After making the long run of 20 miles two weeks ago things seemed to get a little easier. My training schedule called for a 13 mile run the weekend following the 20 mile run to give my body a slight break from the higher miles so it could recover efficiently. My weekday training schedule is generally the same every week, consisting of a slow recovery run on Mondays, followed by a full body workout in the gym with my trainer on Tuesday, followed again by an intermediate run on Wednesday, followed again with another day in the gym with my trainer on Thursday, with Friday being a rest day. Saturday is long run day and Sundays, like Fridays, is a rest day. At this point my body is adapting well and seems to be recovering much faster now. My 13 mile run seemed unbelievably easy this time around and in fact it left me feeling fresh enough to enjoy the rest of the day out riding with my wife on our Harley-Davidson, followed up with some Kayaking. Not long ago I met one of the local runners from the Range Runners club, and he came out and ran with me during my 13 mile run. This was the first time I ever ran with someone that was able to run my pace and I really enjoyed it. The time really flew by fast on this run. Having someone to talk with the entire distance really kept my mind off the miles that were left. Normally I wear ear buds and listen to music while I run but in the future I am going to do more running with other like-minded people while leaving the tunes at home. The mid-week runs and workouts don’t really change much and since I have covered those ample times in the past, I am just going to keep this blog short and mostly cover the longest run of my life to date. The weather preceding this run was nothing short of fantastic but it did change the night before my long run. Friday afternoon we had record 92 degree temperatures but by Saturday morning it was 40 degrees with winds gusting to 35mph out of the Northwest. I decided to wear compression pants both for the benefit they provide and also just for additional warmth. My plan was to run loops on the Tower 10K loop. This would allow a water stop every 6 miles as I came to the end of the loop where my truck was sitting with water and gel packs placed in back of it so I could grab them on my way by. Heidi decided she would run a couple loops herself, and then ride her bicycle, following me on the last two loops I would be making to provide closer water support and moral support as I started to become fatigued. The hardest part on the first loop was going slow enough. It took constant restraint to not exceed 6.0MPH. I was trying to maintain 5.8 MPH for this run. There is one hill that is pretty steep and I decided I would walk this hill. I believe this was a good plan. I used the walk up the hill as an opportunity to consume a gel. At mile 18, the end of loop number 3, I was still feeling really strong and my speed still kept constantly creeping up but about two miles into loop number four while running up that slight grade before the Soudan Store, the grade began to feel much steeper than it actually is. The next upward grade between the Soudan Store and McKinley Park felt even harder and by then even running on the downhill began to feel very hard and slow. It’s amazing how fast my muscles decide to fade away and sign off once they have enough. Only a few miles before I was having trouble running slow enough, and now I was having trouble just running at all. At the bottom of that big hill closest to McKinley Park I slowed to a walk just as I was getting on the steepest portion of the hill. I opened a gel and sucked it down as I speed walked to the top, taking a water bottle from Heidi just as I crested the hill. I started to jog again, going maybe two tenths of a mile before stopping my Garmin and resuming a slow walk. At this point I was beginning to cramp pretty hard in muscles I didn’t even know I had. I was supposed to run four hours for this particular workout and I had pretty much accomplished that, stopping my Garmin watch as 3:51:11, after running 22.43 miles and climbing 458 feet of elevation. I asked Heidi to grab the truck and meet me on the road. I walked about a mile somewhat trying to stretch my legs but at this point they were so sore that anything beyond a slow gentle walk seemed to just aggravate the muscles making them cramp even worst. Once I got home, I took an hour long bath using extra Epsom Salt. This seemed to provide immediate relieve, enough that I was actually able to do some light stretching after without any pain associated. Grandmas Marathon was 40 days, 13 hours, and 4 minutes away at the time I finished this blog.
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