Just when I thought I was getting strong from my training for Western States, mother nature sent me a message:
Saturday, May 17, 2008: Seeking the sun at its highest arch, I started my run at 1:30 in the afternoon. It was 95 degrees when I left my house. I started with two 20 ounce water bottles, E-Gels, salt tabs and Cliff blocks. As I ran the first few miles up Buck Gully, I felt sluggish. My energy felt like it was evaporating from my body. I pressed on until I got to the hot, single track trail at Coyote Canyon.
Single Track Trail...Seconds before Bees
73 Toll Road Crossing
I planned on running Sunday with my WS pacer Rob McNair in Chino Hills. "You need to get into some radiant heat before Western" he kept telling me. This is heat that comes at you from all sides, the ground, the sky, the canyon walls. As if getting "cooked" on one side at a time isn't good enough. One must be "baked" on all sides to gain a real appreciation of heat.
So after spending five hours at my daughter's swim meet in 96 degrees of "radiant" heat, I met Rob to follow him out to Carbon Canyon, one of his recommended hottest places to run in Orange County. As we were driving I realized I forgot my shoes. Looking down at my flip flops, I had to make a choice: bag the run in Carbon Canyon, or figure out a plan B. I pulled over to a donut shop and, before Rob could lodge a single complaint, I told him to follow me, because the donut shop keeper informed me there was a Big Five Sporting Goods store two blocks away. I found my ASICS Gel Strive II's on sale for $49.95 in less than two minutes and we were out the door.
Asics Gel Strive II, $49.99 on Sale
Carbon Canyon is nestled in Chino Hills and is an ideal place to run in sweltering heat. There is no shade and not a whole lot of breeze. We started the run with two bottles of water each. Since it was 12 miles to the next water stop, we had to conserve as much as we could.
Once we made it to the ranger station to refill, I was beginning to realize what it was like to be hot and thirsty. A good sign that my body was being tested. We doused ourselves to bring our core body temp down as much as possible. When we finally made it back to our cars, the temperature reading was 104 degrees. Total mileage for the weekend: just under 36 miles. All in all, two solid training runs in conditions similar to the grand trail coming June 28th.