Saturday, May 26, 2012

Time to be humbled...

I knew it was coming. I knew the weather would knock me on my butt eventually.

Texas summers are rough, and that's an understatement. I grew up where the climate was very mild, with summer days rarely getting above 85, usually staying below 80. Triple digit heat was a big deal, and difficult to deal with.

Fast forward to our 6th summer here and it hasn't gotten easier. Last year was definitely an extreme, with 90 triple digit days (a record) and roughly half the year above 90. I beat the heat by doing a lot of runs on the treadmill (a blessing because it helped me get faster, but a curse because I developed Achilles tendinitis). I vowed to stay outdoors as much as possible this year. I needed to get used to this heat.

We haven't had a triple digit day yet, but we've had several over 90. Our mornings were staying relatively mild for the most part until just recently. I had planned on running 13 miles today in preparation for my 30K on June 10, and I watched with a bit of apprehension as the forecast kept getting warmer.

When I arrived at Brushy Creek Trail this morning it was 77 degrees. Humidity was nearly 90% and it was overcast. It felt so muggy I was sweating before I even began running. I knew this would take me at least 2 hours and it wasn't going to be fun.

I've had a lot of great runs, long ones included, lately...even in 80 degrees...but I knew it would hit me eventually and I'd have a crappy run.

I woke up pretty sore this morning. Thursday was a 2-workout day, 4 miles of a technical trail in the morning and 4.3 miles of hill sprint repeats (1.6 for warm up and cool down, 2.7 miles of 9x.15 mile hill repeats). My legs were toast. I should have done an ice bath Thursday night but was so exhausted I didn't bother (mistake). I should have foam rolled Friday but was lazy (another mistake). I needed to eat and hydrate more than I did (you'd think I was a rookie). I pretty much set myself up for misery!

But I set out on the run anyway, repeating to myself that running a half marathon on sore and tired legs would toughen me up. My first 2 miles were in about 19:45 and I felt every ache and pain, but hoped it would only take a couple miles to loosen up. Nope, still very sore. I ran for 2 more miles, feeling the hunger pangs coming on. At 4 miles I fueled and walked for about .2 miles. As soon as I started running again I wanted to stop. I had almost 9 more miles of this crap? I felt like my breathing was just way too heavy. The humidity was sucking the life out of me. Yikes.

Once I got past Lake Park, I felt a bit better...I was now 5 miles into my run and got a bit of a second wind. It didn't last long, but I tried to concentrate on my scenery and not run too fast. I was running about 9:30-9:40 pace, so it wasn't my best but it was respectable. I should've been running more like 9:10-9:20 pace but that's typical of fresh legs and better weather conditions. If I could keep all running miles under 9:45 I would be happy.

At 7 miles I took another break, checked in with Greg, and trudged on. I noticed that there was water set out on the trail and planned to hit that up when I passed back by it after my turnaround, which was only about a quarter mile ahead. That was walk break number 3, and my longest one. Still 5 miles to run.

The last 5 miles went quicker than I expected. I felt a bit better, but was hungry for most of it, and would run about 2 miles and then take a short walk break. If that's what I needed to do to get me through this run, then I would take it. It was making my average pace go above 10 minutes per mile, but so be it. My running pace was still okay, even though it felt far slower.

I got back to my car after exactly 13.1 miles. 2 hours and 13 minutes it took me to run that half marathon, about 18 minutes off my ability. But it was a training run and on sore, tired legs, it would have been dumb to push myself any harder. I tried to remember that throughout the run. Still, it's humbling to post a slower time than what I'm used to.

Onto the next run!

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