Monday, July 22, 2013

Only 42 days until Labor Day!

Yes I am counting down the days til the end of summer.  I'm done with it.  I'm sick of the triple H - Hazy, Hot, Humid weather.  It has been ridiculously gross and unbearable so far.  Based on July I am afraid of what August is going to be like.
So, I haven't written an update in a while, but not a whole lot is going on so I didn't have much to write about.  Just trying not to die in this heat.  Last week for example, Sunday the 14th I ran a half marathon up in Portland, ME.  It was probably one of my worst races ever.  It started at 7:30am, but it didn't matter, it was already 80 degrees and sticky out.  The course was crowded and wicked hilly.  I ran out of water twice, but refilled at water stations along the way.  By the time I passed the 10 mile marker I was toast.  I was so ready to be done it wasn't funny.  I just told myself, just a 5K.

Pretty sure I had stopped sweating, but it was tough to tell because the humidity was so high that nothing was evaporating off me anyway.  I could feel my brain boiling and when I got to the last mile I actually started to black out.  I could tell things were going dark and I was starting to have dry heaves.  Passed the 13 mile marker and thought, just a tenth of a mile and you're done.  Only, it wasn't a tenth of a mile.  It was .28!!!!! The course was measured at 13.28 and no one bothered to tell the runners until AFTER the race.  So the end felt ridiculously long.....because it WAS.  AND on top of that, when I crossed the finish delirious and dehydrated I was handed an EMPTY water bottle!!!!!!  They were trying to be green and hand out reusable bottles, but they should have filled them for us!  Holy F*ck it was hot and there were 3000 runners waiting in line to fill empty bottles.  (BTW- 5 people were hospitalized and several more treated for heat exhaustion)
I probably should have been one of the people hospitalized.  I was delirious, heaving, and dropping F-bombs like it was my job because I just didn't have the patience to deal with my mom badgering me about what I wanted to do for the rest of the day.  I was focused on NOT PUKING and didn't really give a F*CK what we did for the rest of the day.  We ended up going to brunch at my brother's favorite place because they had $2 Bloody Mary's.  I drank about a gallon of water and took 1000mg of sodium, but it didn't help a whole lot.  I still felt like death. 

The rest of the week I basically tried to recover from the damage done to my body during the race.  I had no appetite, my digestion was messed up even if I did eat something.  I had a headache pretty much consistently every day all week.  I didn't run because the heat index was over 100 every day.  I did go to another Pole Fitness Class and it was even harder than the first two classes, but still wicked awesome.  That shit is NOT easy.  It is definitely an amazing work out.  The highlight of the week was on Wednesday, after work I met Denise at her place in Waltham and we went ot Walden Pond and went swimming.  Checked off another item on my 'to-do' list.  Walden pond.  It was pretty cool, but the water was so warm it wasn't really refreshing.  I feel like the entire week my core temperature was above normal no matter how much AC was blasting.  I felt sick and grumpy and tired all week.  It didn't matter what I did to cool off or re-hydrate.

This past weekend I still wasn't feeling great so I decided to take it easy and just chill.  I did a short 2.62 mile charity run for Jeff Bauman on Saturday and then worked on my scrapbook for 2013, framed and hung teh Boston Magazine cover posters, and napped on my couch for the rest of the day.  Sunday I wanted to do my long run, but I woke up with the worst headache and my body hurt all over like right after I totaled my car so I figured it was a sign to skip the run and start fresh this week.  Temperatures finally broke out of the 90s and are slightly less oppressive in the 80s.  After resting all day yesterday, I am feeling pretty good.  Recharged and ready to get my Berlin training going.  I have 14 miles on the schedule for this weekend and then I get up into the really high mileage (16-20 milers all through August).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What a difference a few degrees makes

It's been hot, I mean really, really, ridiculously hot for the last week or so.  Heat index has been over 100 degrees several days.  I am counting down the days until summer is over because running in this weather sucks a lot.  (55 days until Labor day in case you were wondering)  I thought maybe something was wrong with me or that I had lost some level of fitness recently and slacked off too much or got lazy, but no it's just friggin hot and humid and gross weather to run in.  Many days I don't feel like running at all because it's in the 90s with humidity between 60 and 70% which makes it feel like 105-115.  One day it was actually 100 degrees out and I made the wise decision to not even attempt to run in that.

I looked up a formula for the impact of temperature and humidity on running pace and found a pretty good one: Add 2% to your time for every 5 degrees warmer between 60 and 75F, and then double that impact for each additional 5 degrees up to 85.

