Last week we had a little cool snap with lows in the low 60s and I was sure hoping another would swing through on the 20th. As of now though, the forecast isn't looking too promising for that. If the 10 day forecast holds true, it will be a typical July day in Arkansas. And that means it's going to be HOT!
If you've read here long, you'll already know I'm not too crazy about running in the heat. I generally keep running through the summer only because I don't want to have to start marathon training from scratch when things cool down. You probably already know that I'd sworn off hot weather long races until just a couple of weeks ago, when I signed up for this race.
While a 22-mile long run last Saturday left me feeling pretty good about where I'm at, things have been kind of touch-and-go before and after that run. Two weeks before that, a 13 mile run in North Carolina left me in agony with heat cramps and severe dehydration. On Monday of this week, a little 7 mile run had me feeling the onset of the same affliction by the time I finished. Any farther, and I'd have been toast.
Looking back, Monday's difficulties were probably more a result of lingering effects from being sick all weekend. Some sort of stomach ailment kept me down all day on Saturday, and feeling not much better than just enough to get up and move around on Sunday. It was still with me on Monday, but I thought it was subsiding. However, today ended up really being the first day I really have felt completely recovered. Until today, every run was a struggle as I fought this bug, or whatever it was.
The whole while I was struggling, I was really aggravated, thinking I sure hope this thing is over with by next week. I really wanted it over with, like, yesterday, but I just kept waking with it still there. Turns out though, it might just have been a blessing in disguise.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11
Most of you already know that I pretty much never run in the afternoon. I much prefer running in the morning, before the sun comes up if at all possible. But this upcoming race starts at 8 pm, and it's still going to be hot at 8 pm. So I really NEED to run in the afternoon some before next Saturday, if for nothing else to get ready for the heat.
Well, the night before last, I was up and down the whole night with my upset stomach. I didn't get much sleep at all. When the alarm went off at 4 AM, the last thing I wanted to do was run. So I didn't.
But yesterday afternoon, when I got off at 4:45 PM, a few clouds had rolled into Hot Springs, AR and it threatened rain. So I decided to lace up and take to the streets, in the heat of the day. According to GarminConnect, it was 840 when I started my 6 mile run yesterday, and still I made it through. I decided to make the rest of my runs this week and next in the evenings to help get ready for the race.
Today's 6 miles went okay too. It was hot, even hotter than yesterday. The temperature when I hit the road this afternoon was 950. But again, I made it.
Both days I adapted the "Biblical approach" to my first 50K that I wrote of a few weeks ago, and I think I'm going to use this adaptation in the race. These past two afternoons, I've been running 6 minutes, then walking one, all the way through my runs, and it's been working well. Both times, I carried a small bottle of water that I didn't quite finish in the 6 miles, but more importantly, I didn't feel horrible after either run!
That's right. Six miles in 80+ degrees yesterday and in 90+ degrees today didn't feel all that bad! Now both runs were slow, much slower than anything rating bragging rights. But at the end, I didn't feel weak. I didn't feel dehydrated, and my legs still felt good. So this adapted approach may be just what I need to make it through a hot weather long race. We're going to see, but no matter what, it's certainly helped me feel better while getting in my daily miles.
And one thing's for sure, I'd still be running in the mornings, not getting adapted to the late-in-the-day running to prepare for the race. The switch to running in the afternoon was a direct result of being sidelined the morning after a rough night, rough at the hands of the aforementioned ailment.
So here I am, 8 days before the Full mOOn 50K, blessed by what certainly seemed like a curse until now.
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