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Miserable Runs in the 2k12 Summer Heat: Installment 1

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About a month ago, I touched on the notion that the summer was about to hit, and, well, life was about to become miserable for we running types. Thanks to my lack of attention span, my inability to understand weather forecasts, and my horrible reluctance to pay attention to things that I talk about, I got bit in the ass pretty badly by the heat on my long run this past weekend.

So, what did I do wrong on Saturday? Pretty much everything, so we might as well break it down starting on Friday night.

Friday: Three people, three and a half pitchers of beer. That's not helpful w/r/t the running.

Saturday: Slept in until 10. Wife ran at 8:30, considered getting me up because it was hot out. She didn't, because I like sticking to the plan. She was right; I should have ran early.

Dragged ass getting going in the mid-morning. Planned my ten mile route, had a gel and a glass of water. Put my Metro Card in the pocket of my water bottle (I'm not sure if this was me contingency planning or giving myself an easy out. I've thought about it a lot and still don't really know). Got out the door at 11:30 -- prime sun time.

Headed out along the National Mall, reining in my pace. Stopped at a water fountain twice to top off the tank. Had to walk at two crosswalks, no big deal. No shade to be found, but I figured that'd happen on the Mall. Headed north on Rock Creek Parkway, no shade their either. I hadn't really planned for that. Stopped to walk about five miles into my run, earlier than I'd hoped to but it was damned hot and sunny.

At about five miles in I started to strongly consider using my Metro pass once I got back downtown. At this point I was mentally done.

Walked up a half-mile hill around mile 6. Nothing in the tank at this point -- not because of GI problems or a hangover or low energy, but but because of the sun. Once I got to the top of the hill I started moving (slowly) again. I made it past Dupont Circle, got to a Metro station, and stopped.

The station was actually closed; I walked about 3/4 of a mile to the next station and then got on the train, all sad/defeated/gross.

The beat-the-heat tips that are pretty obvious that I ignored on Saturday's run include (but aren't limited to):

  • Not drinking the night before a long run
  • Not running during the sunniest hours of the day
  • Not running in the shade
  • Not taking food along for the run

Sometimes there's no better reminder of how to do things correctly than doing them totally wrong. It's damned hot out, and it will be for months. Half-assing long runs isn't going to do me any favors, and I'm hoping that this past weekend's miserable failure will stay fresh in my mind for the next few months.