The week started out very promising. After two weeks of holiday run-around, I had high hopes of completing the training mileage for this week. Things were going great all week . . . until early this morning when I woke up sick with a cold. On a more positive note - I bit the bullet last night and officially entered the American River 50-mile Endurance Run! It gave me a feeling of real excitement mixed in with the fear of "what the hell did I just do?"
As I mentioned in last week's post, I ran my longest, nighttime barefoot run of 14 miles on Monday as a "make-up" run of sorts. It was a great run and really gave me high hopes for a good high-mileage week. The week continued to be promising with me hitting all three of my mid-week runs of 4 miles, 4 miles and 6 miles (T/W/TH).
On Saturday, the goal was 16 miles. After a breakfast of oatmeal with chia seeds, I headed out to Shima Tract, which is a farming island on the San Joaquin Delta. There are several ways to run the island - a 4 mile loop or an 8 mile loop if you do the whole island (there are various paths to criss-cross the island, but basically the mileage is the same). The road is a gravel levee road, so I wore my Sockwa G2s to take a bit of the edge off the gravel. The first couple of miles were uneventful. Then when I reached the western edge of the island, the road turned north and I was blasted with a full-on headwind. My pace dropped quickly from a steady 9-minute mile into the 10s. I thought that the wind wouldn't hold up once I reached the northern end of the island and turned to the east. Wrong. By the time I reached the northern end of the island the wind had grown stronger. My pace was fluctuating between 10 and 12-minute miles. Even when the path turned out of the direction of the wind, I had to fight to stay on a straight track.
I managed to get back to the starting point at 8 miles. I was feeling a bit of nausea, so I popped a couple of Hammer Electrolyte pills and sucked down some water from my hydration pack. I nearly heaved as the first pill went down. I think it was more that I was feeling bloated or something and my body wanted to exhale when I tried to swallow. I managed to compose myself and take a relaxing breath and swallowed the second pill and headed off down the road again.
As I rounded the first turn toward the west, the wind had picked up even more. On the first loop, the wind had not even been an issue at this point (approx. 1-mile into the loop). I passed a dog-walker who commented, "You're in for a workout today!" Little did she know that I had already been through this once already.
At this point, I noticed my legs were tingling a bit. I had no idea why. I watched as a 5-foot diameter tumble weed rocketed across the farm and disappeared into an irrigation ditch. A few moments later, it shot out of the ditch, up the levee, across my path and into the water. At about 9 miles, I finally realized why my legs were tingling. They were being stung by tiny bits of dirt being blown across the farm.
By now, I had turned north again, directly into the wind. I was being pushed back. My "running" pace dropped to nearly a 15-minute mile. I felt as if I were running uphill. When I reached a cross-island road at mile 10, I decided that I'd had enough of being pelted by small rocks, twigs, leaves and other junk. I called it a day and headed back across the island. Even dropping down 10 feet below the top of the levee didn't protect from the wind. I could hear it actually howling across the island. Amazing!
I made it back to my truck at about the 12 mile mark - 4 miles short of the goal. No worries, I thought. I'll just make it up tomorrow.
Little did I know that the cold my family had been subdued with all week and I had been fighting to not succumb to was about to hit. Five o'clock this morning, my alarm buzzed for my run. My throat was on fire. Damn! I hit the snooze and went back to sleep. When I awoke a couple hours later, I was completely congested.
After my shower, I felt dizzy (a symptom my wife had with her cold and ear infection). I held out for a possible night run. By this evening I had crashed out on my couch while my kiddos played. I kept napping in 20 minute increments hoping that I'd feel the energy to go out and run. No dice.
So, for the week not counting Monday: Total miles - 26. Actual miles for the week 40.
Plan for this week: 4/6/6 (T/W/TH) and 18/10 (Sat/Sun).
Here's hoping for a short-lived cold. I start training some co-workers for an April half-marathon this week, so I hope I get lots of time on my feet to compliment my training schedule.