Tuesday, July 26, 2016

In the Heat of Summer

It's hot out there.

It's DAMN hot out there.

5:30 am, 80 degrees, 90% humidity, off-the-charts oppressive. Not a surprise (this is my 10th summer here after all) but it still sucks every single time.

I am trying to push through the discomfort as best as I can. I have started to complete much longer weekend runs with my triathlon group, and although I slow it way down and take a couple walking breaks, I'm getting through them. I continue my mid-week evening hill workout, typically in 95+ degree temps, but those, too, are getting to be quite difficult. I'm wearing my heartrate monitor and have not overtaxed myself yet, but it sometimes feels like death.

My hydration is a struggle this summer. I'm not sure what is different, but I am having trouble feeling sufficiently hydrated. I need to change some things because this concerns me. For an endurance athlete in a Texas summer, hydration is everything.

With it being summer, I really had no idea if my fitness (read: SPEED) was even close to being up to par going into marathon training. I think my intervals runs have been pretty decent considering the weather conditions, but the short relay I had this past weekend was a good judge of where I'm at. It's not great, but it's actually not as bad as I thought. It was a 5K 2-person relay, so only 1.55 miles each. But it started at 10:00am, in 86 degree heat, and by 1.55 miles they really meant 1.68 miles. So sweet of them.

What I really thought I could run was 8:15 pace. What I hoped I could run was 8:00 pace. What I actually ran was 7:44 pace. The only time I looked at my pace was 6 minutes into the run and then I just tried to hold it for as long as possible. My second mile was 15 seconds per mile faster than Mile 1, even though I totally thought I was falling apart (seriously, that last 10th of a mile lasted 30 minutes I swear). My partner, Drew (freaking youngster) ran 6:08 pace so we managed to run 3.35 miles in 23:17 for first place in our division. It was Drew's first medal since high school, although he's come so close in a couple of his triathlons this year. It was a medal I was hoping we'd get, but was cautiously optimistic about. What a great surprise to pull it off!

My two half marathons are coming up in October and I am technically training for them, upping my weekly miles, trying to add another weekly run. I would like to have two good races, but I really need these temperatures to give me some mercy. Not likely to happen anytime soon. July in Texas after all.

On the bright side, it feels really good to only be focusing on one discipline this summer. I think when late winter/early spring rolls around I'm going to be ready to (literally) get my feet wet again and compete in triathlons. My mind has so much trouble focusing right now that it's a blessing I made the tough decision I did to sit the triathlon season out.

I might even admit that when I'm watching my team compete and I see them racking up podium spots, I actually do miss it. Triathlons are definitely something special.