Giving unwelcome advice on a humid run

Bravely enduring high humidity in the business park

Today’s run (street): 5.2 miles

Today’s humidity reminded me of the last time I ran the Dirty Sock 10K, a trail race in mid August where the temperature and humidity often exceed 90%. I knew conditions would be unpleasant, but I wasn’t about to run five miles on the treadmill today. My objective was to cover more distance than yesterday. In these conditions, I acknowledged that I wasn’t going to do that too quickly.

I did a loop within my neighborhood before heading to the business park for the bulk of my run. I was surprised to see that other runners had come out on such a humid morning. Later, I crossed paths with a few more runners, none of whom seemed friendly. Perhaps they were using everything they had just to get through their miles.

I had no problem with the weather, but I didn’t push myself much today. The air was extremely moist and the heat really started to rise as the clouds burned off. An occasional breeze provided a little relief but it didn’t last long. I was making my way around an adjoining neighborhood when I saw a couple taking up half the road, pushing matching strollers. When I ran by them I said, “You shouldn’t walk on the street with your back to traffic.” I encountered them again about ten minutes later and they were still walking on the right hand side of the road. People never listen.

Sure didn’t feel like 75°

Today was an absolute sweat-fest and my running clothes wouldn’t have been any wetter had I jumped in the pool before I ran. Not long ago, I would have finished exhausted, but not today. An increase in stamina is the biggest change I’ve experienced over the past three weeks. It’s making running fun again and I’m very happy about that.

Holiday spirit and safety scrooges

How hard is it to understand?

Today’s run: 5 miles

Although I don’t celebrate Christmas, I do appreciate the holiday. This involves enjoying all the decorations, watching the movie Elf on Christmas Eve and trying to be more patient with people. It was in that spirit that, on today’s run, I tried to warn people about the dangers of walking in the street with their backs to traffic. The responses I got indicated a fundamental lack of said spirit.

I usually hold my tongue when I see people walking on the right side of the road (often two abreast), trusting that drivers are paying attention. I’ve found that people don’t value my safety guidance and tend to react negatively when I suggest switching to the other side. One conversation went like this:

Me: You know, it’s a lot safer if you run facing traffic.
Woman runner: I’ve been running in this neighborhood for 20 years and never had a problem.
Me: People didn’t text and talk on cell phones 20 years ago.
Woman runner: Pfffft

Since then, I’ve kept my mouth shut. But today I decided to try again. The first offenders were taking up half the road, making it necessary for cars to move into the left lane in order to pass them. I told these people that walking that way was risky. They told me to mind my own business. The next conversation happened when I was closer to home. A man was walking his dog in the street and I said it’s safer to walk facing traffic. He snorted, “Yeah, right” so I responded “Have a good day!”

I get that people can react badly when they get unsolicited advice. My hope is that they’ll think about the situation and realize later that what I’m saying is true. So far, I haven’t seen evidence of that. If I was more noble, I’d continue to warn people despite these reactions. It’s a nice thought, but I think I’ll wait until next Christmas to try it again.

Cow Harbor regrets and race day tips

Today’s run (street): 3.8 miles

I expected to feel ambivalent about skipping Cow Harbor this year but I don’t. Racing used to be a big part of my running experience and I typically ran a race every month. This year I’ve only competed three times – a trail relay, a 5K and a half marathon. The excitement of looking at the race schedule and deciding which race to run has ended, at least for now.

Tomorrow is the Cow Harbor 10K and I know a lot of people that are running it this year. I regret not seeing them and having that shared experience, but I’m happy not to have to drive to Northport HS in the dark, take the shuttle to Laurel Ave and spend an hour trying to keep from freezing before the start. As I write this, I’m remembering the fantastic energy and excitement that pervades that event and that is prompting a little more regret.

For those I know who are running tomorrow, I wish you the best. I won’t be joining you, but I’ll share my tips from the times that I have run the race:

1. Find a spot inside the school to stay warm until 20 minutes before the start.

2. Resist temptation to fly down Scudder Ave’s steep hill for the first mile. Save your energy for what lies directly ahead.

3. Don’t underestimate Bayview Ave. It’s a steady uphill section with rough and broken pavement leading to…

4. James Street which surprises first time runners who stop in the middle of the road and start walking. If you aren’t careful you’ll run into someone. Running around these people is like playing Frogger and expends extra energy.

5. Once you get to the top of James St. you still have an incline so you’ll need to wait until you get to Ocean Ave before you can really recover.

6. Mile 4 is mostly flat and downhill. You can recover and still maintain target pace.

7. Waterside Ave seems like an endless upward slope, but it does have a couple of spots where it’s nearly flat. Take advantage of water stops because if the sun is out, this is where you’ll feel it the most.

8. Pumpernickel Hill is a lot shorter than James Street but it’s not a trivial challenge at that late point in the race.

9. After the hill it’s pretty much downhill until Main Street. This is where you can capitalize on an energy reserve (see point #2).

10. Don’t be disheartened when you are on Main Street, see the finish chute, but don’t seem to get any closer as you run. I think it’s the longest quarter mile I’ve ever run.

I’m rooting for you all and a special shout out goes to buddies Aimée and Celia. Can’t wait to read about your Cow Harbor experiences.

Wisdom of the (running) crowd

 

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

I found it interesting that three knowledgeable runners (Carla, Karl and SIOR) have all recommended a mid-week long run as part of a half marathon training plan. I generally run shorter distances in the middle of the week. My excuse has always been a lack of time. But people with schedules busier than mine seem to get them done. Here are strategies I heard this week that I will take to heart for my training:

Carla: “The key for me ended up being doing at least two 15+ milers. and another 7-10 mile run during the week. Plus a 10k, 15k, and 10 mile race, and progression runs in the buildup phase. In effect, more overall mileage. And more of it at hoped-for race pace.”

Karl: “It’s all about stamina and endurance. Speed is largely innate. The stamina (tempo and progression runs) and endurance (long and easy runs) workouts allow us to maintain whatever speed that we have over longer period of times.”

SIOR: “I would run speed work on Tuesdays, a longish run on Wednesday (7-9 miles), and easy runs on Thursdays and Saturdays. Then when all is said and done, I would sign up for a fall marathon.” [Editor’s note: SIOR is a troublemaker who knows I will never run a full marathon.]

Right now, seven mile mid-week runs are a challenge, but once I get my base closer to double digits it could be managed. If I’m going to go out for four miles anyway, what’s another half hour? And now that I’m comfortable with using the treadmill for speed work, I won’t have the excuse that I can’t run weekday intervals due to restricted access to the track.

Today’s workout was another treadmill run. I had planned to run slowly in deference to yesterday’s speed session, but I ended up doing a more intense workout. I hope that by resting on Friday, I’ll be properly recovered for Saturday’s relay. I keep telling myself that it’s only a two mile leg, but going all-out for 17 minutes (if I’m lucky) will seem like a very long time.