The weather has been pretty cool in Duluth this week - until today. The highs have been in the low 60's with an east wind (off the Lake). Today it is 83 degrees and humid. July 26th is the Voyageur Ultra - 50 miles on trails from Carlton to Duluth and back. Essentially the marathon I did, twice (minus Jarrow's Beach). Today's temps are not conducive to running. Tomorrow they are predicting low 80's, clear skies and winds topping out at 15 mph. Repeat of today. Let's hope they are wrong and it is cooler.
Wednesday I wanted to get out for a run but I had Porter to contend with (seperation anxiety + 95lb dog = destruction if left alone too often). I have not run with him since sometime this winter when he seemed to be having troupble with arthritis. I thought our running days were over. Wednesday it was nice and cool so I thought I would head up to Piedmont and get out on the trails with Porter. No watch, no where to be - we would run at his pace.
The moment I got up over the hill the temperature jumped 5 - 10 degrees. Now it was in the 70's! Porter has never run well in the heat. Can you guess why?
He seemed pretty excited to be at the trail - tail was up and curled over his back - so I decided to head out and see how he would do. We plowed through the tall grass on the snowmobile trail (waist high on me, over Porter's back, all you could see was the tip of his tail) until we got to the big knob and the intersection with the SHT. Headed west on the SHT - lots of hills in this section - with the intention of running to Haines Road and then heading back, maybe exploring the newly built bike trails in the area.
Didn't quite work out that way. Porter was slowing down already and by the time we hit the ski trail overlook I was stopping frequently to wait for him and offer encouragement. It was warm enough that we stopped at every puddle and stream crossing and took breaks. Still by the time we got to the second ski trail crossing Porter looked at me, looked down the ski trail, looked at me.... we headed down the ski trail. Porter found his second wind at that point and I had to work hard for a while to keep up with him. By the end of the trail he was dragging, tongue hanging out, so I figured we were walking it in.
Then we passed another dog. Nothing like someone watching you to put a little spring in a tired runners' step. Porter managed to trot in from there. Pretty good for an old dog! I think we ended up running around 5K or so. No speed records were set. But Porter was not limping the next day and his energy level seems to be good.
It was good for me to be out there also - no watch, not time limits, just playing around. Can't remember the last time I did that on a run!
Good luck to all the folks running the Voyageur tomorrow. See you at the Jay Cooke Aid Station!
Selective Focus: Matt Kania
7 hours ago