The Triple Threat

I faced the triple threat today: heat, humidity, and hills.

Our running group met at 7:00 a.m. (perhaps later than we should have) for a 10-miler on the course of the October half-marathon. We are having typical August-in-Tennessee weather again. It's hot. It's humid.

I had never run this course, but I remember driving it once last spring and thinking, "There is NO WAY." There is hill after hill. Now, here I am committed to running the race in a little more than a month. I learned an important lesson today---run on hills more! My last two long runs (9 miles each) were on a flat, paved bike trail and the treadmill. They in no way prepared me for ten miles of rolling hills. What a difference!

It felt like we were running about 5 hours, but it was only two. We were deep in the country, surronded by farmland. I ran alongside corn fields and even saw 3 mules grazing in a pasture. (I actually thought, "I wonder if I could ride one of those to my car?") It was a loop, and I'm more of an out-and-back girl. The loop seemed ENDLESS, especially since I didn't know where I was going.

As usual, I ran out of fluids. I carried a small bottle of water (12 oz.) and had one Nathan fuel belt 10 oz. flask filled with G2 and one with water. You'd think that would be enough. But with 2.5 miles to go, I was empty. I guess I drank more due to the heat.

I did give away one ounce of water today. My dog-loving friend Rebecca would have been proud. At mile 3 on the run, a frisky little puppy started following us. Well, actually she was running in between our legs, tripping us up, and jumping up on us. But she was cute and sweet. (I'm guessing Golden Retriever or Lab or something.) She would not heed the commands of "Go home!" She decided we were HER PEOPLE and she was determined to run with HER PEOPLE. She ran with us for SEVEN MILES. She was panting and kind of frothy around her mouth, so other runners and I sacrificed precious ounces of our water for her. I squirted about an ounce of my water (when I was already running low) into her mouth. Seven miles in a fur coat is a long way. At the end of the run, one guy loaded her up in his car and drove her home. She hopped out at her house and lay down on the porch, exhausted but happy.

I fueled with raisins and pretzels again today. I have to say around mile 7 or 8, my body felt pretty done. I don't think real food quite gives me the boost that gels or Sports Beans or bloks do. Usually I can tell when a gel or whatever "kicks in" and my legs feel new(ish) again. The food-food didn't have that same effect. However, I didn't have stomach issues, either. I've still got to figure this all out.

All in all, it was not my best run, but I survived. (And not hanging-on-a-thread survived, but ran some, walked some survived.) At the end, Kelle and I were running the distance between two light poles, then walking to the next one, then repeating. It was more walking than I would have liked, but with the triple threat of heat, humidity, and hills, it was what we had to do.


MCM Mama said…
Good job! I've had a few runs like that this summer and it's horrid combination. I was always just happy to keep moving forward in some fashion on days like that.

Good luck with figuring out what works for you. I use Gu's but the only thing that really works for me is gatorade. (So far the other brands I've tried made me sick) Too bad I can't carry gallons of it with me when I run LOL.
Jules said…
"7 miles in a fur coat is a long way" made me bust out laughing!!! Now HTAHt was funny.

I need ot learn about all these beans & gels everyone is talking about. I know my running store has them but I feel like a dork buying them. Likie I am not allowed or soemthing. ha
Tina said…
I'm glad you were able to finish your ten miler without feeling sick from the heat. Some people say that running with some hills sprinkled in gives their legs a nice change of pace, but I'm sure that would be after they've had some hill running experience. Fortunately, you've got a number of weeks to get some hillwork in.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving some comments! :)
tamara said…
The dog can run farther than I can. That is funny in and of itself!!
RunnerMom said…
Tamara, you crack me up! (And the dog doesn't have any stress fractures most likely!)