August 23, 2011

Hot blooded

I don't know why my post titles are usually bad cliches or song titles. This one's brought to you by Foreigner. Google it, kids.

Anywho, marathon training is underway, and I have my sights set on Memphis in December. But in the meantime, it's still August. And it's hot. So hot that, as I'm running, I picture calming, happy thoughts, like my shoes melting to the pavement or those True Blood vampires walking into the sunlight as their skin melts off and they burst into flames. Not the Twilight sparkly vampires; the spontaneously combusting barbecued ones. Seriously. It's that hot.

I had to work early Saturday morning at the time when I would normally be running to beat the heat. So instead, I had to do my long run later in the day. Trea and I ran 8 miles at high noon. It was 94 degrees with a heat index of 104 and not a cloud in the sky. Also, no shade on the course we chose. Geniuses, we are.

When we started out, I felt fantastic. My last few long runs have been awful because I've been struggling with early morning nutrition. But Saturday, I had finally cracked the code. I had an egg McMuffin and half a small coffee from Mickie D's as soon as I woke up, a banana about an hour later, and half a Powerbar and 1 ShotBlok a few minutes before my run. I had energy! But not too much! I was so looking forward to a strong 8 miles. It had been cloudy all morning, and I thought we would get lucky with overcast skies. Not so much. As soon as I stepped out of the car, the sun broke through the clouds and was merciless the rest of the day.

I realized immediately that I needed to scrap my plans to hit a certain pace and just focus on getting the miles done however I could. I normally start drinking after 10 minutes and then sip every 5 minutes after that. But on this day, in this heat, I drank every 3 minutes exactly, and I was sweating like never before in my life. It was so hot that I even ran in just a sports bra and no shirt. My abs were not prepared for that, but it was nice not to have a soaked shirt blocking what little breeze there was.

After just 3 miles, I was already running low on water. I always dilute grape G2 with water and ice in a 22 oz. Nathan handheld, and it's usually fine for me. But I wasn't even halfway through my run, and it was over half gone. Trea always sweats a ton when we run, so he recently started running with a Nathan Endurance hydration vest. It holds 70 oz., and that still wasn't enough for this heat.

We stopped to walk for a minute around 3.25 miles. The sunshine and heat was making my heart race, so we had to take a breather. We decided to run to Orchards Park because it has a covered pavilion where we could get out of the sun and rest a while and refill our water bottles at a water fountain. When we reached the park, we were at 4 miles and still had 4 to go. We would have preferred to cut it short and finish the miles at night or early the next morning, but we still had to get back to the car. Might as well run it. We stayed at the park for several minutes, I'm not even sure how long. I had three ShotBloks and topped off my water bottle twice. After only 4 miles, Trea had already drank 50 oz. and refilled his pack too.

The rest of the run is a blur, but not because it was fast. I was sipping yucky water fountain water that was the same temperature as bath water. I'd had sweat and mascara in my eyes since mile 1. I had applied SPF 50, but I felt like I was on fire, and I could see poor fair-skinned Trea turning pink. Around mile 6, I stopped for walk breaks about every half mile. It was so hot that when we waited at stoplights, we would try to hide behind the skinny line of shade cast by the pole. I would run along slowly, but doing OK, until we reached shade. Shade trees were like magnets. I could immediately feel the temperature get cooler when we passed under a tree, and my feet would refuse to go forward.

We had stopped and started so many times that Trea's Garmin time was screwed up, so he was just following my time and pace with my watch. For the last mile, I called out updates for us every quarter mile. "We're at 7.5!!" And Trea would respond with fist pumps in the air. "Just another quarter!" More fist pumps from Trea. "EIGHT!!!" And we high-fived like we had just finished a race. I'm sure we looked insane.

What did we learn? 1. Don't run at noon in August. Trea drank a total of 120 oz. while we were out, and it took two days for his shoes to dry. Not worth it. 2. Be flexible with this training plan. As long as we get the workouts done, it doesn't matter what day they happen. 3. Also? If a hot 8 miles is this tough, 26.2 is going to be a serious test, both mentally and physically. Thank goodness it's in December!! Bring on the cold!

Long, hot run


  1. ugh, sounds miserable. glad you survived it!

  2. 1. You're so right, flexibility is key
    2. Training inthis heat pays off. You'll be shocked at how much faster you are when it cools down.
    C. LOVE that there is a W@lmart truck I'm the background of the pic!

    You rock!



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