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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Only Gettin' Hotter

Good Lord, it's hot in this state. And it's not getting better any time soon.

This morning, I declared shenanigans on The Weather Channel and their supposed forecasting for Austin, Texas. There is simply no way that it was only 81 degrees during my run. Perhaps in the shade, with the wind, and maybe a fan nearby, but the second I got into the sun, the temperature skyrocketed. The heat index was something like 95, and that's really all that matters when you're running.

Heat was not the only thing working against me this morning, though. First, I spent a great deal of time in the sun with beer yesterday at a 4th of July party, and even if you're not moving around very much, that will sap a lot of your energy reserves. Add to that a little time in the pool and one (ill-advised) lap of butterfly, combined with my too-fast pace run in the morning, and I wasn't running on much fuel. This was something I did not consider until I was already about a mile into the run and I felt the heaviness filling my legs.

So, I did what I had planned to do in the first place. Take my time, pay no attention to my pace, and just keep putting one foot in front of another. At three miles, I was already drained, and my goal of completing this run without stopping was looking unlikely, especially since this was when the uphill portion began. I had to slow down for a few of the intersections, but I didn't stop the watch. However, I as made my last turn north, I had six blocks directly in the sun. I hadn't thought to bring my camel pack with me, and I was recognizing just how much I was going to need water. My turn west was all uphill, and a block from my turn south, I decided to walk for a block, still not stopping the watch.

This was the nice part of the run. Mostly downhill, it was also full of fun scenery. For one thing, I saw a young lady walking away from downtown wearing heels that did not seem sensible for a Sunday morning and an expression that said, "If you talk to me, I will kill you." I silently wished her a safe trip home and then noticed a street blocked off. For a moment, I got excited, hoping that there was some sort of street festival for the 4th, but then I realized that only one block had been closed, and there was nothing set up. It took me a moment to realize that I was passing the W Hotel, which is currently dealing with a little issue of panes of glass falling onto the street. Not good. I covered my head with my arms and ran a little faster for that block.

As I hit the trail, I felt great about having the end in sight. In addition, I had a chance to get a little water from the various fountains along the course. Still, I did not stop my watch until I got to what I call the Oasis at Mopac. I'm sure there are better names for it, but one of the running groups or shops here in town (I can't remember which), has a setup of 16 or so water coolers at two locations around Town Lake for all the people working out there. What makes it so wonderful is that they water is actually cold, unlike most of the fountains. For this one spot, I stopped the watch and caught my breath a bit. Someone was passing out granola bars, but since I didn't have any way to carry one home, I just avoided them, drank my water, and then got started again.

The remainder of the run... well... sucked. I had to walk a couple times, but only for a little bit each time. I was simply out of energy, and the sun wasn't getting any cooler. In fact, that's the only thing that kept me moving - the longer I stayed outside, the hotter it was going to get. If I chose to stop and rest, then the temperature would just continue going up, and since the heat was the real challenge, I did not want the workout to get more difficult, so I kept moving.

Overall, I wasn't particularly thrilled with the run. I worry about my endurance these days, since I haven't been able to finish a long run without walking in some time. Even though I know that the heat is a big part of the issue, it's an issue I want to conquer. If I can get up my endurance in a Texas summer, there will be no weather problem too difficult. At least one of my planned marathons is in the south in summer, so I'll have to be ready. I've just got to work on getting up before the sun, because once that sun comes out, life gets difficult.

For today, I'm just glad I finished the miles. In the last seven days, I've run as many miles as I did in Seattle, and it took me more time during the week. However, that means that, in the week following my best marathon ever, I was able to complete an entire training week, and that, in and of itself, is a victory. The latitude I've been giving myself ends now, and I'm going to start focusing on being stronger and faster.

After all, I've only got 17 weeks.

Sunday's Run:
81 Degrees / Sunny
10.24 Miles
1 Hour, 24 Minutes, 14 Seconds

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