Week Two is done, with another successful week of hitting all my workouts "on time and under budget." OK, I don't know what the under budget part would be, but that's what we say in the Project Management world when things work out like they should. And for the most part in Week 2, they did.
The week started off with a rest day, which I felt I really needed after the debacle of last week's long run. The heat just sucked the life out of me, and the chills & goosebumps I had after mile 9 of my 12-miler really shook me up, so I am going to have to experiment with salt tabs or electrolytes like Endurolytes or something more than a shake of salt in my water/gatorade mix bottles. I did take the opportunity to reintroduce myself to my foam roller, which I feel like I'm going to be doing a lot of in the next few months. It really did help to work out some of the kinks I develop in my upper back and shoulders when my form goes to heck in the later miles.
The Tuesday through Thursday runs were all five-milers, which is an interesting schedule. Uusally, my plans have involved a longer Wednesday run, and shorter distances on T/Th, but this new plan from the NYRR club called for 5/5/5 midweek. So I went with it. Tuesdays' run was fine, except I forgot to fuel and so was feeling a little energy-sapped halfway through.
Wednesday's run was in the evening, with my RLR peeps, and it was beastly hot. We did the first two miles of our first 5K loop in about 21 minutes, which is a speedy pace for us, especially at that time of the day. But a couple of our folks had lingering injury issues which forced us to slow down the last mile of the 5K so that we ended up with 35-minute time for the first loop. After we sat on the concrete and recovered for a bit, we made adjustments to the second loop so that we did a couple of out-n-backs in the shade for two miles. That worked out much better than usual route, and we were able to speed up and finish with a 19:30 for those last two.
Thursday's run was on the same route as the Tuesday run, and this biggest challenge there was that I ran it about 10 hours after I finished the Wednesday night run. That was a tough one, but I had refueled after Wednesday adequately, and remembered to fuel up before the morning outing, so at least I had something in the tanks to draw from for that one. I didn't take splits on this one, but I felt pretty strong, which pleasantly surprised me.
Saturday's run was a nice leisurely five-miler around my neighborhood, ending up at a new breakfast place to meet my friend. She usually meets me for our Saturday morning walks, but she needed a break from the exercise, but not the camaraderie, so we skipped the walk and just did the meetup & breakfast! I indulged in some delicious pancakes and then pretty much spent the rest of the day in a deep vegetative coma. Part of my exhaustion was that we had been up at 3:30 to take my older son to the airport for his Scout trek, so that alone wore me out.
Sunday was a race day, and by race, I mean a training run with full support from a Race Director and the support you get from seeing friends and fellow runners out on the same course with you. The name of the race was Too Hot to Handle, and let me tell you, it was. No lie. We got a late start, so it was closer to 8:00 by the time we got going, and even though we ran along a course that bordered the lake, enough of it was in the direct sun to make it pretty brutal. The shaded parts of the course were great, and we did get a little cooling breeze off the lake, but by and large, the overarching feeling I got was that it was just HOT. I had no expectations of this race, except to use it as a supported training run, and hopefully see some of my Twitter peeps. I might have checked previous results to see where the Athena finishers came in, but up until the day before the race, I also thought I was going to be pacing a friend at his speed, so I put any thoughts of placement out of my mind by race morning. He ended up not being able to run, but I still had expected to just use it as a training run, and not really race. Another of my fellow RLRs signed up for the shorter distance, so we met halfway between our homes for the early drive in.
I could tell when I walked out of the house that it was going to be beastly. The humidity was thick and it was already 84 degrees at 5:30 am. yeesh. We got to the race site in good time, and lucked into a great parking spot about a tenth of a mile from the start/finish line - it was perfect, so we could pick up packets, go back to the car and dump everything, then wander back to the start line and not feel wiped out. We saw @SeeKrisRun beforehand (she's hard to miss - she's tall and radiates AWESOME!!) and then decided to get into the monstrous porta-potty line. We had 45 minutes to spare before the start, and even though we cut it close, we did manage to get through it before the start time; as a bonus, we found another RLR about ten people in front of us in line and had time to chat since we were just standing around anyway! gotta love it!
