Saturday, July 23, 2016

The final stamp on week #1 came today in the form of the all-important long slow run.  Mother nature, like she had earlier this week, became a critical part of training by unleashing the start of what looks to be a week-long heat wave.  With temperatures predicted to be in the mid-90’s and heat indexes soaring over 100 I decided to try and “beat the heat” by getting out as early as possible.  There is very little I hate worse than having my alarm go off at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday but given the predicted conditions it was absolutely necessary.

So off I went at exactly 6:30 a.m. taking the first steps on the pavement for what I knew would be a difficult 10-miler.  The temperature was already 78 degrees with humidity at 94%.  It felt “soupy” as I shoved off.  My only saving grace was that the sun had not yet reached anywhere near its pinnacle in the sky, so plentiful shade was available early on.  Sure, I would run through strips of sunlight that gleamed through buildings, houses, and trees, but I avoided prolonged sun exposure for pretty much the first 2 1/2 miles.  It was there, however, that I was on East College Avenue approaching Salisbury University, where shade became almost nonexistent.

I kept my pace down knowing that I would need all of my resources in the second half of the run, and approaching miles 3-4 I also knew that I would get behind the University structures that would give me additional respite from this enemy death star known as the sun.

At the halfway point I was pleasantly surprised to find that more shade awaited me along the Wicomico River on Riverside Drive.  Nonetheless, I was sweating profusely as the heat continued to rise along with the dew point.  Just before mile 6 I snapped these two photos at the point where I once again was under the blazing rays of this nuisance.

hot

hot

very hot

very hot

Near mile 7 I snapped another picture along the Wicomico River (above).  The final three miles became almost unbearable.  My pace slowed and I took a few walk breaks.  The only shade that remained was a little here and there along the final stretch of mile 10, but by that point even the shade hardly mattered, slim as it was.

Along the Wicomico River. Usually Canadian Geese are here, but it was even too hot for them.

Along the Wicomico River. Usually Canadian Geese are here, but it was even too hot for them.

Despite all the difficulty I am happy to report that I did finish, and although the pace was not really what I had hoped for I took away a few positives from today.  With conditions too difficult to even attempt to run in, I was able to hold a decent pace for 7 miles.  I walked, but much less than I really could have, as I pushed through some difficult stretches along the way and kept going.  I also realized that sometimes you just have to re-adjust your expectations based on what Mother Nature throws at you.  That is something that nobody can control.  After all, she is, as Kramer says…

Run on…