I had a bout with poison ivy. I am on my second to last day of steroids that were prescribed to clear it up. I always find it kind of fun to be on steroids (legally) and work out. They freak some people out, I guess, but they always make me feel great. With this week's heat and humidity, they probably did factor into a few good runs.
On Monday I popped out early for a 4 mile pre-work run. About 2.7 miles into the run, I did something I have only done once or twice before: I stopped and started walking. I was drenched in sweat and sucking wind. My arm with the poison ivy was stinging. In short, I was miserable. I walked about a quarter of a mile and then jogged at a ridiculously slow pace back to my house. By Tuesday, with some help from my running friend, Pre (short for prednisone... who were you thinking I meant?), I was able to knock out an even longer run at a good clip.
But, with the heat, running this week wasn't all that fun until this weekend. I got asked by the Trail Nerds to be one of the leaders for the North Shore Clinton Saturday run at 7 a.m. I said I'd do it, but I wasn't going to do the 23 miler due to the heat. I was thinking more along the lines of an 8-12 mile run. I called my buddy, Eric, and asked if he wanted to come along. Eric is a fine runner who has been taking the summer off, for the most part. But he's someone who can take time off and then go do ten miles. It is a bit ridiculous, but he's always game for a challenge.
So yesterday, Eric and I met at Clinton. We saw a couple of other Trail Hawk / Nerd type vehicles in the lot, but no one else showed up by 7:10, so we set off on what was a really pleasant run. Eric ran in front waving a stick in a spastic manner to clear the path of spiderwebs. For the most part it worked. I stopped paying attention at one point (I was mainly looking down for copperheads (see pvs post)), and ran face first through a massive web. But after a momentary freak out, I forged ahead. We hit Land's End, turned around, and finished the run without incident.
A short note on Clinton North Shore: The trails are absolutely perfect to run on in hot conditions. The canopy truly keeps the sunlight out, and the heat down. There isn't much one can do about the humidity. But, if you feel that you have missed your window in the early a.m. for a cooler temperature run, you can always head out to Clinton and enjoy a trot amid fauna and foliage.
So today, the second part of my nice weekend of running happened. My non-running buddy, Doug, biked over to my house and met me at 7 a.m. I had wanted to do a shorter, more intense run on the country roads near my house. Doug had offered to bike over and keep me company. Basically it would just add some easy miles to his morning ride. So we set off. On the way north of 6th Street on Folks Road in Lawrence, I showed him Lawrence's cool nature park that no one ever uses. I run in it periodically to add about a 1.5 mi. round-trip distance to some runs I do. But the park is almost always empty. Kids don't even go there to make out or drink or whatever. I can't figure out why it is so under-utilized. Anyway, Doug, I think, thought that the park was pretty cool as well. I'm hoping he takes his family there sometime to explore.
After the detour on the park trails, we cruised along Peterson for a few hundred yards and saw a deer crossing the road before heading north again down the hill by Martin Park. The hill is a blast to go down. And, at the bottom you are treated to a farm that has llamas or alpacas on one side of the street, and one that has really pretty goats and geese on the other. The road then traverses a stream and winds along the base of the hills, with woods to the south and corn fields on the north. This morning there were hundreds of bag worms hanging by single silken threads over the little road. It was remarkably pretty. It was also pretty sultry. I sweated through every pore.
We turned back south on Queens Rd (1000 rd in the county), and attacked the brutal hill that marks the city limits. The rest of the run was through the western burbs of Lawrence. We had a coffee at my house before Doug continued on his way.
What was nice about the weekend was that I had two successive days of running with friends. I do so much solitary running that it is always a nice change to have someone along. And two runs in a row; well that's just about unheard of.
Equipment update - I love the Nathan hydration pack. I used it again yesterday. No leaking. No chafing. The reservoir is super easy to clean. All in all, a great little pack.
And finally, congrats to all of the Lawrence Trail Hawks who hung in there during the storms this weekend to complete the Lunar Trek races. Impressive.