The Day I Learned What “Summer Training” Means

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…


Yes, I had plenty of water, too.


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.


This camera captures it all: perfectly melted cheese, Julienne vegetable mix,
and pesto on top of a chewy, freshly baked pizza dough.

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

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12 Comments

Filed under distance, early morning, following the schedule, loooong runs, running, training, weekends

12 responses to “The Day I Learned What “Summer Training” Means

  1. Wow, I can’t imagine how incredibly challenging this must have been in the humidity. I only did 3 yesterday morning and was having trouble by the 3rd mile. Good for you girl! 🙂

  2. Great job on the run girlfriend! Sounds like you were smart about summer training!!! Love the new camera.. i’m uber jealous but very excited to follow you on your new photography journey!

  3. Lacey

    awwwwwwwwwww! lol . i always want to give my gifts as soon as i get them, too!! loooooove. and nice pick, too! looks like an awesome camera and takes great shots. GREAT RUN!!! you make it sound easy 🙂 you clearly strategized well and ran it strongly.

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  5. Major wow and way to go. Can’t imagine that distance in humidity and heat. But sounds like you’re being careful and bringing a buddy and fuel!

  6. Snaps to D on the AWESOME (early) B-day gift!! What a perfect pre-LR evening. That pizza looks De-Lish.

    If you ask me, you totally rocked that run! I’m with you on the humidity. The air is SO much thicker in the morning. Definitely a toss-up, but like you, I don’t want to experiement with the later run. Beating some of the daylight helps.

  7. Hillary

    Heather,

    I recently started doing endurolyte tabs (made by Hammer) to get in the electrolytes- they have been awesome both in tris/on the bike and then yesterday in my super long run. The nice thing is that they are super easy to take in because its a little pill (take usually 3 at a time or so) and its like instant electolyte kick without having to dissolve in water and chug the whole thing like with nuun. I will say though that they aren’t as high in sodium as some other options so you still have to really work on that- yesterday some sips here and there of gatorade endurance (way higher sodium than regular gator) did the trick for me. I’d be happy to give you a few to try if you like!

  8. J

    Great job on the 14 miles!! I love doing the weighing before and after to see how much water I have lost. It really is interesting how much you can lose with the humidity!

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  10. wowsers great job and pace on that hot hot HOT LR. Your new camera is a beauty. Good work D! I also abide by a pizza + beer night before long run method. 🙂 Mmmm.

  11. This actually helped get me in the mood for the first 10-miler on my half-marathon training plan, which I have to squeeze in sometime this week. Better yet, you woke up raring to go—a mark of someone who’s got her running groove on! Nice job all around!

  12. my fiance is a runner and uses salt tablets a lot, he says they help, especially if you’re running in hot and humid weather

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