So with all pre-race business done, we headed to the start, putting ourselves far back in the pretty big crowd. and we waited. and waited. and waited. Apparently, there was some delay while they checked on the hydration stations, whatever that means. Meanwhile, the already hot day? Getting hotter. They finally started us off about 20 minutes late, and when you add in the extra five minutes it took us to get to the start, I didn't start running until nearly 8:00. I would normally be home kicking up my soggy heels by that time for a summer run, so it was already ominous that we hadn't even started yet. But, it is what it is, right?
So, I took off, again, with no expectations of how I would do placement-wise or pace-wise, just wanting to run smart and finish strongly. The first three miles were great - I felt good, and found it pretty easy to get into a groove, once I managed to stay on the proper route (I may have gone a few feet toward the 5K turnoff before looking up and realizing I was going the wrong way!). The second three miles were good, too, although I did start to slow down some by then, mostly because I stopped to take a couple of Clif Bloks and then to stop and strip off my outer shirt at the turnaround. I also had to stop and dry off my iPod, because it wasn't responsive with the moisture on it. I also saw Libby in these middle miles - she wasn't running, but was doing a great job supporting all the runners with cheers & taking lots of pics, like this one! Thanks, Libby!
Mile 8 was tough. A large stretch of it was on unshaded paths, and I started getting the chilled feeling I had during my long run the week before. I had to slow down to a walk and recover until the feeling passed. I picked out a point a few hundred feet in front of me and determined that I would walk until I hit that spot and then start running again, even if it was at a much slower pace. And that's what I did, even though about three minutes before I was feeling great. The feeling just came over me really quickly. I took another few sips of my gatorade/water mix and when I started running again, I was able to keep it up through the end. It helped that I knew I was getting close, and also that I hit some more shady spots on the course. By then, I knew that any chance of Athena placement was out of the question - they'd averaged 10:30s the year before, and that walking stretch had increased my pace well beyond that. But I finished strongly, actually feeling really good by the last mile. My legs were solid, and my breathing was fine, it was just that little blip of feeling chilled & having goosebumps threw me off - that's a very disconcerting feeling when it's 90+ degrees outside.
As I pulled under the overpass to the finish line, I saw my friend Jennifer looking cool as a cucumber and waiting for me. She rocked the 5K with a 10/mile pace, which was awesome. We found some water, warm watermelon that still tasted really, really good, and then wandered around looking for some shade. I found my friend Kris again, and we took a couple of sweaty-post-run pics for twitter. But, by then, I was done and ready to go home. It had been a long morning! But overall, I felt like I did a great job with it, all things considered, and it was a fun race and a good route, even if it was Too Hot to Handle!!
Splits are below for posterity - I did these manually with the mile markers since I didn't charge the Garmin:
Mile 1: 10:29 - went out too fast in first 1/2 mlie, purposely pulled it back, did an OK job adjusting
Mile 2: 10:32 - settled into good groove by now
Mile 3: 10:34 - ready and waiting for all sprinklers at this point
Mile 4: 10:42 - still feeling strong, but feeling heat now
Mile 5: 11:14 - slowed down to fit with Clif Bloks package - forgot to open them beforehand
Mile 6: 10:45 - stopped at turnaround to take off top layer
Mile 7: 11:22 - starting to feel slow
Mile 8: 12:40 - we're walking, we're walking... may have sent a few texts in here... =)
Mile 9: 10:56 - feeling stronger, in the shade again, getting final kick in
Last stretch: 3:36 - felt really good for last stretch & finished strongly.
Oh, and BONUS: When I got home and checked results, I had won 2nd place Athena after all! WOOT! How 'bout that?! Truly made my afternoon!