After this past Saturday’s farmer’s market, Luke and I drove through Latrobe, mapping out a 5 mile run I have coming up over the 4th of July weekend. I like to scout out the runs ahead of time so that I can know what to expect. It helps me to plan my training and psych myself up properly… and also become extremely anxious.
The course seems to be relatively flat, with a few hills, and several gradual uphill grades. I’m not entirely sure that I will be capable of running the whole race, but I am going to try my hardest. This means that I need to get my ass into gear and complete some serious hill training, along with distance training. As you may recall, my longest run to date had been a four miler. I wanted to try for five on my trusted bike trail.
All last week I stalked the extended forecast. It appeared that Sunday morning would be my best bet for a distance run: early morning when the temperature would be in the low 60s. I psyched myself up for it, preparing myself mentally and physically. I even made sure to eat extra carbs the night before, hydrated all weekend, and avoided my beloved cabernet (sob!). By the time Saturday evening rolled around, the weather promised to be slightly different: temperature in the mid- to upper 70s with 93% humidity.
NINETY-THREE PERCENT HUMIDITY.
I prepared myself for the likely total suckage of this run. I ingested a salt packet, filled up my fun new hydration belt, slathered on the sunscreen, and packed a GU energy gel. I wore as little clothing as decency would allow – I’ve been wearing a t-shirt over my obscenely tight running tank top because I feel self-conscious, but I knew that being overheated would suck more than feeling like a fatty. AT LEAST I’M ACTIVELY TRYING TO RUN IT OFF, HECKLERS.
Anyway. My plan was again to get the uphill (read: slight uphill grade) out of the way first, so that theoretically it would be easy-peasy downhill from 2 1/2 miles to 5. While this was probably my best bet, there was definitely no “easy” about this run. This was also my first run wearing my hydration belt, and eating a GU mid-run. I certainly have room for improvement in both of these areas – I dropped the bottles a couple of times trying to re-holster, and I made the rookie mistake of trying to inhale the GU as quickly as possible. While I didn’t choke on it, the sheer sweetness & texture of a mouthful of gel was a bit hard to not immediately projectile vomit.
Due to the temperature, I did have to again take three short walking breaks to reduce my heart rate. But as always, I paused the Nike+ while I walked, ensuring that I did in fact actually run five miles.
Gah! I almost managed consistent negative splits. So close. I also had to make myself start off slowly so that I could last five miles. I know that I should be ecstatic that I ran five miles, and that I had mostly negative splits, but I still can’t help being disappointed that I had to stop and take walking breaks. I’m really working on this, because I know better.
I also have to remind myself that I would never have been able to do this in the past, even when I was at my lowest weight. ESPECIALLY when I was at my lowest weight, because I starved myself to get there. Now I’m fueling my body properly, and look what it’s done – it’s run five miles. It’s dropped 28 pounds. It hasn’t gotten sick – not even a cold (knock on wood) all year. Continual positive thinking and encouraging myself as though I were encouraging a friend – that’s what is getting me through these runs, and through these lifestyle changes.
I shamelessly enhanced this photo to better show the perspiration. OMFG I have never been this sweaty. It was borderline painful – my eyes were all burning. I kept swallowing sweat too – good for replenishing salt, bad for the hydration.
I truly expected to be sore for days following this run, but I woke up Monday feeling fine. So fine, in fact, that I did Yoga Meltdown in the morning and managed a run in the evening. Luke came along with me – first time we’ve run together. He used to run in grad school, and also he’s six feet tall, so I expected him to leave me in the dust. His natural stride is much longer than mine, so I had to ask him to slow down a bit. We set out to run one mile, but I felt good enough to complete two. Luke sprinted the last 300 yards or so of his mile, and I continued on for another half mile, then turned around. Luke joined me again in sprinting my last 200 yards, and I finished really strong.
I hope that we can continue to run together, and maybe run some races together as well. It was strange to run without any music, but it was reassuring to have someone at my side. Life partner, running partner, it all sounds good to me.