Friday, June 3, 2016


After the lovely long weekend break from running, it was time to get back down to work.

Having run 119km in the 10 days since, I think it's safe to say I did just that. The longest was 29km that took me 4.25hrs at Hydrocut in 30c/86f heat last Saturday - it was all hills (630m/2,066ft of climbing), humidity and one really solid bail when I caught my toe on an innocent little sapling stump.

Muddy belly, wrists and knees.
You know it's hot when you have a hydration pack AND and handheld bottle.

I was only 90mins in when I went for a close-up examination of the forest floor, but couldn't even take a moment to collect myself before the hordes of mosquitoes descended upon me - they bit me no less than 8 times just while I tried to get back to my feet! That stick in my hand above? I found that on the trail and continued to carry it around with me for over 2.5hrs after the jerks bit me on the back of my shoulder where I couldn't reach to scratch it. It also helped with all the bites on my legs - the stick gave me the extra reach to scratch itchy things while power hiking hills rather than having to stop (or fall over, which is always an option).

So there's a lesson for new trail runners: a mosquito bite scratching tool can be satisfactorily fashioned out of a found stick. Alternatively, wear insect repellent. Or just be faster than me and outrun them.

Of the above, I think I'd recommend the latter.

They may lie in ambush for you, though..

The next day was brunch with friends in Guelph, so I treated myself to a run on the gorgeous Royal Recreational Trail that runs North of Riverside Park. Unfortunately, the sun, heat and humidity continued to beat me down. I could handle the sore legs from the long hours on my feet the day before, or I could take the scorching and sweating in 30c/86c noon sun...but both together made for a true sufferfest run.

Though if you're going to suffer, you might as well do so somewhere this beautiful.

Ready to fall down and die somewhere shady and cool.

I made it through, but there were an embarrassing number of walking breaks and pauses to catch my breath considering how flat the trail was.

I cranked out another 15k on Monday evening, enjoying some cooler air (24c/75f) after the sun had set but getting to bed far later than I wanted (I didn't get home from the run until after 10pm, and still had dinner to make). Then Tuesday came along, and due to the time we made it home from work I had no choice but to run to the pool: 10.6km of net uphill with 1 small and 2 good-size climbs, and all into the wind.

It didn't go well.

I'm sure it didn't help that my legs were feeling a little messed up from lifting weights that morning (WALKING LUNGES ARE THE DEVIL), but man...I had to stop half a dozen times to regroup in order to make it, and by the end my right adductors and hamstrings felt like hamburger.


I flailed my way through a swim and hoped that I hadn't caused any lasting damage, then grabbed another 5hrs of sleep before heading into work the next day, having finished off the month of May with 291.6km of running in the bag. When 5pm rolled around I kicked off June with 13km of net downhill on a sunny but cooler (22c/72f) and windy afternoon down the Mississauga trails to my mum's, so all I'd have to do when I got home was make dinner and go to bed.

Also: just a little prettier than running around my neighbourhood after dark.

Fortunately my leg held up, having been careful and vigilant for the first sign of trouble. It felt better on Wednesday night than it had on Tuesday, giving me some hope. Of course, I still only got 5.5hrs of sleep because I'm bad at things.

Thursday evening was another hot one - 26c/79f with humidex over 30c/86f - and I suffered again as I plodded along at what felt like a truly glacial pace. Fortunately it was only 7km, and my leg didn't kick up any fuss about it. I made it to the pool again for a recovery swim and stretch in the hot tub, and went out for a little walk after. The 6hrs of sleep I got last night were a slight improvement, but I'm still pretty knackered.

This is a thing that happened.
Screenshot from this morning after logging last night's run.

While I hadn't really intended to taper much for the Conquer the Canuck 50k next Saturday, I don't think I have much of a choice at this point. I've been pretty lucky to avoid major injury, but I can still feel that all is not totally well with my right leg. Frankly, the only reason I actually ran last night was because I knew I'd have a day off of training today - if not I'd have taken an evening to heal, which is what I'll do tonight. A gentle walk with Tanker the Wonder Sherpa is the most active thing on the menu for the day.

I know I need to get time in on my feet if I want to stand any chance of surviving Dirty Girls, but with 3 of my last 6 runs having been at least somewhat horrible I need to face the fact that I stand a very real chance of injury or burnout if I keep trying to push. Endocrine system depletion is a real thing and my lack of sleep makes me more susceptible than a normal human that actually goes to bed at a decent time.

So, I'm going to cut things back a little. Run 2-2.5hrs tomorrow instead of 3+. Maybe even take my traditional Wednesday-before-a-race-rest-day. We'll see what feels good, keeping in mind how poorly I performed at Seaton Soaker with 77km in my legs in the prior week and the fact that Conquer the Canuck is twice as long.

I'm also trying to cut down in another way that I think will help.

I was doing quite well with getting down to race weight up until mid-April or so. Since then, my efforts have rather stalled and I suspect it's due to my increased running mileage making me into a bottomless pit of hunger. I generally eat fairly healthy, cooking from scratch 6 days per week and primarily munching on vegetables and fruit...unless it's after a long run, when I tend to go a little overboard on "refueling".

Cupcakes are my weakness, but they're far from the only sugary treat I indulge in when I've worked hard for hours on end. Hell, I smashed a pecan tart and a slice of allergen-friendly tiramisu in my face after Sunday's hot and sweaty sufferfest, and that run was less than 90mins! I hadn't even intended to have a dessert, but ended up eating two. Not cool.

I need to get a grip on my sugar addiction.

Though it could have its useful side..

As of this week, I'm trying to make a real effort to curb my intake of anything sweet outside of long (90+min) training sessions. While my addled little brain would like me to believe I'm entitled to a cookie or cupcake (or both..) after a long run, I know I will recover better by eating higher quality foods in two ways:

1) The nutritional value of the food itself will provide better fuel for muscular and endocrine system recovery.

2) If I can drop some of the stubborn pounds I'm carrying, I'll beat myself up less while I'm actually running.

So wish me luck, because studies have shown that sugar is as addictive as cocaine, if not more so.

Pass the carrot sticks, please..

No comments:

Post a Comment

Go on, have at me!