• 55-60 degrees - 1% - 10:00 becomes 10:06
• 60-65 degrees - 3% - 10:00 becomes 10:18
• 65-70 degrees - 5% - 10:00 becomes 10:30
• 70-75 degrees - 7% - 10:00 becomes 10:42
• 75-80 degrees - 12% - 10:00 becomes 11:12
• 80-85 degrees - 20% - 10:00 becomes 12:00
• Above 85 degrees - Forget it ... run for fun and not time
• Add 1 second per mile for every percentage point the relative humidity exceeds 65%

Yeah, it has been above 85 degrees for probably two weeks straight, with several days above 90.  I was getting sort of depressed and disappointed with my running paces being around 11:00min/mile, but now I don't feel so bad about it.  Plus, I'm pretty happy I haven't died yet.  Although I do get heat exhaustion almost every time I run the summer because my core temperature goes up so high and I sweat more than I can possibly replace with fluids and salt tablets.  I'm averaging about 3-4lbs/hr for my sweat rate.  Whether I run for an hour or two I am dripping and completely soaked by the time I finish and then as soon as I stop it turns to crusty salty skin.
This past weekend I did a 13 mile run Saturday and tried to wake up early to beat the heat, but when I checked the forecast the night before it looked like it wasn't going to make much of a difference because Accuweather was predicting at 5am it would be 75 degrees with 90% humidity, but then at 7am it would be 80 degrees with 75% humidity so either way it was going to feel disgusting.  So, based on that information I opted for a little extra sleep.  When I finally got motivated and headed out the door it was already pretty nasty out.
I felt great while I was running, just slower than normal, but overall even paced and no issues.  I didn't feel sluggish or sick.  My legs felt great and my heart rate was fine.  I went out with the intent to feel it out for the first few miles and turn around if I thought it was too hot.  My pace was a lot slower than I'm used to but I was feeling really good so I added onto the 10 mile loop I was on and made it 13.  I was able to refill my water bottles with about 3 miles left to go, good thing too because the week before I didn't top them off and I ran out of water and started puking before I got home.  This week I topped off my bottles and kept on going.  I finished strong and felt really good about it.  I averaged 11:30s with the slowest miles being uphill or when I stopped to choke down a gel.  But overall I was very consistent.  Considering the conditions I am very happy with the result.  Here's what the weather was like when I finished:
The red exclaimation point on both screenshots is for a heat advisory and note the info about outdoor fitness "Today is a poor day for outdoor fitness", yes I know, thanks Accuweather, but I have a marathon to train for.  I took my ritual ice bath after the run and melted 50lbs of ice in less than 5 minutes with my intense body temp.  In the winter I usually bundle up and brew some tea to stay warm while I soak, but that was not necessary Saturday.  I actually sipped a glass of ice water to cool myself off from the inside while I sat there in a tub full of ice water. 

I was going to go for another run Sunday, but I got sucked into the Tour de France coverage and by the time it was over it was almost noon and would be deadly to try and run even a few miles at that time of day.  So, I took a nap on the couch in the AC instead.  I finished up the weekend with a burst of productivity and did a few loads of laundry, grocery shopping, and made a giant bowl of pasta salad for the week. 

I am really glad 4th of July has come and gone, because the sound of fireworks or other explosive like noises in my neighborhood was really disturbing to me and I was losing A LOT of sleep.  I actually talked to the Lowell Police about it and whether or not I should bother to call them.  They said I should because Fireworks are illegal in Mass. and every year they respond to people accidently injuring themsleves or others with them.  I ended up sleeping with earplugs in all last week, but if anything blows up from now on through the rest of the summer I will not hesitate to contact LPD.  Sunday night I got probably the best night sleep I have had in two months.  I woke up Monday morning ready to go to work with a resting heart rate of 50bpm.

Yesterday I went for a run after work.  I was fully prepared to bail if it felt too hot and prepared with water, salt and gel in case I wanted to gut it out and just run despite oppressive heat and humidity.  To my surprise and extreme excitement, it was only about 80 degrees out and there was a light breeze along the Charles.  It was AWESOME!  I had my fuel belt and a few gels and was able to refill at one of the water bubblers along the way.  I was going to just do 5-6 miles but I felt so great I did 8.5 miles.  I was even tempted to keep going, but I was getting hungry for more than just carb replacement gels.  I averaged 10:40s and couldn't be happier because I was getting kind of sick of seeing 11:00s on my Garmin.  I hope that this means it is the end of 90+ weather, but I know it will return at some point before the summer is over.  I will just have to put up with it for 55 more days.  I just can't wait for cool crisp fall air and running in 50 degree days.  Some people love summer and the hazy hot and humid 'dog days', I am just not one of those people.