Dog Days of Summer

It is almost September, and after a week full of hot and humid summer days, I am more than ready for my favorite season (fall) to arrive. I absolutely despise the treadmill (I mean dreadmill), but have been forced to complete several training runs on one during the last week. Back in early July, after a particularly bad hot/humid weather training run (I should say run/walk…but mostly walk), I decided that even though I hate it with a passion, I would suck it up and do training runs on the treadmill when the weather was 90 degrees or more. This week there were three days above 90 degrees! Needless to say, I had to make nice with my nemesis this week, no matter how painful it was. Here is how my training week went:

Wednesday, August 21st (Mid-Week Long Run – 8 Miles):

The high today was 92ºF, the first scorcher of the week. I’m glad I was prepared and brought my gym bag to work with me. This was my third ever run on a treadmill and I was dreading the fact that I had to not only run on the darn thing, but I had to run 8 miles! Every minute on a treadmill seems like an eternity, and I wasn’t looking forward to spending well over an hour staring at the same blah 4 walled scenery. After a nice carb loaded lunch, I was feeling physically well prepared for the run, but just couldn’t get my head into the game. Also, in an effort to increase my endurance and speed, I tried a new vitamin supplement from GNC, the AMP Endurance Vitapak, for the first time today. The sales lady said that even though the box indicated it was “Mega Men Powered”, I would be fine taking it, since it didn’t contain testosterone (or anything male specific). Stupid me for trusting a sales person without doing my own research. I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. My muscles were all twitchy and I seriously felt like I could bench press a Mack truck. In addition to dreading 8 miles on a treadmill, I was a little nervous to get my heart rate up even more by running, but knew I had to buck up and just get it over with. I took the run slow and steady, and felt really good the entire time. My breathing was solid and my legs felt great. I only took a short nature break at the half way point (I drank a TON of water trying to flush those awful vitamins out of my system)…no walking or intervals this time!! 🙂 Here are my stats for the run (this time includes my .25 mile warm-up walk, ~2 min nature break, and .25 mile cool-down walk):

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Thursday, August 22nd (Easy Run – 4 Miles):

Luckily, the weather broke overnight on Wednesday and I awoke to a much cooler and pleasant day. After 8 miles on the treadmill yesterday, I was looking forward to getting outside so I could enjoy the changing scenery. My quads were a little sore today, I’m guessing as a result of 8 miles on a treadmill yesterday. Also, I’m sure I run differently on a treadmill than I do on the road since I didn’t change the elevation or speed, plus the surface is very different. Overall, I felt good for this run and was able to successfully push through the “oh my goodness, is it over yet, I just want to stop” moment(s). Since my sinus infection last week, I have been trying to focus more on feeling good and getting through my runs easily than pushing my limits for faster times. This run was no different and I feel OK about my time. Right now I need to focus on building the mileage, not speed. That will come after the marathon! Here are my stats for the run:

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Saturday, August 24th (Long Run – 16 Miles):

This run was hanging over my head like a dark cloud all week. Thanks to my sinus infection resulting in a week of pure laziness after a stepdown week, I had serious doubts that I would make it through this run at all, let alone feeling strong and confident at the end. After exchanging those horrible vitamins for the Women’s Ultra Mega Active Vitapak (the clerk was shocked that I was sold a product for men and indicated that the yohimbe bark [mainly marketed as an E-D suppliment!!!] was likely the cause of my tweaky [not twerky…lol] reaction) I made sure I carbed up and went to bed early. I made plans to meet my friends for yoga and coffee on Saturday morning at 8:30am. This meant that I had to get my 16 miles in SUPER early to ensure I made it to yoga on time. I was so nervous about this run that I didn’t even wait for the alarm to go off at 4am. Instead, my eyes flew open at 3:30am and I decided I should just get it over with already. I slipped out of bed, ate a cinnamon roll and was out the door a little before 4:30am. It was an absolutely beautiful morning – nice and cool. Not sure if I’d even be able to power through the whole run, I decided to start off slow and stick to my long run interval plan. Running in the dark was awesome. It was so quiet, and nice to not have the sun beating down on me. The first 8 miles flew by and I felt great. Before I knew it I was at mile 10 and I started to feel more confident. I brought 4 energy gels with me and stuck to my every three mile plan…until I started to fade a little around mile 12. I thought that if I took the gel then, I surely would have trouble getting through the last 4 miles, so I waited until mile marker 13 to take my last gel. The last 2 miles were pure torture. By then, the sun was out and it was starting to heat up a bit, plus I was just mentally “done” and wanted nothing more than to be physically done too. I was so unbelievably happy when my watch beeped at mile 16. I was so tired, yet so happy that I had just run 16 miles…the farthest I have ever run, to date!!! Here are my stats for the run:

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Yoga was amazing and really helped me to loosen up my sore and tired muscles. Of course, it’s always nice to be with friends too! 🙂 Going forward, I am going to try to get my long runs in super early to take advantage of the dark/cooler temps and also post run yoga. I’m convinced I would be walking around with a limp of some sort if I hadn’t gone to yoga!

