Saturday, 2 July 2011

End of day 61 and Day 62 - Attack, attack, attack

I just about managed to finish day 61 off with another late session. A measly 17 miles were run in total. At least I had a decent rest during the day when the temperature peaked at 106 degrees Fahrenheit.

I must admit that my attempt at running into the night over the last few days has failed miserably. I've managed to get to 1 am and could go no further due to my body demanding to go to sleep! How dare it! 

A new tactic was called for today. The plan was to simply run through the heat. I was only prepared to do this if Shelli was happy to be stuck near the RV all day in these temperatures. Shelli, lives in North Carolina and is used to such heat so we went with the new plan. I'll be asking the same question of the new team next week. I can't imagine Dave, Mark or Steve complaining though (I must think of some comedy nicknames for them asap). As I mentioned the other day, safety of both me AND the Support Team is of paramount importance. 

The day started well with temperatures in the low 90s Fahrenheit. I met the RV at 3 miles and then 8 miles for icy water and a fresh icy towel to wrap around my neck. Shelli and I have a good hydration and cooling plan in place now. It all revolves around a cooler that she bought last week. It is stocked with ice every morning and is now an essential piece of kit during these very hot days.

I wanted to meet the RV every 5 miles after lunch. Shelli would not hear of it and insisted that we stuck to meeting every 3 miles. She's not one to argue with so 3 miles it was. At 4 pm the temperature peaked at 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.3 degrees Celsius). This is 1 degrees Celsius higher than that which I trained in at Northumbria University. The humidity was much higher than the Uni lab at 65% and it was a case of head down and run. I was really pleased with the results and the miles seemed to tick by very nicely. 

The momentum was interrupted slightly by meeting the RV every 3 miles but looking back, keeping so well hydrated is part of what got me through the day. After 22 miles I broke for something to eat. There was a canny little steakhouse in Marysville and I was torn between getting some more miles in or getting some quality food down my neck. Not that Shelli's food hasn't been great. Yesterday we had some home made Southern Fried Chicken. It was very good indeed.

I started the final session of the day at 21:30. The temperature had dipped to 91 degrees Fahrenheit by this time. Oh and have you noticed that when the temperatures are really high I usually quote them in Fahrenheit. It sounds far more impressive to say 103 as opposed to 39. As has been the case lately as soon as the sun goes down I find a bit of pace and was pleased to reach the 30 mile point at 22:45.

All in all I was very happy with a haul of 30 miles on a day where the temperature was so dangerously high. The fact that I was stopped by a State Trooper and 3 locals, asking if I was ok, tells you just how dangerous it was. 

So the new strategy appears to be to throw caution to the wind and attack the heat. I've attacked hills and mountains on this tour over the past 8 weeks. I might as well add some extreme temperatures to that list. For an amateur runner such as me this is as testing as it gets. I take my hat off to those seasoned athletes who run in events such as Badwater and The Marathon de Sables.

Finally, as has been the case in the past, running the miles in memory of somebody really does add an extra dimension to the day. I never want to let anybody down on these days and today it was honour to dedicate these miles in North East Kansas to the memory of Marjorie Oliver from Jarrow who passed away in March 2011 aged 66.