async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Ice Age Trail 21k Training Week 6

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Ice Age Trail 21k Training Week 6

What the what? What happened to the 50k?

Summer happened. Not just any summer, but one of the hottest summers on record. Last Saturday, I ran my longest run in years, a 15 mile trail run. It was hard, it was hot and humid, but I finished with a smile on my face. No big deal, no butt chafing, and I checked that one off the calendar. I wanted to do a jumping selfie, but my legs were too tired.

Later that day, I was laying on the couch in the AC, recovering and not feeling well at all. My leg muscles were visibly twitching and my stomach was cramping. I focused on rehydrating and refueling. I was really dismayed that I couldn't sleep at all that night, tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable. I took a pass on the next day's run, instead opting for a bike ride. I felt strong on the ride, but when I got home, it was pretty much a repeat of the day before. Exhausted, I layed around all day and again, I couldn't sleep at night. I stayed in bed longer than usual on Monday morning, taking a pass on my crosstraining class. When I saw that the weather forecast for the upcoming week was full of 90s and humidity, I made the decision to drop down from the 50k distance to the half marathon in the Ice Age Trail Race.

It wasn't an easy decision. You all know how excited I was to secure a spot in the 50k. When I texted Marcia to let her know, she responded kindly, telling me she 'gets it' and that I shouldn't see it as a 'failure'. I don't. What I am struggling with is the realization that getting older and having RA means I can't do all the things. While I would never use either of those reason as an excuse for cutting back and slowing down, real talk here...at this point in my life, I'm lucky to be running at all. Running is first and foremost, my stress reliever. Running shouldn't be stressing me out. Running should be fun. 

Wasting a weekend on the couch, recovering from a hard run? Not so much.


Weekly Rundown
Monday: yoga with Adriene
Tuesday: run 4 miles
Wednesday: trail run 5 miles
Thursday: bike 4 miles, strength train
Friday: rest
Saturday: trail run 6.5 miles, waterski
Sunday: SUP

Running
I struggled with even posting a training recap for the half marathon. I've never formally trained for a half marathon before. But I've never run a trail race before unless you count the 5ks I did last year. I'm learning a lot about trail running this summer--I'm going to share all of those lessons on an upcoming post--but the most important thing I've learned that trail running is very different from road running. I'm also realizing that it's more difficult. Both my train runs this week were really challenging. Wednesday's was hard mostly because of the humidity. I was also still really fatigued from last weekend's long run and my effort was off the charts. 


I took Saturday's trail run to the Lodi Segment of the Ice Age Trail. The entire segment is an out and back of over 8 miles and I planned on completing the whole thing. This trail took me through some shady, wooded paths (see above) and grassy prairie. I did some serious climbing and dealt with lots of roots and rocks. I stayed upright, thankfully, but did roll my ankle once. Nothing serious. I also found a new nemesis--biting flies--and had a cloud of them following me the entire time. When I finished the first 3.2 miles, I crossed the road to check out the rest of the trail. The thought of having to dodge those flies for 5 more miles did not appeal to me, so I turned around. I was never so happy to see my car. In spite of the flies, this was a really lovely, well maintained segment--I encountered volunteers doing some work on the trail--and I will go back, next time armed with industrial strength bug spray and a hat!


View from one of the climbs

Strength Training
I have the feeling that SJ was disappointed in my decision. We talked about it and then we let it go. I told her my goals haven't changed. I credit the stability and strength work she has me do for keeping me upright and agile on the very technical trails I've been running in Wisconsin. On Thursday, I started out with a one-legged balance on the Bosu ball, holding it for 30 seconds. That was followed by back squats and deadlifts, yay! I learned that I didn't lose as much strength as I thought during my time at home. The stuff she gave me to do with my home equipment helped me maintain the strength I had built before the pandemic. I ended with another balancing exercise, holding myself up on some parallel bars. 


Water Sports
The highlight of our ride up to Lake Wisconsin was time on the water! My oldest joined us and we spent the afternoon waterskiing. The water was much warmer than last time and I was so happy to be out there! We went back out after dinner for another ride. When I woke up Sunday morning, I was sore and fatigued--all good--and so I skipped my run in lieu of a ride on the SUP around the bay. I was out there for about an hour and I felt like that was a much better option than pushing through a run. You get me right?

Me
My talented son

How was your week? Are you surviving this very hot summer? What are you doing to adapt your training? Anything fun to share? I'm going to share one more photo of a very colorful sunset from our view on the channel leading out to the lake. Have a great week!


I'm linking up with Kim and Deborah for the Weekly Rundown.

44 comments :

  1. Sounds like you definitely made the right decision regarding dropping down from the 50K. I know the exact feeling you described last weekend - that happened to me after a long run when I was training last year. It's such a weird feeling, especially being that fatigued.

    No doubt that all of your strength training is helping you on your trail runs!

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    1. It was kind of disheartening to have to drop but man, that 6 miler this weekend felt like 16!

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  2. Those photos are amazing!

    I definitely feel trail running is harder than road running -- on the body, if not necessarily the mind. I feel like it's double the miles -- sometimes even on pretty non technical trails!

