Wednesday, June 18, 2014

When a Run Goes Awry You Learn

Well, it happened. It's been a while, so I feel like it was overdue: The Bad Run.

Yes, I was getting into that pool ASAP and it was heavenly
I headed out the door just after 5:30 and could tell the sunrise was going to be gorgeous. I smiled and that might have been the last time I smiled. The air was so thick it smacked me in the face. It was already 77 degrees with high humidity and dew point. Hello Summer in the South!

Because the sunrise was looking promising, I headed towards the river. I noticed right away that my Garmin miles were way off - what should have been 1 mile wasn't even .9 yet. My pace was also crazy. I felt like I was working too hard so I checked and my handy dandy fancy old Garmin was showing 13+ minute mile then it jumped to almost 17 minute mile. I walk faster than that. I was annoyed because I wanted to see the pace to figure out if I was really working as hard as if felt or if it was the heat and humidity taking ahold of me.

It finally decided to play nice, besides the mileage being way off, and I realized that I was going to fast. In some ways that made me feel a little bit better about why I was struggling, but even as I slowed, it continued to feel impossible. Each step felt heavy, my breathing labored, sweat was pouring down my face into my eyes.

Even better, I had an itch between my shoulder blades that I couldn't ignore and couldn't reach. I had stopped at one point to desperately try to reach it and had some man walking on the other side call out, "Don't stop. Keep going." Ok Mr. bleepity bleep let me just tell you ...

But, I did just that, I kept going with the promise of a downhill stretch and that sunrise. By the time I got to the river, I decided not to stop and take yet another sunrise shot, but I did marvel at it. It never gets old. Around mile 5 I was heading back up and up and up a stupid long bleeping incline. It's not steep, it's just never-ending. I finally had to stop at one point to collect myself, to catch my breath and try to let my heart rate drop some.

After I reached the top of the mile + long incline, I needed to put on my sunglasses as the sun was getting high in the sky. I welcomed that stop and also took advantage of sprinklers.

Thank you to all those who water their lawns in the summer - sincerely every crazy runner.

The last 2 miles were a complete fight. I kept reminding myself of the promise of the pool. The sunrise was no longer on my mind. Now my goal in life was to get into my pool.

So, the run was bad. Really bad. I had to stop a few times. I fought with myself a lot. But I finished what I started. Have I mentioned that I'm really really stubborn? Initially I thought maybe I could get in 9-10, have my long run done. Fairly early on, too early actually, I knew that wasn't going to happen. Not even an option really.

I could go on and on about the woes of that run. But I'll stop. I've vented enough. I also know that there are several reasons why it was hard. Last week we had unusually cool mornings - like 62 degrees with fairly low humidity. Then, pretty much overnight the humidity gods took over. Today I learned (or remembered) a few things:

  • I'm going to have to acclimate my body to the new summer running conditions. 
  • I'm going to have to take it slower and be ok with that. 
  • I'm going to have to take breaks if I need to and be ok with that. 
  • I'm going to have to start carrying my larger water bottle no matter how much I hate to lug it along.
  • I'm also going to have to pay better attention to my electrolytes. I felt really crummy after the run. I've gotten used to not taking any sort of GU or chomps for anything less than 12 or 13 miles. Now I'm going to need to do something much much sooner or at least have Gatorade or NUUN afterwards. 

Lessons learned today. And that's all you can do when a run goes awry. There are usually reasons. Better to learn from the mistakes, let the negativity go, and look forward to the next run.

On the upside, I did use an adequate amount of body glide to avoid chafing, I have scouted out some fantastic water sprinklers, I remember to carry a paper towel along to wipe off my glasses when I needed to take them off my head and actually wear them, and I did enjoy another sunrise.

How do you handle a really bad run or workout?