Saturday, June 03, 2006

Damn, it's getting hot

I scheduled an 11 mile long run this morning. I got up at 5:00 AM, tossed my shoes, socks, MP3 player, water bottles, drivers license, car key, fanny pack, towel, dog, and sun block in my mustang and took off towards the Pheonix Reach 11 Recreation park. There were no cars in the parking lot when I arrived. I slathered on the sun block, set up my MP3 player, put the top up on my car (the motor broke long ago, so I have to pull it up manually) and took off down the main trail with my black lab running out ahead.

The dog likes to run out here. He takes off after every rabit and bird he sees along the way. This early in the morning there are very few dogs on the trail, so he ran along with me off the leash for most of the outbound leg. Near the 4 mile mark I heard the howling of a coyote behind me. It isn't that unusual to see coyotes in the Arizona desert, however, they don't usually howl at you in the day light. The strange thing with this coyote is that it followed us for a good 5 minutes, staying 50 yards behind me, but clearly annoyed that I (and my dog) had invaded his space. I evidently ran out of his 'hood near the 5 mile mark because he stopped howling and stopped following me. It was, to say the least, eerie. I've never heard of a coyote attacking a runner, but then, I've never heard of one following a runner either. I was more worried about my dog than me. I put him back on the leash thinking that the coyote wouldn't bother my rather meak dog if I was near. This seemed to do the trick. I turned around at 5.5 miles and headed back through coyote country with my dog on his leash. The coyote had evidently lost interest in me and I didn't see him or hear him again.

The outbound leg felt really good. Although the temperature was raising fast, I felt strong and was about 20 seconds off a 9:00/m pace at the turn. The trail is hard packed dirt with no rocks or branches. It is very easy on the legs and the scenery is pleasant. However, at 8 miles I realized that a combination of heat and fact that I've run 13 days in a row without a break was starting to catch up with me. It wasn't that I felt bad, but the legs started to feel very heavy. My poor dog was also starting to feel the effects of chasing all those rabits in the early going. He was dragging behind me at the end of the leash.

I stopped as my Garmin hit 9 miles and walked at a 16/m pace for a half mile. When I sat down to remove a rock from my left shoe, my dog laid down in the dirt spread eagle. I realized I'd pushed him a bit too far this morning. It must be tough being a black dog in this heat. I got him to drink some water and we walked another 1/2 mile until we got to the shadier part of the trail. Since my dog was walking with a spring his step again, I decided to run the last mile back to the car.

The picture of me at the top of this post was taking at the end of the run. You can see that a few more cars had arrived by the time I got back. I filled my dog's water dish with cold water and let him drink to his heart's content. Even though I ended up walking a mile, I still had a great time on this run and look forward to running the entire 11 miles next week. In addition, I've never run more than 40 miles in one week and I've certainly never run this type of mileage without injury. There has got to be something to this general conditioning improvement approach I'm on. I feel great and haven't had any negative reaction to the mileage or to any of the runs. I had originally planned to continue on this general conditioning trip through June, but I'm now thinking that if I can string two more +40 mile weeks together without injury, maybe I can start working on speed again sometime in the middle of June. I'm also wondering about taking rest day? My brain tells me that I need at least one down day a week, but my body is telling me to run. So, do I listen to my head or do I listen to my body? I'm open to your opinions,

Keep running


Sun: Easy – 5.5 Miles; 8:44/m pace
Mon: Easy – 6.7 Miles: 8:54/m pace
Tue: Hills – 5.75 Miles: 9:10/m pace
Wed: Easy – 5:0 Miles; 8:59/m pace
Thr: Easy – 7.6 Miles; 8:52/m pace
Fri: Tempo – 1 mile warm up, 2.5 mile; 8:18 pace, .5 mile cool down
Sat: Long - 10.2 Miles; 9:02/m pace

Total Mileage for the week: 44.9 miles; 8:53/m pace


Mike said...

That's a great week Phil, I like seeing numbers after all seven days. I liked what you said a few days ago about being able to run more and more often by slowing it down a little on easy days. Of course I'm an Arthur Lydiard fan so I like anything that gets people running more.

I'd also like to thank you for your thoughtful comments on my blog, I do appreciate them. You have a good sense of humor and reading your blog is a good reminder that the reason we put ourselves (and sometimes our pets) through the wringer to run is because it's fun.

Phil said...


Thanks for the kind comments.

I got the idea to list to entire 7 days from your blog. Although I am just a tad slower and a few years older than you, your writing has had a profound influence on improving my running.

Thanks for the post.