I'll start with the good: Monday morning Julia and I met at 5:45 am and ran 3 miles. This was a much-needed redemption run for me, as Saturday's 6 miler was not great, and I was left wondering if I've lost my running ability. Monday's run showed me that I still have it, but apparently it took Saturday off. Although the weather had promised a morning low of 72 degrees, it ended up being 76 - which was actually the coolest temperature I've run in lately. Anyway, this was a mile more than I normally run on Mondays, and it was a great way to start off the week!
So the bad: Saturday's 6 miler was just fubared from the beginning. I know I complain about the heat, but seriously, this was bad even for us - it was 83 degrees at 6:00 am - AM! - and 90% humidity. While we were gathering before the run, one of our coaches, who had been out leaving water jugs along the course, drove up with the news that a road was blocked off by police and they needed to reconfigure the route for the full marathon group, who were scheduled to run 9 miles that day. So that was a bit unsettling, especially after the shooting earlier in the week...this was very close to that area. (side note: what the hell, people?!? stop with the violence!) They eventually figured out what to do, and we all took off. Jenny and I ran together (Jeff was out of town), and within the first half mile two police cars and the mobile crime unit (which looks like a giant RV) drove past us, leaving the crime scene. Great...it's already a bit unsettling to run in the dark on these newer routes, but to have the extra angst of "what the heck is going on??" was not helping, either.
We started out slow, like you are supposed to do on your "long slow run" days. We did OK until we came too close to being hit by a car - and that was our fault, I'm embarrassed to admit. We were chatting, and crossed in front of the entrance to a large student housing complex - we ran against the light, we saw that one car was turning left, we assumed that the other car was as well - big mistake, as it went straight toward us. Massive panic, several "oh sh*ts" were uttered, and luckily we made it across safely. THAT got out hearts racing, and we actually had to take a minute to compose ourselves. Stupid on our part - Jenny and I have been running together for a couple of years now, and we've never done anything like that. Believe me, we were extra cautious the rest of the run! There is no room for assumption when it comes to motor vehicles and runners - we KNOW that, and yet, we still pulled a bone-head move. Luckily we were able to live and learn from our mistake.
Back to the run. We made it to our turnaround point, where water was waiting. I refilled my bottle and poured some over my head and down my neck, which revived me for about 30 seconds. Jenny's heel was hurting, and she was ready for a walking break...she didn't have to ask me twice at that point. We ended up doing our patented (lol) "lightpost intervals" for the next couple of miles (run from one lightpost to the next, then walk...although this time we did every other lightpost). We ran it in for our 6 mile finish, but honestly, it was an ugly run.
I was feeling pretty low about my extreme lack of running ability the rest of the day. I even looked up the last "first" time I ran 6 miles to see how I did, and that just depressed me even more, because I was so much better at running two years ago. Notice that I'm not saying FASTER - although I was - for me, that's not the point. It's that I used to be able to run pretty much continuously, and this summer, that has not been the case. After a day of whining and moaning to Paco (Jeff was lucky to be out of town), I came to the realization that most likely the issue is the weather. Because honestly, I have been spot on with my training this season - I've done every single run on the schedule, including all the hill workouts. You know that break up line "it's not you, it's me"? I'm thinking "it's not me, it's the weather" - and until further notice, I'm going with that.
I may not have a "good" long run for another month or two.
I may end up slogging through the next 6 and 7 milers on tap.
I may end up walking part of them.
But I believe that even though I'm having such crummy runs right now, the time I'm putting in on my legs is going to pay off on our first gloriously cool morning, and I will end up being the runner that I want to be.