Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hazy, Hot, Humid, and HORRIBLE!

Here's another "H" word for you summertime - HATE.  Ugh.  So, not my favorite season at all.  Actually, summer is my LEAST favorite season of the entire year.  Yup, I'd take a few days shovelling a couple feet of snow over sunny, sweating my buns off standing still days in a heartbeat.

Speaking of heartbeat, last week we had a mini-heat wave.  Three days in a row of 90+ degree heat and high humidity.  Wednesday was the first day of the heat wave and although the heat index was 104 degrees I was not going to miss my weekly running date with Kim (and booty dropping dance party with her wicked cute daughter post-run).  I headed to her house afterwork and watched the thermometer in my car climb.  Just stepping out of my car from the cool air conditioned interior into the heavy hot air made me start sweating and dreading the run. 

I jokingly suggested skipping the run and going for ice cream instead.  We figured we would just do a short out and back and see how it went.  Both of us wore our fuel belts and within the first half mile we were dripping sweat.  I could tell right away that it was going to be rough.  We were chatting, but it was difficult for me to get more than one or two words out at a time and we were not going fast.  I looked down at my heart rate monitor and I was totally maxed out in the first mile.  Kim was fine.  It's SO frustrating to me that I can run for miles and miles under the right conditions, but as soon as the temperature gets above 70 I'm crippled and slowed to a crawl on the verge of heat stroke.  When we got to 1.5 miles I told Kim we needed to turn around.  She could have kept going, but I was dying, literally.

The last 1.5 miles were slightly uphill but it might as well have been straight up a vertical wall.  My heart rate was maxing out at 174bpm almost at my anaerobic threshold.  I could feel my body working to push my blood to my muscles and I couldn't breathe deep enough to get oxygen in my system fast enough.  I chest felt tight and I was drenched in sweat.  I couldn't even answer simple questions and when Kim told me to go right I went left.  If I pushed any harder I would have passed out.  I had to stop and walk and let me heart rate drop to 160 before continuing, then it would spike right back up again and I'd stop and walk and repeat that for the last half mile or so.
We got back and although I averaged only 10:40s for 3 measley miles I felt like I had run a marathon on the surface of the sun.  It took a good 15-20 minutes for my heart rate to drop to a normal range.  I hovered around 135-140bpm for a while.  As soon as it was below 120bpm I slowly got into the pool to cool off a little more.  It is seriously frustrating to want to run and not be able to because my heart and lungs can't function in extreme heat.  I really wish there was a way to force my body to work.  The next two days the temperatures were in the high 90s and near 100 if not slightly over 100 and I decided to rest.  No point killing myself just to do a few junk miles.

Saturday morning Kim and I met SUPER early (5:45am) at the Tufts Track to do our long run before the 26x1 marathon relay race we were both signed up for.  We had 12 miles on the schedule and needed to finish before 8:00am when Kim's husband had to start the relay off with the 600m speed lap.  It had rained a little the night before but the humidity still hung in the air and the temperature although not nearly as high as it was the last three days was still pretty oppressive and in the mid-70s.  It kind of felt like running through wet cement.  We did ok though, Kim mapped out a nice little loop for us to run around a pond nearby with a nice well kept running/biking path.  About 4 miles into the run, it started to rain a little, then A LOT. 

It was POURING rain down on us, but it felt really good because it was so hot and humid out.  It actually wasn't that bad until we started seeing lightning bolts.  I counted the seconds between the lightning and the thunder and assured Kim that as long as the lightning and thunder weren't right ontop of each other we were safe.  The first strike was a count of roughly 7 seconds.  The second one was 4 seconds and I'll admit, that was a little scary.  But then the lightning stopped and we were on our way back to the track.  We finished up our 12 miles exactly at 8:00am and the relay was delayed by half an hour due to the rain so it worked out perfect. 

It's a pretty cool event.  I did it last year too.  Several teams compete and each team is made up of 26 people that each run one mile around the track and one person runs an extra "speed" lap to make up the .2 for a full marathon.  Kim and I were later in the rotation so we had time to rest after our long run.  Thankfully we both had dry clothes to change into too.  We were totally soaked from running in the morning monsoon.  It had sort of stopped raining when they started the relay.  The clouds hung around for a while and the humidity was still making it kind of nasty out, but it was still a really fun atmosphere.  All different abilities running their fastest mile.  Some sub-5 minute mile super fast people and some back of the pack more moderately paced people.  All supporting and cheering each other on. 

I was 24 in the rotation on my team (RaceMenu) and naturally, by the time I had to run, the sun came out and it was hot and humid.  I did not expect much considering I ran 12 miles early in the morning and I was exhausted before I started, but I was pretty pleased with my 8:30.  I think last year I did a 7:45 or something, but whatever, I don't care, it's not about speed for me, it's about the experience and having a good time and that mission was accomplished.  I went home after the relay, showered, ate some lunch, and crashed on my couch for a few hours.

Sunday morning, I had to wake up early again.  This time for a triathlon.  It was a sprint in Webster, MA at Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg (Nipmuc indian for - you fish on your side, I fish on my side, no one fishes in the middle).  1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 3 mile run.  Still a little tired from the day before I just had fun with it.  The swim was nice.  It felt really long, but the water was warm and I wasn't the last one out of the water.  I passed a bunch of people on the bike and then started counting people on the run because it was an out and back so I could see exactly how many people were behind me and added to that when I passed someone.  I finished and felt pretty good.  Nice little weekend workout.  I didn't stick around for awards, I was fairly certain I didn;t win anything.

Headed home and relaxed for the rest of the weekend.  Did my grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, etc.  Can't believe it's almost July!  That means the Tour de France starts next weekend!!!  Bummer my favorite, Andy Schleck is out because he fractured his sacrum (Low back/part of his pelvis), but still excited to watch it.  I've got 3 more triathlons in July, maybe a century bike ride.  Chicago training is ramping up.  Pumkinman Half Ironman is only 75 days away.  AND Goofy 2013 is only 200 days away!  Yippee!  Still keeping busy and totally addicted to running despite the stupid weather making it difficult.  Summer Solstice has passed so that means fall is right around the corner!  Bring on the cooler temps! 

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