New Jersey temperatures soared to 96 degrees, but I ran the farthest I ever have in my life!
I’m pretty sure flames sprouted from my shoulders during yesterday’s run. The sun bore a hole under my skin and camped out there, sparking a few mini-fires – like a circle of campfires lighting around a lake on a summer evening. This is what I was mentally comparing the tiny heat flecks on my exposed skin as I put one foot in front of the other yesterday.
It was so hot even I – who hates AC, gets cold when the temp dips below 72, and drinks hot coffee while languishing in the sun – started to seek refuge in shade.
Yes, I brought water and my cell phone in the event I flattened on a sidewalk of heat stroke, left to a good Samaritan to call 911. Given that I rarely pass many people along my Hudson River running path, and that you can’t rely on the kindness of a stranger to help anyway, I took the proper precautions. Although stupid enough to run in scorching heat, I’m not stupid enough to run ill-prepared.
My plan to keep pace at a light, slow, jog worked for about 3 miles – then I walked – a lot. It was a productive walk/run mix, where at times I felt the most supreme running-on-air-runners-high of my life! It was an amazing run, jolting me into happyland. I felt like my body was actually strong enough to carry me. I wasn’t physically tired and even my breathing had gotten better. It was all working like a walk/run machine…until I hit around mile 9, at which point I made the decision that running was over. I kept speed walking for the remaining 3 miles back to my home and called my parents to catch up on family happenings.
I know I’m supposed to wake up with the birds and run at 6am but that doesn’t fit in with my more raccoon-like sleep schedule.
It might be masochistic, but I love the heat, so in general this isn’t a deterrent, except that it drains energy quicker. Due to this, I instead made the workout goal to simply hit 13 miles even if I walked a lot of it. (Which I didn’t do, but 12 miles is pretty close!) The current goal is to consistently get myself used to those distances, even if the whole thing isn’t running or jogging pace. I speed-walked as I tapped this post out on my Blackberry – at least I multi-tasked. What can I say? Three hours gets boring if I don’t mix up the workout!
During the non-running portion of the epic workout, I reveled in a long summer’s walk. I also humored myself by searching “sun” on my iPod, which pulled an eclectic mix of songs from “Blister in the Sun” by the Violent Femmes to a sole-pushing techno version of “Let the Sun Shine”, that 1969 flagship song, creating a topical playlist for such a summer day.
The heat became a non-issue in the middle of the run, but wickedly laughed at me when I realized I’d run out of water miles ago, and my tongue had the same consistency it does when I wake up after a long night of salted margarita glasses and shots of tequila. By this point, I felt like a slug being salted by the sun.
At least I stayed entertained and didn’t waste the hot day. I overloaded at brunch on whole wheat chocolate chip banana pancakes in anticipation of a long run and couldn’t leave those carbs unused!
Note to anyone who actually CAN run marathons, and trains in a more appropriate manner – I know my “training” ways are unconventional, but in general, I don’t do well by the book. I will cross that finish line on Sept. 19th come high or hell water – and never promised to wake up at 6am to make that happen!