Sunday, March 18, 2012

Slow Sixteen

So I had 16 miles on my training schedule this weekend. I spent all week watching the forecast and fighting off a panic attack.

All you heat lovers? Can suck it. I hate training in the heat. That hatred is the whole reason I picked a spring marathon, so I wouldn't have to train in the heat.

Hot weather is not my friend. First off, I'm not a sweater. I'm not talking about the yarny confection I'm currently knitting for myself, I mean I don't sweat properly. This means I don't cool off properly. All those people you see just dripping during a hot summer run? I don't do that. My face sweats a little and becomes hideously caked with salt, but nothing else sweats. I just get hotter and hotter and hotter until I pass out. I studiously avoid training in temperatures above 60 degrees. Truthfully I prefer the temp not be above 45, and that is short sleeves and shorts weather for me.

When I checked on Saturday and saw that the high was projected to be 80 degrees today, I almost freaked out. My heart was racing, and I was so nervous I could hardly sleep. I couldn't head out until 7:30am at the earliest since Jamie was at work until 7am. I was dressed, fed, and ready when he got home and out I went.

As I left my driveway, I didn't feel chilled at all. This is a bad sign. I decided right then that I was going to pace 12 minute miles. The goal was to not feel hot, not sweat, and not breathe hard. I carried 32oz of water and 3 servings of Shot Blocks, plus a handful of emergency Starburst. Have I ever mentioned that I'm prone to hypoglycemia? I'm a bag of distance training awesome, aren't I.

My path was a huge square. The first section was a rolling 5.25 mile distance from my house up the Church road. There was a very pleasant breeze, and the sun wasn't full up. I was pacing 11:30ish and feeling really strong. After turning the first corner, the next 4.5 miles was flat and straight, but through pretty country I'd never run through before, so it didn't feel too long. The breeze was still my friend and the surface was good. I hit the next turn at 9.3 miles feeling pretty damn smug about my super smartypants plan for slow slow miles. I hit all my marks for hydration and food, and I turned down Humboldt Rd.

Oh. Humboldt Rd. No shade, super crappy surface, straight straight straight with the breeze behind me so it did nothing to cool me off. By MapMyRun I should've turned for home around 13 miles. It lied. The turn wasn't until 14 miles, and I was desperate for it by then. I was still hitting my pace, but mentally I was starting to fray. The temperature had been climbing over the last 2 hours and with the breeze now behind me, I was feeling hot and panicky. I took my water/food break, and just gutted it out as long as I could.

I hit 16 at 3:15 on the dot. I was pacing for 3:12, so I feel that was pretty damn good. Unfortunately, I was still 0.8miles from home. That was a long ass 0.8, let me tell you.

Basically, 80% of this run was great. I had no pain, no difficulty. The last 20% was tough. If I'd started an hour earlier I think I could have avoided the heat problem entirely. Or, you know, if the weather was FREAKING NORMAL. Had it been 40? I'm pretty sure I would've sailed through that run feeling phenomenal. Still, I can't know what the weather will be like on marathon weekend, so I'm glad I had the opportunity to trial a hot race strategy. What would I do differently? Start an hour earlier, and freeze two of my water bottles so they could be used for cooling off, or just not be piss-warm when I need cool water.

I finished, had a couple of big bottles of water and a Coke, took a cool shower and had the most awesome nap of my life. I am not sore, nothing aches, I liked my new shoes, and I'm proud of myself for facing the fear and getting through it.

That said. Universe, if you're listening, I'd really appreciate some seasonally appropriate weather on Saturdays from now on. Thanks.

Also, chocolate milk is delicious, and I had me a huge glass about 45 minutes after finishing. Go go sweet chocolatey protein!

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