Sunday, July 10, 2011

Week 6 Recap: The Importance of Rest Days and Beating the Heat

Sometimes you have a bad day at work. Sometimes you have a bad week. The same can be said for running. This week was one of those not-so-good weeks. Fortunately it ended on some great notes, but it started out and continued to be tough right up until the end. Of course, the reason it was so rough was 100% my own fault and my bad week definitely could have been avoided. Let me explain:

Taking advantage of the day off of work on Monday (Fourth of July) Mike and I decided to take a nice bike ride. He has been dealing with some foot pain (either plantar fasciitis or heel spurs...x-ray to come later this week hopefully) and hasn’t been running nearly as much. And, just like me, he gets super grumpy when he’s not exercising! So I volunteered to join him on a bike ride so he could get some cardio in and we could still spend the day together. ‘Some cardio’ on what should have been a rest day ended up being a 44 mile round trip to Valley Forge. Not having been on a bike for at least 9 months, my body was really hating me during the last 75% of the ride and the effects of this snowballed into the rest of the week. I was still suffering from exhaustion the next day, when I was to begin my 6-day running week. Somehow I made it through my 6 miles on Tuesday, though a whole 5 minutes slower than normal. Wednesday morning, still exhausted, I ran out of time in the morning and was only able to finish 2 of my 3 mile speed workout. And on Thursday it really fell apart. Not only was I still feeling tired, but the heat was scorching and my insides were out of wack. Several people in my office have been feeling sick from the humidity, and I too have hardly been able to keep anything down all week. Just a half mile into my 6 miles I knew I was not going to last. My head was burning from the heat and my heart just wasn’t in it. I cut the run short, feeling disappointed, but also with full intentions of making up the mileage before the week ended.

So you see the first 4 days of week 6 pretty much sucked! And walking home from work Thursday after my failed run, knowing I had big number ‘15’ on my mileage calendar for Saturday morning, I was feeling really nervous. I re-strategized though, cancelling my Friday run to give myself a much needed rest day. And you know what? It worked! I was back in action Saturday morning, itching to run and feeling well rested and ready to go! Sometimes you just need to give yourself a rest day, whether you think you need it or not.

As to Saturday’s run, mile 15 happily came and went and I even teared up a little after I finished. I’ve had harder long runs and definitely hillier ones, but number-wise this was an accomplishment. And, though easier than other runs, that doesn’t mean it was easy. My legs were pretty sore the last two miles, but the biggest issue I dealt with was thirst. Mike and I headed out around 9:30am, not as early as I would have liked, but I really needed to sleep in after such a rough week. It was still quite cool when we left, especially since it finally rained cats and dogs the night before, alleviating some of the humidity that has been making us all sick! Only 4 miles in I found myself drinking a lot of water. I always try to take a few sips every mile, but I usually avoid completely quenching my thirst mostly out of fear that I will have to go to the bathroom. Pretty soon though I could not contain my desire to chug water and I was also dumping it over my head every 10 minutes. It didn’t feel particularly hot out and the breeze was making it feel nice and cool so I couldn’t understand why I was so thirsty. It wasn’t until we returned home, however, that I realized it had hit temperatures in the 90s and that, despite the CLIF Shot Bloks, full breakfast, and all the water I drank, I still lost 2 pounds! It just goes to show that even it might not feel that hot (especially if you keep dumping water over your head!) the heat can be really damaging and you have got to take care of yourself and hydrate properly. Mike and I have pretty much been consuming water non-stop even 24 hours later. We just can’t seem to get our thirst quenched! But, despite not recovering hydration-wise, my legs feel ready to go again. I’m continually amazed at my body’s ability to recover so quickly. One more short, easy run tonight and its on to week 7!

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