Sunday, July 15, 2012

Building a Base: the Melting in DC version

With the 30-Day Yoga Challenge behind me, it was time to get (somewhat) serious about building a base for half marathon training. I dug up a Hal Higdon maintenance plan, modified it for my current meager mileage, and two Mondays ago, I was off for my first short run on an old familiar route through Georgetown. I wasn't in the mood to hurdle over fallen tree limbs from the crazy storm we got at the end of June, and I figured the residents of Georgetown were likely to have done a better job of removing fallen tree limbs from the sidewalk than Park Service did of removing fallen tree limbs from trails in Rock Creek Park. A few days later on July 4th, I ran the same route without a watch, and felt pretty good in roughly 79˚F and 65% humidity.

Friday, I did my first "hill" workout of the season. My idea of a hill is different from Hal Higdon's and probably everyone else's on the planet. Here's my idea of a hill:

It's about a tenth of a mile in length, and only .75 miles away from my doorstep. I think Hal (can I call him Hal?) recommends running a mile/mile and a half to a hill twice as long, but the only way I can find a hill that long is if I run 7 miles away (I think), which I'm not ready to do. Really, knowing that Michelle (aka, The Transporter, so named because she accompanied me on a drive from DC to Seattle 2 summers ago) was somewhere in Mississippi running in probably steamier conditions was the only reason I got out of bed to run those hills.

I deferred the "long" (read: 6 miles) run from Saturday to Sunday, thinking I'd spend Saturday hydrating and otherwise prepping to a Sunday run. By "prepping," I really meant two 40-minute round trip walks in 106˚F temps to a yoga studio to teach a couple classes. At not quite the crack of dawn Sunday, I checked the weather on my phone: 80˚F. I thought, I can handle this. Except two and a half miles in, I knew there was no way I was going to finish the planned distance. I slogged for another two miles, stopping at every water fountain on the route. Finally, 4.5 miles into what should have been a longer run, I walked the rest of the way home, knowing I'd done the right thing, but I was frustrated.

I rounded the corner and saw the time and temperature on the bank display: 89 degrees. Holy crap. I stopped feeling bad for myself. Then I came home and checked the weather history.
Um. Had I known it was 86˚F with a heat index in the mid-90˚s when I started out, I would not have gone out. Really. My body does not handle heat well at all. I'm convinced that it gets trapped under my hair in a ponytail. I've nearly passed out twice in steamy conditions while being a tourist in Taiwan. I know there are people out there who'll say that I just need to acclimate, but I've been walking around in 100˚F temps for the last 2 weeks. The silver lining, of course, is that I managed to go out during the coolest part of the day last Sunday, right?

Base building sputtered last week, too. I got out for another short run, a short hill workout, and then today, a not-as-long run as I would have liked. A very long story short, it was a stressful week at work, capped by having to move every piece of furniture in my apartment on Friday three feet away from the windows, teaching a couple restorative yoga classes, and a flight to Wisconsin on Saturday (complete with aborted landing....which, by the way, is unsettling to experience when you think you're 5 seconds away from touchdown). The highlight of the week was easily Tuesday, when while doing hills, another woman was also doing hill work. Take that. It's not as wimpy a hill as I thought...

The forecast calls for HOT in the next two days, but I'm remaining optimistic for a nice long run one of these days. Fingers crossed!

4 comments:

  1. Eeek, aborted landing! Yah, that sounds pretty nerve-wracking! Good luck with base building!

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    1. Thanks! I'm not usually a super dramatic person, but on Saturday, I did think for a few moments that I was going to die. Ack!

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  2. GOOD LUCK! We don't have the humidity, but I can understand your frustration in running when it is ridiculously hot out. It sounds like you're doing great so far, even though it feels like you're behind. Gotta love those hills!

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    1. Thanks, Amy! It's been slow going this week (shocker, there are no hills in Wisconsin where I'm on vacation this week), but it'll get there.

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