"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mad Dog's Blaze of Glory

First, like everyone else around here, let me preface this by saying the weather here has been bad. Two and a half inches of rain in one hour, then another 5 in 4 hours; the (pedestrian) bridges around me have the footings washed away, the photos on the news of flooding are two miles from my home - and I live on a lake - and I have water in my basement. When I went for today's run at 7 AM, it was 80 degrees, with a dewpoint of 77. There was fog!

Back in high school, my coach called me "Mad Dog" because I liked to run in the midafternoon in the summer; "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun" goes the old saying. I didn't wait for it to get to 98 degrees today, because I had a tough workout to do. They say people with respiratory problems shouldn't be outside this whole week, but then most people with respiratory problems aren't competitive runners.

I saw something I may never see again. Once the sun had risen over the hill, the dew on the grass collected, but there was nowhere to go (7-8 inches of rain, remember, the ground was saturated), so water was running downhill even though it wasn't raining. Weird. Ominous, even.

The plan had been to run a hard mile (after a warm-up), then a couple of all-out 400's up the Indian Mounds Park hill. The weather had me scale way back and I decided to just do repeats of the hill until I had had "enough." I didn't push the uphills, but I did run the downhills harder than I really needed to and, on the 7th hill, my heart rate hit 184, my maximum. I hadn't managed that since almost exactly a year ago. That was "enough."

I needed that. When I'm in shape, I'll be able to add another three hills, done with heart rate near or at maximum, but it's good to see I can do a worthwhile workout even on such a day.

The "cool-down" was difficult. I drank a half-gallon of water in about 5 minutes, then jogged through the neighborhood, trying to stay in the shade as much as possible. Only another 5 or 6 days of this heat... I hope.


Diana said...

My ex-boyfriend used to run in the afternoon in the summer in St. Louis. I thought he was crazy, and maybe he was/is. I chose the much saner hour of 5:00 a.m. to get my summer workouts in.
Sorry to hear that you're having so much crazy rain. It's pouring buckets here, but it's 59 degrees. Not a sign of summer in sight.
Glad you were able to get in a good workout. Stay cool and dry!

Colin said...

During the week, my only option for running is typically around noon. It works out great most of the time, but when things get super hot like this it's definitely unpleasant.

I'm not particularly looking forward to these next few days, but at least we had some nice running weather last week ...

Take it easy out there!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

It could have been worse. If your coach had called you an Englishman, you'd've been obliged to pull a Teh Marcy on him, i.e., PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE!1!

Because THAT's an insult.