Friday's run was about completing a new distance.
With the date of my official training looming, I'm gradually increasing some of the distances of my weekly runs. For the last few weeks, I've taken comfort in knowing exactly what each day of the week would bring. Sunday, four miles. Monday, five. Tuesday, eight. Wednesday, three. Thursday, fast. Friday, six. Saturday long. Easy enough. The most complicated part was figuring out if I was supposed to run north or south that day.
As I get closer to race day, however, my weekly mileage needs to increase, preparing my body for the long runs on the weekend. I need to get used to running, say, ten miles during the week, which makes the 20 on the weekend seem downright reasonable.
Keeping this in mind, my Friday run went from six miles to seven, which meant creating a new route which I have not done (short of long runs) in some time. I decided to try a different direction entirely, exploring a new area as I had done when I first came to Austin two years ago. My plan was to head south to the town of Manchaca, and then head back. It's right on the border of Austin, so the run isn't quite as far as it sounds. It did, however, feel much longer than it was.
You see, with a new route (especially in south Austin), you really have no idea what to expect. Sidewalks, hills, shade... these are all wild cards. Technically, I could know about the hills, but they're never adequately depicted on the elevation charts, so you don't know how they'll feel.
Now any of this would be completely doable. If, that is, the weather is reasonable. It was not reasonable on Friday. When I made it out for the run (after a busy morning of running around), it was 82 degrees without a cloud in the sky. The sidewalk ran out quickly, and though I had plenty of shoulder and was in no danger of cars, it meant running on hot black asphalt. Not to mention uphill for long stretches of time. And even this wouldn't have been bad, were it not for the last fact: not one tree along the route. It was, well, a bit toasty.
I completed the run, stopping a few times anywhere I saw a tree shortly off the path. I was pretty dehydrated, having not planned for the heat of the day, and with no water stops in sight, I felt the need to cool my body as much as I possibly could.
Normally, I love seven mile runs. An odd preference, to be sure, but seven is my favorite number for reasons long forgotten, and I always seem to find seven-mile courses that just feel right and are quite enjoyable.
Eh. They can't all be winners.