    Only you know your body, Wendy. It's easy to keep pushing - it's smarter to listen. I know it's hard, though.

    This summer is a lot like my summer 2 years ago when I trained for 18 miles. I got lucky, though -- I really trained for the half I did about a month (or 6 weeks? don't really remember) and then just tacked ona few long runs. So it wasn't as debilitating. And I got to do the half in the dry heat of ID, and that was actually a lovely break from our humidity!

    Anyhoo, keep enjoying the water & those trail runs!

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    1. I just don't want to get hurt or worse, trigger another flare like the one I had last year. The fatigue i've been feeling is reminiscent of that--don't want to go back down that road again!

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  3. You know I think you made the right choice about the 50K - if all it was doing was bringing you stress and not joy then it's not worth it. I'm glad you're still enjoying the challenges of the trails!

    Love your waterskiing pics! Heading to the lake must feel like such a nice escape :)

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    1. We're going back in 2 weeks again. I am so grateful for time on the water.

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  4. Looking good on that water ski! Summer training is ridiculously hard-I think you definitely made the right choice. This is supposed to be fun and rewarding. Trail running is so different looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it. Stay cool out there!

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    1. I keep starting a post on trail running lessons and every run teaches me new ones! So it may be awhile.

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  5. It's been an incredibly hot summer so far! I keep telling my husband that it feels like a St. Louis (where I grew up), not Northwest Indiana, because it's 70 degrees at 5 AM some mornings. Dropping down from the 50K must have been a hard choice, but it sounds like it was the smart one for you. Your weekend of waterskiing looks fun!

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    1. I'm glad I dropped down; I don't want to miss out on any water time!

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  6. Oh my gosh that last photo — I could get lost in it! I get how hard it was to make that decision, but I know you wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t the right one! We’ve had a hot summer so far too — we may break a record for 90+ days soon. It’s just gross out with our humidity. But, that water skiing looks amazing.

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    1. We're having a record hot summer too. Thank goodness for my lake getaways!

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  7. I can relate to the toughness of your decision. If that's what your gut was telling you, then you were spot-on in switching events. Trails are a very different game than roads, and the distance seems (to me, at least) twice as far when you take into account all the technical aspects. I granted myself a pass on my Sunday run this morning, too...and the world didn't stop. Nothing wrong with honoring these bodies of ours; they deserve some grace now and then.

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    1. I know...it's a tough thing. But ultimately, it was the right decision for me.

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  8. You were rewarded with quite a view after that climb!

    I totally know the feeling after a long hot run...I had that last weekend. It's not just age! The heat and humidity are so hard on runners. No shame at all for switching to the half, you are still going to have a blast and are learning so much about trail running! Maybe next summer will be cooler :)

    So, I'm not a waterskier, but a running friend of mine just broke a rib by falling hard/wrong on the WATER! What?? Now I'll never be a waterskier. He's out of running completely for 4-6 weeks.

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    1. Come on! I've had some bad wipeouts but haven't broken any bones. Knocking wood hard right now! That is the last thing I need!

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  9. I've had to change my plans or drop out of races in the past few years and it's a tough decision. But sounds like you made the right one.

    All your trail running inspired me to head to my local trail. I drove over one morning this week only to see more than 20 cars and a large boot camp group gathering. Pre-pandemic they were annoying on the trail (never sharing the space, oblivious to everyone else) so I knew I didn't want to be on the trail with them now. Luckily the trail is only a mile from my house, so I drove home, changed shoes and ran all the hills in my neighborhood instead. More than an hour later, the cars were still there so I'm happy with my decision.

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    1. Yeah, that would not be good! One of the reasons I enjoy the trails is because they are quiet! I go pretty early, though. It does get more peopley on the weekends.

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  10. Oh my gosh, now I'm wondering if my fatigue spell last weekend was from my very hot run on Friday morning??? Whatever happened to me was unreal. Listen, I know you wanted to do the 50k but honestly from what I've seen of the Ice Age Trail from your training the half is going to be plenty bad a$$ (hopefully minus the butt chaffing, I think you win the award from Most Real Runner). September races are so dicey with the heat as it is.

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    1. See, you get me! I've gotten a reality check since my trail runs in Wisconsin. I was just talking about this with my husband. The trails of Illinois are pretty tame!

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  11. You did what was best for you. I would have done the same thing. It was tough running this week and I know it will be hot again this week. We'll see how it goes.

    I still looking forward to your training posts!

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    1. This weekend looks brutal. Considering that I had a 17 miler on my training plan for this Saturday, I'm feeling pretty good about my decision to drop back.

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  12. I know that wasn't an easy decision for you but it sounds like the right one. Its been a super hot summer already and theres no reason to risk your health and sanity running a ton of miles if it doesn't feel right. I've had to slow down alot this summer and if this continues I think there may be some treadmill miles in my future.

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    1. I've considered the TM but haven't broken down yet. This weekend looks to be a real test of wills, tho.

