Sunday, July 31, 2016

Short Stories on Sunday

July could be neatly categorized as hot and humid. As someone constantly editing prose in an effort to be concise in my dissertation writing, the weather and running here can be boiled down to those two words. While I’d rather be knee deep in snow, I’d still rather slog it around in the heat than not be able to run at all. Amid the consistently 90+ degree-days, a few bright spots and notes: - hot takes, if you will!
A couple of weeks ago, I did the Bastille Day Four Miler. Never got around to blogging about it, particularly because after we got back from the race, and hear about the terrible tragedy in Nice, there wasn’t much worth celebrating about Bastille Day. This race is a low-key $5 evening race on the C&O Canal in Georgetown. It was 97 and a heat advisory when I left the house to run to the race – the warm-up itself was redundant, I was dripping by the time I arrived to pick up my bib. Mercifully, even though the heat index had hit over 100 degrees, the race was in the shade, which offered at least a modicum of relief. While in the previous year, I averaged 6:45 pace on a hot day, this day required some scaling back in terms of pace. I figured around 7:00 pace was reasonable to get in a good effort but stay safe. I ended up averaging 7:00 exactly, although the way I did so was not even: 6:49, 7:10, 7:00, 3:34. Yes, the math doesn’t add up. They apparently measured the course short, which made for a surprise finish. 25:05 for 3.59 miles (7:00 pace) I still had a little energy left and would’ve kicked harder. Oh well. I chalked up to a good speed workout under challenging conditions and placed reasonably well (7th woman).
I haven’t paid too much attention to mileage lately – I’ve tended to average 30-35 miles lately, with a couple of weeks hitting 40, long runs tending to average between 10-12 miles, with the occasional 13-14. This is a far cry to the days where I was consistently running 40-50 miles, with a low week hit about 32 miles. However, with my eyes on a half marathon in September, I know I’d feel more confident getting back into the 40 mile weeks with a long run over the half marathon. I was happy to get up to 43 miles last week, even though it was one of the hottest weeks of the year. Other than my track workout of mile repeats, my pace hardly dipped below 9:00 miles – run your easy days, easy! And when it’s hot, slow down more! I got in 2 long runs in over the weekend, 10 and 12 miles, respectively. Although I would’ve liked to go further just to get in some extra mileage, it was the smart decision to stop. On both days, I was tired but not spent, sweaty, but not dehydrated or overheated. There is a fine line of tightrope walking in training in the heat, and I’d rather not fall off the wire!
I was pleased Wednesday to get in a second track workout. I did 8x800 at 7:30 in the morning (hubby had an early morning meeting which got both of us up and at ‘em), and thankfully about half of the track was in the shade. I like 800s a lot because they go by pretty quickly (much faster than the mile repeats) but not quite at the blistering pace of 400s. Again, I used to totally have a rhythm about these and could descend in times almost to the second in accuracy. It’ll take some time to recalibrate to that specificity. Quantitatively, I was hoping to knock off 2-3 seconds per interval – that did nott happen in reality: 3:26, 3:23, 3:20 3:14, 3:13, 3:12, 3:10, 3:10. Ok, so I was clicking things off nicely, and then overshot the 4th interval and basically needed to just hold steady. However, I never blew up: this was still a good set of progression intervals. Looking forward to going back to these old workouts on a new track with renewed grit and determination! Got a 15 mile run in on Saturday, making it the second consecutive week of 40+ miles.

I’m looking forward to cooler temperatures, but will continue to gut things out in the heat – albeit with smart and healthy tactics! Stay tuned, stay cool, and stay safe!

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