100 degrees fahrenheit (38C) here in the Twin Cities today. Phew! I had planned a 7 mile run as part of my marathon training. At 9am, (already around 85 (29C) degrees), I checked the weather report and read this:
EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING - A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS…STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM…STAY OUT OF THE SUN… AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.
Oh….well snow, ice and extreme cold were tough to run in during the winter, recent storms have made it nearly impossible lately and now this! Well, if I let the weather stop me, I’d never run. I’m not sure where the dumb, blind bravado came from but I dug it up from somewhere and ventured out. I learned that it is possible (although a little stupid), to run 7 miles in this heat, I also learned that I run slower at 90 (32C) degrees than I do at 70 (21C) but faster than I do at 0 degrees (-17C). I discovered that having your car parked at a 4 mile loop, loaded with powerade, makes the last 3 miles a little more bearable. The promise of a beer and lunch with a friend, overlooking the lake is excellent motivation (and perfect reward!). Another new fact – emergency contact details written on a Livestrong band with a sharpie do not endure excessive sweat (a precaution I took considering the warning above).
It’s a good job nothing went wrong!
I may have to consider getting them tattooed on my leg. I predicted that it would be most sensible to leave the compression socks at home this time – that, I think, is about the only sensible decision I made!
That said, I still love running at this time of year. I love the tree-lined trails. You cannot beat the feeling when the trail opens up, the sun beats down on your face and the sound of the lake lapping at the shore resonates at your side. Yes, it’s hard work and yes, it takes a looong time for the pink cheeks to dissipate, but it’s perfect! It’s not always this hot. There will be plenty of comfortable running opportunities this summer (mostly at 6am or 9pm), – there has to be…I have a marathon to train for! It’s not really necessary for me to run this far in this heat, I won’t do it again…..well……
My official marathon training plan started today. I bounced out of bed and dressed for the run, in the dark incidentally, hence my compression socks were on the wrong feet….luckily I noticed before I put my running shoes on or else who knows what would’ve happened?! My run was short but nevertheless required a certain amount of endurance. I began in high heat and humidity, battling against strong winds, before the skies dumped a suitably cooling amount of rain on me. I take gratification in the fact that I can check the final two elements off my shirt….
(Snow and sleet I tackled in the exceptional Minnesota winter.)
Other than the night after I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon, I have not thought too much about the magnitude of the event (at least I’ve been trying not to!). I stayed awake most of the first night, tossing and turning thinking “What on earth have I done? What am I getting myself into?” Since then, I’ve been treating it as something I’ll just pop out and do on the morning of October 2nd in order to work up a suitable appetite to enjoy a barbecue with friends. However, I read a chapter of “Mile Markers” yesterday entitled “The Wall”. Hmmm….I think I had decided I was invincible and “the wall” won’t apply to me. Maybe it won’t. But, the more I read about this psychological running deterrent, the more I am convinced it is real. Needless to say, I will need many supporters around mile 18 – 22….please bring pick-axes! I have been fortunate (debatable) to read many other interesting titbits on marathon running/training. I have learned that it hurts….sometimes a lot! I have read that stairs can only be negotiated in reverse for the days following the 26.2 miles. I won’t even go into the effect on bodily functions! Now I am ready to be respectful. Today marked the start of my mental training for the race – I have 18 weeks to get both mind and body up to scratch!
My little run out also got me reflecting on my last blog post. I started to picture a coach yelling at me about my form “Pick those knees up, straighten your back….”, miraculously, my posture improved and my stride lengthened. Had anyone told me I was useless at that point, I am convinced I would have crumpled to the ground. I hope there is someone out there on October 2nd screaming “Good job Anna! You’re looking good!”.