I’ve been in Full training mode for 3 weeks now, and summer temperatures/humidity levels have definitely taken their toll. However, thus far, with my Long Runs (LRs), I’ve been “lucky”.
Ten miles kicked off the plan, and that was no problem at all, thanks to my “base”. Twelve miles passed by last weekend, at high altitude (5300 ft) in New Mexico, but was graced with the cool desert morning and dry desert air (success!).
This weekend, I learned what “summer training” really means.
The night before: D may or may not have less patience than I do (which is saying something), and gave me a very early birthday present. Say hello to my new toy, the Kodak Easy Share Z981:
Love. We enjoyed a little “date night”, equipped with Pale Ales, Salad & Pizza. This gift-unveiling lead to a myriad of photos to document one of my favorite pre-run recipes…
Open City never fails me with their salad toppings: savory roasted red peppers &
soft artichoke hearts, mixed with sweet dried cranberries and crisp, fresh vegetables.
My love-affair with food + photography may have just entered a whole new world. Welcome.
When I go to sleep still feeling full, I know I’ve prepared the bod for what’s coming at an early hour…
5:30 a.m. – The alarm went off and I happily jumped out of bed; is it normal to wake up excited that you “get” to run 14 miles? I’m not sure, either. I smothered some Mixed Berry jam onto TJ’s whole-wheat bread and took down a few glasses of water.
D was joining me on the bike, so I had a chat-buddy. I brought one bottle of cold water, and one bottle of Cranberry juice + water. He also carried honey packets, one GU (Jet Blackberry), and a hand-towel that I would certainly be needing.
Off we go!
The route: Out ‘n back through Rock Creek Park and onto the Mount Vernon Trail.
The attire: Sports bra + Nike shorts + Wrist Sweatband + HRM & Garmin
The attitude: Excited, awake, ready to tackle 14-miles.
When I was swallowed by humidity as I stepped out the door, I knew I was in for it.
Miles 1 – 9: 9:50, 9:26, 9:30, 9:27, 9:11, 8:51, 8:54, 8:49, 8:46
I stopped at Mile 10 to take in two honey packets, sip water, and use the hand-towel in an attempt to decrease rapidly accumulating sweat piles. I was successful on 2 out of 3 accounts. Ugh.
The strategy: Start slow, take in water every ~2 miles, sip the cranberry juice mixture when I craved something sweet (every ~3 miles), and wipe sweat off my forehead at every opportunity (i.e. every ~30 seconds).
Miles 10-14: 8:57, 9:29, 9:06, 8:57, 8:40
Luckily, most of the trail was shaded. Thanks to the humidity factor, my shorts were soaked through & through by the halfway point. Once I stopped for my Honey/H2O break, every pore on the surface of my skin decided to explode with beads of sweat. As I finished out the last few miles, I finally began to understand the “appeal” of an ice-bath…”something refreshing and Cold? YES, NOW, PLEASE.”
The legs: felt awesome. They carried me through each mile without any complaints and were happy to take on whatever pace I had in mind.
The cooldown: screamed “overheated”! I could not get home, and out of those sweat-soaked clothes, fast enough.
I run in this weather every morning, but taking it to this distance really taught me what I signed up for. The aftermath of this mileage was an insatiable thirst; I lost ~3 lbs of water during the run (using the weigh before/after method – which doesn’t count what I took in while running), and spent the rest of my day replacing it.
While I prefer the “cooler” (not by much) early temperatures, I know that the morning air is much more moist. Would it be better to take on the later heat, with less humidity? I’m not sure I’m willing to test that theory. Now I know that carrying at least 16 oz (and knowing where I can refill) is necessary; Gatorade/Powerade/Sports drink will be completely necessary for electrolytes; Salt tablets might be my next “trial”.
14 miles, 2:08:18, avg 9:09 min/mile