It's official. The heat totally destroys me. By the time I started my 19 mile run today, it was 83 degrees and humid with bright sun. I coated myself in SPF 50 and hit Central Park so I could mix up some loops and keep it interesting. I was actually looking forward to it since it's been nearly a year since I've run that far. But then I got going and my outlook changed. I decided to let the first couple miles set the pace and they spoke loud and clear. I wouldn't be setting any records in this heat.
They are paving the East side of Central Park so the asphalt is super black and super hot. I thought I would die so I moved over to the bridle path, the scene of my recent trip-and-fall disaster. I ran carefully and was so relieved to get out of the sun for a bit. I went back and forth between the outer loop, middle loop and bridle path/reservoir and somehow managed to piece together 19 miles. But it was miserable and it was slow. Each long run seems to be getting slower and slower and this one, I can confidently say, was my slowest all year. My legs just wouldn't go. I started around 9 per mile, then dropped to 9:10-9:20 and eventually deteriorated to 10+ for a stretch. Around mile 14 I had to stop and actually lay on a park bench with my legs up over the back. I was in hideous pain and thought I'd pass out. I only rested for the duration of a song but it felt utterly ridiculous to be laying on the bench in the middle of a run. I really wanted to go to sleep. I wanted to quit. My left leg hurt so badly I swore it was broken. The pain started early and lasted the entire run. Why do I love running?
With all the walk breaks, Gatorade buying breaks, water breaks and the sad park bench break, I'm not sure this counts as a real long run, but it was the best I could do in the conditions. I pray it isn't hot on September 13. We haven't had enough heat to train in so I'm not acclimated and simply cannot handle it.
I got back to the gym, had a recovery drink and spent a good 20 minutes foam rolling and stretching. It took every ounce of determination to suit up and get in the pool. I wasn't scheduled to swim but with the setbacks this week, my coach said I could if I wanted. I didn't really want to, but felt I needed to. After a hot shower I headed down to the pool deck and figured I'd just do what I could. I have a "floater" swim each week, it's 600 x 4 or 5 depending on time, focused on catching and pulling. It's a nice swim because it's a decent pace and gives me time to work on my form. I decided to give this one a try and figured I might bail after three sets. But that determination continued and I completed four sets. I was fastest on the first and gradually slowed with each, no surprise. But when I logged the time I was surprised to see that my pace was pretty strong. I haven't been in the pool for two weeks and I was wiped from the run.
My legs feel completely trashed and I've got a big weekend ahead. Compression and ibuprofen will be my best friends as I prepare for my big day on Sunday. I'll be riding 100 miles just outside NYC and running 8 miles after. I have a huge swim tomorrow as well, but I'm actually looking forward to that. Anything that gives my legs a break at this point is lovely.
Distance - 19 miles
Time - 3:05:01
Distance - 2,624.67 yards (I swam in a meters pool)
Time - 48:29