As I write this post, I am a mere five working days from taper, with only two key workouts left. It’s true. I can’t believe I’m this close to the taper (and race day) – but then again, it’s been such a long, hot road that I believe every bit of it. And then some. The idea that I’m going to get up on Saturday morning and have nothing more required than an easy 5 seems the most luxurious thought imaginable. But until then, there has been and will be lots more work!
Saturday, June 27: This was originally to be the day of my 40-mile run, but severe thunderstorms were forecast. While they didn’t ultimately materialize, the skies were dark and threatening and the temperature barely cracking 70. While I was loathe to push such a huge run off a day, my primary concern was getting too much rain at all – which would cause me to be cold. While I wouldn’t use a 40-miler as intense heat training, I also can’t afford to be cold right now. So, with a bit of misgiving, I swapped weekend workouts and did the long, steady uphill workout again. Total of 14 uphill miles, playing with run: walk ratios. Here’s how it went down (or up):
- 1 mile warm up @ 11:30 pace, gradually working up to a 7% incline
- 1 mile @ 11:30 pace, 7% incline
- .5 mile @ 11:30 pace, 7.5% incline
- .5 mile @ 11:30 pace, 8% incline
- 1 mile at a 2:1 run: walk interval, 7% incline
- 1 mile walk @ 18 minute pace, 10% incline
- Repeat previous 4 mile sequence, but run/walk interval on an 8% incline
- Repeat previous 4 mile sequence AGAIN, but replace single walking mile with a second mile at 2:1 intervals
- 1 mile cool down, gradually decreasing grade and increasing pace
Attire was long pants with tight running shorts underneath, long sleeve shirt and winter running jacket. There was a clothes change midway through the run as I was so soaked that I was starting to get a cooling effect. BAD!!! COOL = BAD!!!
Sunday, June 28: Revisited the 40-mile run, starting at 6 am sharp and managing to maintain just under a 9:30 pace. Started with a hilly 16 mile course, followed with a flatter six out to a sharp quarter mile grade. Hiked that and practiced running down it for another five miles, then took a longer route home to end with 40. DB was awesome support. He surprised with a visit from the dog during the first 16 miles, then met me at the hills with ice, Coke and supplies, hiked the hill twice with me, and finally, brought me the most amazing strawberry popsicle at mile 36. Followed this with a 50-minute sauna session during which I started my cooling regimen ten minutes earlier than usual to account for the earlier effort and dehydration. The “cooling regimen” consists of draping towels dipped in ice water over my face and neck at established intervals to mimic part of what my crew will do at Badwater. I normally wait until 40 minutes have passed in the sauna to do it, but began at 30 minutes.
Finally, rounded out the very long day with a planning meeting with my crew members, Robin, George, Steve and Darris. Also chocolate milk and ice cream.
Monday, June 29: Slept one extra hour. Legs were tired but not sore in any way at all. Two hour heat spin in which my friend/instructor Kim snapped this gem. Who doesn’t love Badwater?!?!?
Tuesday, June 30: Eight morning miles on hilly neighborhood loop, dressed in my Rocky-like finest, followed by a 50-minute sauna session. Later in the evening, 5 downhill miles on the treadmill followed by one hour of uphill walking. Extremely disturbed to throw up a little in mouth while running on the treadmill. No more lemonade during workouts.
Wednesday, July 1: 13 miles of uphill/downhill work on the one mile hills, although I reversed the course because I feared getting bored again. The run actually went quite well and I had returned to my 8:40ish average pace for the workout. Followed this up with a 50-minute sauna session and just tanked. I could tell I was drinking more than usual early on, then looked at my watch thinking I was close to 35 or 38 minutes but found it was only 27. 27!!! Decided to start cooling early, but got a tiny bit dizzy when I got up to get the ice bucket. Finished the session on a lower bench with earlier cooling.
The “bad” sauna sessions are even more important than the good ones. The “bad” sauna sessions teach you how recognize overheating and melt-down, by skin temperature, breathing, heart-rate, fuzzy brain and bloating. Recovering from them also teaches you what you need to do – and have your crew do – to cool you down and get you back to a safe equilibrium most quickly.
Thursday, July 2: Another set of workout swaps. This one vexed me, but was important. Our kitten (Horton) had come down with a cold, and I was waiting for the vet to call. I didn’t want to run with my phone (one broken screen in the past teaches that lesson pretty effectively), so I did a tough 5-mile uphill workout on the treadmill. Followed this with one hour of uphill walking and a single heat spin. And yes, I made the right call, since the vet did call and I was able to get Horton in. And he did have an infection, but is doing great now.
Friday, July 3: Needed to get in 8 miles and got an early-morning surprise when fellow Badwater entrant Harvey Lewis texted he was in town and looking to run. Fun heat miles with him and DB, followed by a (blessedly) completely normal 50-minute sauna session.
Weekly totals: 93 running miles, 12 miles of uphill walking, three hours of heat spinning, four 50-minute sauna sessions and too many loads of laundry to count.