Learning Lessons the Hard Way

I just completed week five of training, and I’m finally fighting my way out of a big slump. My mid-week runs were strong and I felt confident about my 15-mile long run.

Summer in Seattle has been pretty pathetic and the temperature has rarely gotten in the 70s. I normally would be annoyed by our cold weather, but I’ve been loving it for marathon training. 60 degrees isn’t great boating weather, but it’s great running weather! The weather shifted this weekend and the weather forecast for Sunday was 80 degrees. That’s too hot for running, but I thought I would run in the morning and suck it up. How bad could one measly 15-mile run really be? Answer: Pretty terrible.

I got a late start on Sunday (11am) and it was already 70 degrees. My allergies have been bothering me, so I felt super out of it when I  started running. It hurt to keep my eyes open, but I thought that I would get used to the sun and it would be OK. I hadn’t even run two miles before I started thinking about how nice it would be to curl up on the grass and take a nap in the sun. But I kept moving forward (with lots of walk breaks). I realized early on that this wasn’t a time to try to run fast; it was just a run to get through. So I walked when I needed and didn’t stress about the excessive walking.

Within six miles, I realized that there was no way that I could make my Gu Brew last through the entire run. I spent a lot of time contemplating where I could find water, and daydreaming about jumping in the lake and eating popsicles. For someone who isn’t used to the heat, it was too hot to be running.  I decided that I would swing by the Starbucks in U Village and ask them to fill up my water bottle. At mile 10 I ran through U Village and asked for some ice water at Starbucks. U Village is an upscale shopping area, so I felt like a total loser running through it. I smelled bad and just wanted to get my water and get out of there!

I felt like a stinky loser, but the ice water was totally worth it. It was the best water that I have ever drank. It was so delicious that it was gone within two miles. At this point, I was becoming a little delirious and loopy. I found it increasingly difficult to keep my eyes open and I just wanted to curl up on the side of the trail and take a very long snooze. But I kept going and walked when I needed (which was a lot!). I decided that I would refill my water bottle again at Gasworks, which was just a mile or two away.

I slowly made it to Gasworks. I refilled my water bottle and then allowed myself to sit on the grass for a few minutes. Sitting felt great and I never wanted to get up. My hamstrings and hips really hurt, and I didn’t want to run another inch. After my break, I got up and ran/walked the rest of the way home. I felt terrible, delirious and weak. I had hit the wall in a very bad way.

This run was an epic disaster, but I’m just going to chalk it up to the heat, allergies and dehydration. I’m attempting 17 miles on Friday, so fingers crossed that goes better!

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