I also profess to being a bit delicate with the various running conditions I face. I love running in the rain, but anytime the heat gets above 75, I am ready to pass out from heat exhaustion. I know people think I am crazy to run so early in the morning, but I would honestly rather hit the streets at 3 am rather than run in the heat.
I am also a complete wimp when it comes to my sleep. Because I get up so early to run in the morning, my eyes are literally at half-mast by 8 pm, so running at night ranks right up there with running in the heat in my book. I would rather get all my miles in early than have to do a later afternoon or evening run.
The amazing thing about Coach Ed (my ultra marathon coach) is that he rarely lets his preferences determine when, where, or how he trains or races. Elevation is not his favorite condition, and yet he chooses races and training sessions, like climbing Mount Whitney twice in one week, to improve his ability to compete in those conditions. He has shared with me on numerous occasions that if there is a condition I dislike, I need to train even more for those conditions. So last week I decided that it was time for this "delicate flower" to push her limits--it was time to Suck it Up Buttercup!
So last Friday, knowing that we had to leave early Saturday morning for a trip to Arizona and I would have difficulty getting my long miles in, I put my night training to the test. I took a little nap late Friday night, and then got out on the road by midnight to get my eighteen miles in. I was lucky to have Gabby, Mark, Karrie, and her dog Lilly along as company and protection. There were lots of drunks, more traffic than I had anticipated, but overall it was not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. I won't lie, the last two miles were torture, but it wasn't because it was nighttime, it was because my body was fatigued from my high mileage during the week. I was actually very proud of myself, and I now know that the late hour will not be an issue for me at my 100-mile race.
Once in Arizona I was able to practice in the other condition that I usually avoid. One morning I ran in 80 degree weather and 60% humidity. It was very uncomfortable, but I survived. On my last night in Arizona, Sean found a beautiful park with a lighted path for me to play on. The temperatures were near 100 degrees and it was also another night run. I could have run for hours if my family hadn't needed to go back to the hotel and sleep. The next morning I took another little run in the heat just to prove to myself that this delicate flower has stepped out of her comfort zone and is ready to tackle whatever comes at her on her 100-mile journey.
I am so proud of myself this week. I have pushed myself to the limits mentally and physically. I am tired--my legs are tired, my feet are tired, heck, even my mind is a little tired. But I knew there would be sacrifices I would have to make as I took on this 200 day journey to be a 100-Mile Champion. I have less than 100 days left to train for my big race, and I know that I will be ready. This "delicate flower" is running in heat, staying up and training at odd hours of the night, and I am not wilting. I have grown so much through this process and am so thankful for everyone that has supported me along the way!