Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Must have mixed up the titles

While I normally love the heat as opposed to the cold, humidity maybe the one exception. I don't know what today's heat index was today, but it made me wonder how much houses in the desert were going for these days. I think the high today was about 93...which to a large amount of people sounds like hell to start with but that's not the part that gave me trouble.

Today was the only day this week where I didn't have to wake up at 4:30 for work so I set an alarm for 8 because I've been a bit sluggish while I adjust to the new sleep schedule. I must have turned it off in my sleep because I woke up at ten to a text message...which I didn't mind a bit. I made a peanut butter and jelly bagel to go, loaded up my baby jogger with every text book I own, and weights, and water, and anything heavy, and was out the door by 10:15. I didn't have class until four so I wanted to get in as much time as I could on my feet before then. I'm trying to take full advantage of the first week of school only being minor reading assignments and as much as I don't want to admit it, "doing the bare minimum" of what is expected of me for this introductory week. That said, I wanted to run all day until my class. Going up Riverside drive was tough even at that time just because of the humidity, and I knew from the first hill, I wasn't going to be setting any land speed records today. The first two hours weren't bad, I stayed hydrated and was fully fueled from the bagel sandwich I crafted at the start, but toward the end of the second hour, I was starting to feel the intense leg workout I did yesterday.

My plan was to get nice and tired from the jogger and the hills on Riverside drive and then go back to the house, drop off the jogger, switch shoes and hit the trails for the second part of the day. Upon reaching the house, the humidity was starting to get to me. I don't normally take Enduralytes (an electrolyte/salt capsule) during training runs but today, I could feel the lack of electrolytes and decided, in order for the trail part to be an actual run, I would need some salt. At the house, I dropped the jogger, refilled the my bottle, snagged the Enduralytes, changed shoes and was back out the door heading for the trails in less than 5 min. Right before I hit the trail head, I crossed the Nickel Bridge (even though the toll is 35 cents). The sun was merciless. It beat down so hard on my bare shoulders and chest, I ran a little faster just to make the quarter mile or so to the trail head go a little faster.

Normally after going at a pretty slow pace for a while, picking up the pace and stretching the legs out feels pretty good. I found this to be the case crossing the bridge and decided to hold that pace until I decided otherwise. The beginning of the trail was flawless. Entering my third hour I felt great, the pace was quick but manageable, and I had just soaked myself in a little creek and was feeling pretty cool despite the humidity. This did not last long. By the time I got to the hose to refill my water bottle near Reedy Creek, I was crashing pretty hard. I was sweating way more than normal, to the point where my feet were sloshing around in my shoes: not generally what I'm used to even on the hottest days. My heart rate was above normal despite the quickened pace, and my vision began to blur. I felt rough at best. After I refilled my water bottle, I decided to slow down quite a bit and walk a lot of the hills that I normally run. This of course added time to what I normally did much quicker. I was growing frustrated with the whole process of run, walk, run, walk, on a relatively short mileage day and decided to just run the rest so I could get back to the house quicker.

This worked for a while and I was able to forget that I was running for a little while, which is usually a good sign that I am very comfortable, even on the hills. After one of the trail sections, you have to go through a parking lot and then down a road for about 6 blocks or so where there is no shade. Having the sun beating down and the humidity so high proved to be stronger than my will to get the rest of this run over with. Following that section, I sat down. I never sit down on training runs. If I need to slow down, I do, but I never sit down. I just could not get my heart rate down, and could not seem to balance out the water I was losing with the water I was taking in.

After about 5 min, I got up and started walking which was also very disappointing, but at least I was moving forward. Soon enough, I was able to feel better and start slowly running the rest of the way back. A cold shower has never felt so good.
Lessons learned: eat more; take in more salt; and you can't beat humidity, you can only work with it.

Tomorrow is just gym and maintenance stuff, but Friday I'm off to the mountains for the day. I'm stoked to be getting in some good training for the hellish climbs of Grindstone.

I wish I took more pictures.

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