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.
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.
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…