Eating Humble Pie -
Today's weather, in Indy? 92 degrees; the hottest recorded day of the year. And who went running at peak "shake-n-bake" time? Yours truly. With teaching class this morning and family duties awaiting me when I got home, I had only one window of opportunity to fit in my long run. It was 3:00pm, on the dot, when I left.
Today's run was supposed to test my edges in terms of my endurance and if I was up for a 90 minute run on some hilly terrain just west of Brownsburg. I committed to a 40 minute turn around time, meaning that no matter what, I was gonna turn around at the 40 minute mark, knowing that my time would be slower on the return. I figured that was smarter than going too long and having to call for a ride because I blew up a few miles from home (a lesson learned from reading too many books about climbing Mt. Everest).
The first few miles were not too bad, sure it was hot as heck and sure I had more than a few odd stares from people in their air conditioned cars wondering what in the heck I was doing, other than that, all was going well. After I topped the first hill, practicing my technique and breathing, I felt pretty good, hot and finding it difficult to breath in the hot air, yet everything seemed to be going well. The next couple of hills went well and I was feeling pleased with my climbing/descending and my fitness. Though by this point the heat was quickly becoming the deciding factor.
Once I hit the 40 minute mark, I did a "180" and began to retrace my route. I almost always run off of "rating of perceived exertion" rather than heart rate, I find that intuitive running works best for me. Yet, I've also been at this game long enough to know that in extreme heat, you gotta keep a close eye on all the "gauges" and watch for any cautions. So, after the turn around I started checking my pulse every 5 minutes or so and found that I was consistently between 180 - 185, which for an old fart like me is pretty high. In general, I "felt" okay, I'd say on a scale of 1-10 I was around a "7 - 7.5", but like I said, the heat was becoming more and more of a factor. My legs felt fine and aerobically, I felt fine, but my body was having to work overtime in an attempt to dissipate heat. Nothing you can do about that, folks, the body has to do it's thing to keep you from baking your brain or going into heat stroke mode and dying.
Fortunately, I had my new Camelbak with me, and was able to sip water and then I'd fill up my hat and pour the water over my head. It helped slightly, but only temporarily (mental note, next time add ice to the Camelbak!). I was also zig-zagging from one side of the road to the other any time there was an opportunity to run in the shade, which helps a little as well.
By the time I hit the hour and ten minute mark, the sun was really drilling me and the tattoo on my left shoulder felt like it was being baked into the skin, as though running in a pottery kiln. There was nothing I could do to keep my heart rate below 180 and I knew things were going to go down hill fast unless I could begin to manage my heart rate. Rather than pushing on like a true idiot/egomaniac, I began doing intervals of running and power walking and throwing more water on myself every few minutes. I continued doing this for the next ten minutes and began feeling improvement and was able to run the last 10 minutes home. I arrived at almost exactly 90 minutes, and felt a little pleased about my effort.
Once I arrived home, I cooled down by dousing myself with water from the garden hose and then a cool shower and some hydration.
On the one hand, going for a 90 minute run today, at peak heat, was pretty darn stupid and I would probably kick any of my clients/Test Pilots butts for doing such a thing. And my ego was a little bummed about having to walk part of the course. On the other hand, I felt great that I had not bailed on my workout (No Excuses), I had made the 90 minute mark, and I had listened to my body and it's needs. The big deal here is to truly know yourself and to have plenty of experience before doing a fool thing like I just did. You also need to have an emergency plan (had my cell phone with me) and you need to know all the warning signs for heat related illness and to NEVER ignore them or be in denial, that will only get you seriously hurt or killed.
Eating More Humble Pie --
Later this evening, when we returned from church I caught the last 10 miles of the men's Olympic marathon. They were running in temps of the high 80's and still set a new Olympic record. And here I was getting my butt handed to me on a 90 minute run! Though I did feel a little better when the announcer said that 1) the winner was only 21 (I'm 40). 2) The winner is only 5'4" (I'm 5'10") 3) And the winner only weighs 112 pounds! (I currently weigh 195). So comparing myself to him, I'm an old guy 6 inches taller and wearing a winter parka : -)
Thanks for reading.