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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Country Run / Heat Training Part 2

To begin, I would like to let it be known that I prefer “psycho” over “crazy.”

Having settled that, Friday I put in 2 hours at the gym in town.  It was delightful, though I couldn’t quite figure out some of the weight machines.  They are all drastically different than my gym’s back home.  The hamstring machine here felt just plain ole’ wrong to me (I’m sure I was using it incorrectly.) 

Saturday morning, I woke with terrible pain in my left knee (after much thought, I believe weight training day prior was the culprit.)  We drove all over town in search of a foam roller.  Even the sporting goods store had no idea what I was talking about, which surprised me, since Stephenville is a college town, and there’s lots of athletes here.  Well, I resorted to a canister of tennis balls and a knee brace.  Wore the brace all day, did all my floor exercises, ab work, then rolled on a tennis ball.  OUCH.  OUCH.  OUCH.  The knee pain almost instantly disappeared. 

I didn’t get out the door for my HEAT TRAINING TAKE 2 today until 7:30 AM, and it was already 85 F (29.4C).  Having filled my pack to the brim with half ice and half water, I carried with me two cold bottles of Gatorade, which after running the front pasture of the Miertschin ranch, set them down before the gate I would exit on my way off the ranch.  Then I commenced to put in a couple miles running the pastures and various trails on my in-laws’ property.  Hard miles.  The ice in my pack seemed to melt right away.

From the front pasture, I ran to my favorite cedar elm grove.  There in the shade stood the burro that our children have named Dunkus.  As soon as I got my camera out, he was gone.

Grasshoppers jumped all about me as I ran into the next pasture.  They mainly crashed into my legs.  But the bigger bizarre creatures, they sometimes smacked into my chest which was needless to say, alarming.  The worst of the grasshopper attack was when one would crash into my palm, and then flutter there for a second against my skin before flying away.

My concern wasn’t grasshoppers so much as rattlesnakes and ticks.  Wasps were a problem too, but I can take them pretty well.  Sure, I don’t want to get stung.  But I’ve been stung by a wasp before, and I can handle it.  Ticks – they just plain ole’ gross me out.  And rattlesnakes, well, I don’t consider them a problem at home, but here where the grass is tall and there is no trail, my fear was a rattler seeing me before I saw him!


Some semi-trail runningSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Then the grass got to be waist high.  I couldn’t see the ground, which made for a difficult run, unable to see the ruts and rocks and such.  With that heat bearing down, I couldn’t wait to get off the ranch and out onto the country roads.  I noticed vultures flying above as I ran along the scorching-hot fence line.  By the time I made the bone-dry creek bed, I felt relief because of the shade it offered.  But the run was so difficult through this portion and I was growing warmer and warmer, that I began to grow nauseated.  Just calm down, I told myself, take it slowly and get the heck out of this hard stuff.  One foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other . . .  

Running through tall grassSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA




SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA           Finally, after an entire hour of running, I approached the gate to the front pasture.  I picked up my 2 bottles of Gatorade, put one in my backpack.  The other, I opened and began drinking as I ran along the pasture’s front fence line, grasshoppers slapping at my legs.  Even with the scorching heat I couldn’t have been happier to meet the country road, the land of little shade.  Once I hit that country road, a breeze came in.  I felt good.  So far, my body temperature had only fluctuated .5 degrees. 

The remainder of this run (about 9 miles / 14.48 km) was pure scorching heat.  When I’d see a cluster of trees in the distance, I ran toward it with the feeling that I was going to pick me up a pot of gold.  By now my body temperature had increased by one degree.  Drinking and running through the shade, quickly brought it down, but not down to normal, just about .2 to .5 above normal.

I draped the handkerchief over my head, but only wet it down once.  I just couldn’t waste my water after that.  I fought against the urge to conserve fluids and continued drinking little amounts frequently.  Believe it or not, for a good while during this HOT run I was having fun despite the torture.  It felt great to work against the heat AND CONQUER IT.

My feet felt particularly hot.  I felt an urge to tear off my socks.  But what felt hottest were my calves.  It felt like someone was holding torches just inches away from them as I ran.  Running in pants, I actually felt would have been better today. 

I wasn’t exactly sure on my water supply because my pack was heavy with the sports drink and a giant apple.  Ten miles, I told myself, when you reach ten miles, you can have the other Gatorade.  But at 9 1/2 miles, my body temperature had increased 1.5 over normal.  What’s a half a mile?  So I opened up the drink and ran it on in slowly, very slowly to the old cemetery where I could see its shady trees at least a mile away.

One of the few places where I exclaimed, “Shade ahead!”SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA


Posing on bridge over dry riverbed.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I rested in the cemetery, walking about sort of melancholy over the youth buried there.  Then I sat at the age of the Benson Family plot and ate my apple and finished off my sports drink.  While sitting there, I noticed the distinct smell of men’s cologne.  It was faint, but didn’t fade my entire stay.  I thought to myself the following scenarios to explain the cologne: 

1.  A nearby plant smells like men’s cologne.

2.  Someone wearing this cologne had just recently visited the cemetery.

3. Theodore Benson, the patriarch of this family plot who was buried in 1912, had come from beyond to see who was sitting on the edge of his family plot! (No disrespect intended). 

After relishing my apple, I walked up to Theodore’s grave and noticed a handful of change, mainly quarters, some newish, others old and tarnished in a pile on top of his gravestone.  He had also a wife buried next to him who outlived him by twenty-six years.  And they had 3 sons, 1 daughter all living into adulthood (but not old-age), except 1 son who lived only 11 months.. 

Pink Lady, my favorite apple.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Acknowledging one of the many children buried here, Bennett Sageser (7 years old)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

My temperature returned to normal, I took off running again for the last 1.75 miles or so.  With very little shade, I was quite fatigued.  My body temperature though remained only about a 1/2 degree higher than normal.  With about .75 of a mile remaining, I ran out of all fluids.  At one point, I abruptly stopped beneath the sun that seemed to be concentrating on only me, and I walked half a dozen steps.  Then I picked it up again, and slowly ran it on in finishing off just under 12 miles (19.31 km). 

The temperature (in the shade) upon my returnSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Miles run today:  11.75

Elevation Profile:  +935/-969My Activities country run - texas 7-3-2011, Elevation - Distance

My Activities country run - texas 7-3-2011


  1. Wow Lauren, crazy seems quite a good word here! That is some hardcore training in the heat, well done! You going for Badwater or what? Keep it going!

  2. Thanks Johann! I don't think I could get anywhere near doing Badwater, though, I would like to : (