As I mentioned in my Instagram post, social media is overflowing with posts and photos of everyone's amazing runs. The bad runs, like the one I had today? You don't see nearly enough of those. So here I am, keeping it real. My family has been in Florida this week, a stark contrast from Michigan, where my runs have taken place generally in anywhere from 20 to 40 degrees. I had a faster workout slated for today: after a 3 mile warmup, 4 x 1 mile @ MP (6:50 to 6:55), .5 mile @ 6:30 - 6:35, .5 mile jog between sets. 2.5 mile cool down to end the run, so a total of 13 miles.
I headed out the door around 6:45 a.m., which I felt was the earliest time I could start where I would not trip due to darkness. At that time, the temperature was 72 degrees, and so was the dew point. Simple explanation - it was humid. Really humid. My three mile warm up averaged 8:07 per mile. I noticed during my warm up I felt like I was working harder than normal, and by the time my warm up was over, I was really sweating. Uh oh. I finished my first set with a 6:56 mile and a 6:42 pace half mile. I felt like I was running 5:00 minute miles. I instantly became frustrated and started beating myself up and panicking only as a tapering marathon runner could. What was wrong with me?? Clearly I am going to be a disaster at Boston if I can barely run one mile at marathon pace. Just four days ago I had a phenomenal 20 miler, and a great half marathon workout the weekend before that. Where had my speed gone? So I stood on the side of the road, pondering what to do. I had two options: I could quit and do an easy run. Or I could keep going, turn my watch face down so I couldn't see the pace, and focus on effort. I chose the latter option, because I did not want to tell my daughters or my coach that I gave up, and because I knew I would spend the rest of the day berating myself for quitting. It wasn't a fun run, but I did it. The tough ones are the ones that make us stronger. By the end I was exhausted and dehydrated, and praying it would not be this warm and humid in Boston.
When I got back I started looking up statistics on how heat and humidity impact our running. I found a great article here on how to calculate the pace adjustments that need to be made to factor in warmer conditions. As it turns out, when I went over my Garmin data, my paces were right in line with the recommended five to eight percent reduction in speed. Bottom line: I need to give myself a break. After a few weeks of running in these conditions, I likely would have handled the workout much better, but it had only been three days. I am going to keep this in mind this summer and adjust my expectations accordingly.
So there you have it. My running is not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it's hard, frustrating, and it hurts. But if it was always effortless, I wouldn't love it like I do. Nothing worth achieving comes easy.