jamie said...

Way to stay tough! The Champion trail is quite boring, but that hot weather running will get you ready. I occasionally run the Meadville bike trail here, which is actually sort of scenic & about the only place for me to run on flatness haha. It's 10 miles total(roundtrip). Good luck w/the rest of your training! Hope to see you for a run sometime soon.