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  13. Look, I did 50k last year as we know. I don't have RA. But also I'm not an experienced trail runner so that matches. And it was bloody hard. Horrible. The way I did it was training for a road marathon as I knew how to do that, then moving into trail stuff between that and the race - the only way I knew I could cope with it, but once a week or so I'd go off road, notably down the canals where there's no proper surface. I hated doing the trail 10 mile race I did in between and I struggled practising on the actual trail. And the race we did was known for being easy - there was a lot of long meadows with flat surfaces, and some road stuff, too, as well as the ridged chalk. I was tired after the training and tired as all hell after the race (I didn't hurt too much, but I discovered the other day watermelon counteracts DOMS and my god I had a lot of that). When I did my first marathon, I knew I loved it and I wanted to do more. When I did my first trail ultra, I knew that was it, one done, knew I'd done it. Fine. It was the anniversary of me doing it these past days and yes, still don't need to do another one. So you have my full support.

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    1. This story made me smile, lol! I'm loving my trail runs, but I definitely overestimated my abilities, especially in this ridiculous heat we are having. I'm glad I dropped to the half; it will give me the opportunity to see what a trail race is like. If it goes well, I'll try for that 50k next year.

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  14. Trust me you made the right choice. Putting your body through runs like that 15 for 6 more weeks would not have been a good idea. You know how long it takes to recover. I see age not so much as we "can't" do the stuff we once did, but we have to be smart and work around limitations. I do believe you'd have been quite successful with the 50k if this summer hadn't been so dang hot.

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    1. I agree with you. Sometimes we can't control everything around us. The half will give me a good chance to get a taste of trail racing.

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  15. First Of All, Love That Last Photo - Always Enjoy Your Photos And Postings - Second Of All, Like I Have Mentioned Before, Who Cares If Its A 15K Or 100K, Its The Journey - You Do You - Third Point, I So Relate From Road To Trail - Like Road Bikers Can Bust Out A 50 Mile Ride But Struggle With A 5 Mile Single Track Outing - Completely Different Muscle Fibers, Odd Biomechanics, And Extremely Mentally Challenging During Technical Rock Gardens - But Those Trails, Oh Baby - Lastly, Proud Of You For Seeing The Bigger Picture - You Know Your Limits And You Are Fully Aware Of Your Own Personal Limitations - Good On You - Keep Up On Your Electrolytes And Hydrate With Passion - After All, There Will Be More Events In The Future - Enjoy The Week Ahead And Stay Strong

    Cheers

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    1. Love your perspective as always! Yep, feeling that trail run (and all those fly bites) today! Going to enjoy this ride and see where it takes me.

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  16. I decided over 20 years ago to never train for a fall marathon simply because it is too damn hot to train properly. Like you said, running is suppposed to be fun and while it is fun to challenge ourselves, it isn't when it leaves us exhausted and feeling beat up. I know it was a tough decision for you but, you're still the most badass woman I know.

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    1. If only! Anyways, no regrets here. We're gearing up for another string of blistering hot days. Glad I'm not running 17 miles this weekend.

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  17. Sounds like a very smart decision. Why torture yourself. You want to be able to run another day.

    I cut back last week and skipped 3 days in a row of running...just too damn hot!! But I'm not training so it was an easy decision.

    Last summer I was training for my first full. I don't remember this heat and humidity or many I have amnesia.

    Enjoy your summer and keep posting those water photos!!!!!!

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    1. This summer has been ridiculous--actually the whole damn year has been ridiculous. So the heat this summer just kind of fits, doesn't it?

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  18. Hey Wendy! I would say that the fact that you have continued training for actual races with all of the craziness in the world is admirable! For me, as an educator in the SE, the "status" changes from day-to-day, so anything that relieves stress is important. Once that starts ADDING to your stress, it's smart to make a change! I have been walking on my non-run days just to get some air, even when it's mid-day and 90+*. I just need the sunshine and feeling of freedom, even with my mask around my neck if I come upon others. I also got an indoor cycling bike this weekend, so that will give me some other options for cardio that is climate controlled!

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    1. More than ever, getting out in nature has been life giving! Having something to train for gives me that extra push to get moving when I don't feel like it.

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  19. The heat just sucks the life out of me for sure. It sounds like you made a smart decision, even though it was disappointing. There will be other races ahead for you! The lake looks amazing. Do you have a cottage there? A lake house sounds so great, but we chose the camping life instead.

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    1. As much as I love nature, I'm not a camper! My father in law has a little cabin on the channel leading out to the lake. I'm really grateful to have it now that my parents have sold their lake house.

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  20. I think you made a solid decision. It's absolutely not a failure: just a change of plans. You are training and working so hard, and that should totally count for something. I love your waterkiing! So much fun - I don't think I could even get myself up!

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    1. I've been waterskiing since I was 12. I don't think I could get up otherwise--muscle memory goes a long way!

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  21. No butt chafing. I love it.
    Such a smart and healthy decision.
    We had a short reprieve and I'm enjoying every second of these 70s. xx

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  22. A tough decision but the right one, obviously. I plan to some day tackle an ultra distance - hopefully in the next year - but things are so uncertain right now I'm not even investigating my options.

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    1. You know me...it's never off the table, but this is not the year to do it.

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