20 Wet miles, 18 hot miles

Last two long runs for Grandmas Marathon training are officially out of the way. Last Saturday and again this Saturday I did my long runs using the 10k Loop up in Tower. I reallyIMG_0844 like doing my long runs on the 10k loop because I pass by my truck every 6.5 miles. This offers a nice safety net so that If something were to go wrong, I am only 3.25 miles from the truck at most. It also makes a good water stop since I can just leave water bottles in the back of the truck and grab each time I make a full loop.  The route is on a paved bike path for most of the way and winds through some very scenic forest. I begin in the City of Tower, and then follow the bike path around past the Soudan Store and then out to McKinley Park where I then take the road along the lake to Hoodoo Point before once again picking up the bike trail to Tower, completing the loop.  The first of IMG_0751these long runs, (Saturday the 21st) I was hoping I would be able to run a full 26.2 miles. At first appearance it looked to be an absolute gorgeous summer day for running.  This was the very first bout of summer weather to hit the Northland and so I wasn’t really prepared well and was getting a late start. By the time I got started around 10:00, it was already 75 degrees and sunny with zero wind. My plan was to go run a minimum of 18 miles, but up to 26 miles if nothing hurt.  After starting out very slow, I averaged around a 10:45 pace for a little more then one loop. I was very careful to go even slower on the hills, makingIMG_0819 sure I kept my heart rate and breathing very low. The first loop felt very easy however somewhere on the second loop the Sun was really starting to get hot. The portions of trail shaded from the sun by giant Norway Pines was easy going. However, the stretch out around Hoodoo Point and back through Tower to Soudan was not shaded from the sun and really felt hot. On the third loop things really started to heat up and a little after mile 18, I decided to end the run. By then, I was feeling nausea’s and had chills all at the same time my body felt like it was burning up. By this time Heidi was with me as she had ridden her bike along to bring me some water, so I asked her if she would please ride back and grab the truck. WhilIMG_0839e Heidi rode back to the grab the truck, I stopped running walked about a mile while drinking down a water bottle.  The heat stroke symptoms worked themselves out quickly once I stopped running.  If not for the heat I’m pretty sure my body would have gone the entire distance of 26.2 but trying to push through the heat just didn’t seem smart.  Mondays 6.5-mile recovery run felt pretty easy and fast while Wednesday’s 6.5 mile intermediate run felt even easier and faster.  Both Tuesday and Thursday I did total body work outs at the gym with Toni, while Friday was a rest day. Finally, the day of my last long run in this training block arrived.  The weather this day was pretty opposite from the weather of the weekend prior. IMG_0840It was 56 degrees with a light steady rain that seemed to change from heavy mist, to light sprinkle, to light rain. This would be the first time I had run any distance in rain and I wasn’t really looking forward to it. However, once I was about five or six miles into the run, warmed up and feeling good, the rain really didn’t seem to be an issue and in fact seemed somewhat refreshing. The first 14-15 miles or so felt so easy that I couldn’t help but think about my progress while being amazed. The miles seemed to just effortlessly fly by. Not a single ace or pain was felt through my body at up till this point. But, by mile 16-17 my musclesIMG_0845 began to complain and then started to complain more and more with each step. By the time I hit mile 20 everything was pretty tight with lots of aches and pains in various muscles.  I stopped running a half mile from the truck or so and began to walk. Once I stopped running and started walking, my leg muscles seemed to fall apart, becoming painful just to walk on and they remained tight and sore right up till I made it home and started soaking in a bath full of Epsom salts. The bath and salts seemed to loosen them up pretty good and made most of the pain go away ending the last long run for this Marathon.  Now until the IMG_0848Marathon my mileage will taper down the next three weeks in preparation of Grandmas Marathon. My short runs will taper down about 25% a week, while my long run will consist of a 13 mile run next weekend, with a 6.5 mile run the weekend after, followed by Grandmas Marathon…

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