Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bipolar Running

This morning I was standing in my kitchen at 7am dripping with sweat. Like literally it was dripping on my kitchen floor while I was making a shot of espresso. Obviously I should have taken that as a sign like Don't go run outside today dumbass, but I didn't. For whatever reason I still thought I could knock out a 90min hilly run in the gardens and keep it 'easy'. Hindsight is 20/20 of course.

I left to go run at ~8 and it was already blazing hot and super humid. I don't even want to get into how bad it was. Let's just say #RunFail. I felt like I was suffocating and I ended up walking a whole lot in the last few miles. At some point I stopped timing myself because, really, I just didn't need to know how long it was taking, but I didn't get home until ~10am so was out there for 2 hours even though I covered less than 10 miles. At one point while I was sitting under a tree in the shade I thought well this isn't the first time I've stopped running to sit under a tree, and it won't be the last... That's Hawaii summer for you.

I got home and wasn't sure what to do. I felt cooked. So I spent the day in front of a fan, mostly with my feet up working and watching the Tour (crazy stage finish today!!). I debated with myself all day about whether I should go ahead with my planned 2nd run or not. Part of me was like hello, um no don't be a dumbass again... But then part of me thought that if I had air conditioning that things might go differently. I've been suggesting to some of my athletes to take their runs inside when it's stupid hot out. Time to follow my own advice. I went to the gym with a very loose plan in mind of what I might do (tentatively 6x4min strongish on 1min rest) and figured I'd take it as it comes and if 15min in I felt like garbage I would stop. I looked at it as an experiment of sorts.

And wow what an interesting lesson. I mean, I've learned this one before (last summer) but I had to learn it again today. Turns out, I don't actually suck at running. I just suck when I'm overheating. Give me some air conditioning and I'm all good! I ended up doing 8x4min intervals on that treadmill, starting at 8min pace and descending by 2 down to 7:41 (I didn't plan this ahead of time was just going by feel during the run). Plan was to take 60" recovery after each but I didn't need that- 30" was enough every time so that's all I took. But seriously I was shocked that I could run <8min pace and have it not feel hard- no breathing hard, no high HR. Crazy. Don't get me wrong- I was still sweating like a fountain. After 30min the belt on my treadmill was so wet that it was almost slippery. The treadmill next to me was getting wet and a puddle had formed at the back of my machine when I was done. BUT, I wasn't dying!

The fact that I had two such absolutely polar opposite runs in the same day is telling. It's just confirmation that yep, when I want to do some muscular work I have to put myself in a situation where I'm not limited by HR that is through the roof because I'm boiling over. It also pretty much confirms what my gut has been telling me recently about how I'm not getting better by spending more time in the heat... I'm getting worse. I think 11 years of it has been too much.

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