Weathering the Weather

It’s been chilly here in Duluth the past few days. Like, down in the mid-50s during the day chilly, which is tropical in May, but frigid when it was 90 degrees just a few days prior. It’s all relative.

Tuesday, it rained all day, and I had to do something horrible. I ran on the treadmill. It sucked. It was a good opportunity to do some consistent speedwork though, so I switched up my days and did 8×400 on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. I was sweating in the basement and watching Star Trek: First Contact in order to try to keep myself from looking at the treadmill clock every half a second. It didn’t work. I did run pretty fast though, 8×400 at 10:54 pace. Probably a little too fast, but I don’t care.

Wednesday I ran outside on the road, but I wore a (lightweight) long-sleeved shirt. That was depressing. I was a little bit too warm by the end, but it was drizzly and there was a mean wind, so it was probably for the best. I ran way, way too fast. I treated myself to some music during the run (90s gangsta rap) and I got really into it. I ended up with around a 14 minute pace, which is TOO FAST for an easy run, especially after a tough workout the day before.

It’s easy to run fast when the temperature’s cooler. My Monday and Wednesday runs were both significantly faster than normal. On Monday I ran the hilly Bagley course at a 15:23 pace, one of my fastest paces on that course, and it didn’t feel that difficult. I even hiked up the big hill. Wednesday’s run was over 2 minutes faster than I normally run the same route on an easy day. They say fall PRs are made in summer heat, and I am a believer!

I am lucky today is a rest day so I can slow my roll; I need to take the easy days easy, even when I’m feeling great. I also need to be careful that the sharp drop in temperature doesn’t result in a cough or cold, as it can for me. I need some solid runs on the trails over the weekend and a great overall training week. It should be back in the 70s by Friday, so I think it’s likely!

(Whoops, this published early. I corrected it.)

Training Troubles

Last week was sort of a funky week, since I didn’t have any specific training plan. My goal was just to keep the mileage relatively low. I did ok on that front, with 5 days of running and 21.7 miles.

I’ve started training for the Harder’n Hell Half as of Monday. Meaning I did one 3.8 mile trail run.

Three things are derailing my training slightly. Two are very correctable things: vacation and hydration. I am having a staycation, I guess, as my family is visiting from the Twin Cities and from Grand Forks. I skipped a couple of runs as a result, but that was time well spent. I’m probably eating too much, since there’s snacks all around, but everyone is leaving today so the snacks will subside.

It’s also very hot here. I mean, I know there are hotter places on earth than Duluth, MN. However, those places are expected to be hot. This place isn’t. It was pretty darn hot for the Voyageur 50 this past weekend (a future race for me, DEFINITELY), reaching 87 degrees, I think. It was much hotter for the Western States 100 and for many other ultras, but again, this is northern Minnesota, not Squaw Valley. I have slowed down, slathered with sunscreen, and even doused my hat (and clothes on occasion) before even starting a run on occasions when I’ve been running in the middle of the day. I’ve been running in the early afternoon a lot, to coincide with my nephews’s naptime, and also to try to get a little heat training in. I won’t be running anymore races in the heat, but it’s still beneficial to my overall training.

The heat during training isn’t a problem. I am hydrated beforehand, and I have been bringing water on all my runs, even if they’re under an hour. I know the running martyrs over on Runner’s World Online will boast about how they run 50 mile recovery runs without “taking” a single drop of water and they feel just fine but you know you can totally do what’s right for you *cough*slowloser*cough, but I would rather bring a small handheld water bottle just in case, than end up overheated or dry mouthed. It’s staying hydrated overnight that is a problem. I have been waking up dehydrated since it is so hot in my house overnight. We do not have air conditioning, and have poor air flow in the house. Monday night I went to bed at midnight and it was 69 F outside and 87 F inside. Bleccch. I don’t go running until I’m hydrated again, but I need to be more careful. I almost had a charlie horse at work yesterday, unprovoked. Bad sign. The absolute worst of the heat is behind us, so this problem will sort itself out even if I can’t.

My third problem is a funny twinge in my shoulder, which has caused me to take a few days’ rest from strength training. Not a big deal, as I still got in 4 or 5 days last week. It feels ok again, so I was perhaps overdoing the yoga and benefited from a little rest.

Today’s a new day to get back on track with hydration, routine, and nutrition, and I’m ready to tackle some serious hills this afternoon, one of my major adaptations to my training plan. No more dinky little gradual hill repeats; these are going to be tough and I’m going to be a beast on the course this fall because of it.