Monday, July 2, 2012

Nine Miles, Ninety Eight Degrees

I'm still alive! That alone should denote this week's long run as a success.

9 miles, 1:43.29

After barely surviving a week of temperatures topping 100 degrees, tree toppling winds, lightning shows and one near gas disaster related to an empty tank and a slew of powerless gas stations (and a 50 car lineup...), the last thing I wanted to do was tackle a long run and a new personal distance record.
oh 98 degrees - if only I had been listening to the band instead of running in the weather... I think you could see these flames behind me though....

There are few things I hate more than the swampy weather that settles on DC in the summer. Last Friday was a record breaking 104 degrees. I felt like walking to the bus stop was a physical struggle of herculean proportions. I planned accordingly, and decided to run my regular morning 3 mile loop three times. This way I could check in with the Grige, re-fill my water bottle at regular intervals and stop at 6 miles if I became dehydrated. I also set a goal focused on "time on my feet", as usual. I aimed to finish 9 miles in under 2 hours.

My game plan for loop running was quickly shot to shit by a ton of down trees from Friday night's freak wind storm. My regular loop runs though about 0.5 miles of property owned by the zoo, all of which was shut down. There were also a plethora of debris on the Rock Creek Park trail which provided me with obstacles.

Luckily, I'd been checking my pace and was holding very steady at a 9:30 min. mile. Since I wouldn't know my mileage with the epic fail in the middle of my loop, I dropped down to a 10 min. mile pace and headed off into rock creek park. The wonderful thing about running when it is a gazillion degrees is that it keeps your muscles loose. I felt great, and even came across some trail markers to help confirm my distance estimates. The temperature kept dropping, and I found a water fountain to re-fill my bottle.

I was really cruising right through mile 8, but then ran into a killer hill that slaughtered my pace, as evidenced by my nearly 12 minute mile splits (averaged). I finished strong and took about 10 minutes to cool down before heading back into the air conditioning. I then re-fueled with a glass of Tang (yes, they still make that, and the Grige actually had some in our cupboards...).
The Grige had ripped the wrapper off, so it was more like "un-identified orange powder" until he explained the purchase...
Dinner consisted of a pile of asparagus, an ear of corn with salt and butter, and a stick of string cheese. My stomach is always pretty sensitive after a run, so I topped off my calories with another glass of Tang. I'm sure I'll be starving tomorrow morning.

Big lessons from today:

1. I don't hate running in the heat. As long as I have plenty of water and loose clothing, I actually felt pretty nice. Waiting until evening to enjoy the cooling after sunset was a good call.

2. I made it through 9 miles without fuel. I probably shouldn't go much further than that without bringing along some dried fruit, but it's nice to know that I can.

3. The Nathan hand-held bottle that I bought is the best 20$ I've ever spent.

4. I experienced "runner's high" for the first time. I essentially felt invincible from mile 4 - mile 8. Yay! Let's do that AGAIN

5. I'm not trying hard enough. I comfortably ran at my PR 10k pace up through mile 8 before falling apart on a hill. That means my 10k was slow, and that my last mile today was pretty sad. It's nice to know I have more in me, and I'm thinking about adding a 10k race to my training plan on a step back week just to see what I can do.

So now I'm going to finish watching the olympic gymnastic trials (those girls are AMAZING) and try not to cry ever single time they air the P&G "olympic Moms" commercial.

1 comment:

  1. You did great!! Don't worry about being slow at the end, whatever your goal pace is you should be running a minute to 1.5 minutes slower than that on the long runs. Focusing on time on your feet is the right idea.