Monday, August 26th (Easy Run – 4 Miles):

Like I said, I think post run yoga was a life saver for me this week. I was only a little sore on Sunday, but was feeling great when I woke up on Monday. Sunday brought the first day of another little Chicago heatwave (actually, most of the Midwest was affected) and when I left for work on Monday (at 7am) it was already 80ºF! Guess what that means…yup, another treadmill training run! Awesome. The only thing that made this training run even remotely “fun” was the fact that my sweet husband joined me to work out in the gym at my office building. The run went well and again, I felt strong. My breathing was in line (actually, it almost felt too easy) and my legs felt solid with no residual tightness or exhaustion from Saturday’s long run. Maybe the treadmill isn’t so bad after all. Here are my stats for the run (this includes my .25 mile warm-up walk – I accidentally hit the emergency stop button during my cool-down walk…oops!):

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Tuesday, August 27th (Mid-Week Long-Run – 8 Miles):

Today was by far the hottest day of the week and there was no way I was going to run outside. By the time I finished with work, the temperature was still 95ºF with a heat index of 99ºF! As much as I wasn’t looking forward to another 8 miles on the treadmill, I was glad I had the option to even use one on day’s like this. I don’t have a treadmill at home, so I count my blessings that my office building has a gym for us to use. If it weren’t for this gym, I would either be suffering through (due to other commitments this week I couldn’t just push it back) or skipping my workout completely. This time, the workout seemed to go much faster. Maybe I’m getting used to it, maybe it’s because I’m in a climate controlled environment, or maybe it’s because I have been feeling so good when running on the treadmill. I don’t know. All I know is this 8 miler felt great. My breathing was nice and even, my legs felt awesome and I didn’t even have to eat an energy gel. Oh yeah, and I didn’t stop running at all…not even for a millisecond! This really has me looking forward to the cooler and crisper fall air that should be arriving fairly soon. I’m keeping my fingers, toes, legs, arms, eyes (and any other cross-able body part) crossed for a beautiful 50º or 60º marathon day. A slight breeze would be an extra treat too! Regardless, here are my stats for the run (aw yeah, a sub-11 minute mile long run!):

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Unfortunately, my training week was cut short when I was randomly hit with vertigo yesterday. I opted to take the night off, instead of running dizzy and risking hurting myself. Tonight is the monthly girls night out with my run club friends and tomorrow I am finally getting my hair done (loooong overdue), so I will be getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to run the 5 miles I was supposed to run yesterday, before heading to Hawthorne Race Track for the Hell Run! Sunday will be a rest day in preparation for my next half marathon on Monday (fingers crossed the current forecast [high of 74ºF] is accurate). Stay tuned for those race recaps…they are sure to be fun! Until then, happy running my friends!

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5 thoughts on “Dog Days of Summer

  1. Nice week Carrie! I know how you feel about the 16 mile run, AMAZING! Getting through it makes the whole thing worthwhile. I’m very impressed with your two 8 mile runs on the treadmill, I just don’t know if I could do it. Well, if I HAD to, I guess I could. Keep up the superb job. It is actually pretty nice reading how well you are doing with pretty much the same training plan for their first marathon like me.

    • Thank you! The treadmill and I are slowly becoming friends. It really isn’t THAT bad, so long as there is something interesting to watch on the television. I have to agree with you, it is really neat to see the progress of other runners that are on the same training schedule…it’s like we’re in this together! 🙂

      • Yes, I have 18 miles on tap for this weekend. Like you, I’m nervous…about being able to complete the distance, and the fact that the current forecast for Saturday is 90 degrees and humid…a surefire combination for failure. Run well, I’ll be cheering for you!

      • Thanks, I’ll be rooting for you too. If you have slow down to make the 18 then do it. It’s about the distance, not the time. Even if you have to take walking breaks, it’s not a failure.

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