Back in the saddle again (3rd time’s the charm)
I got home from Arizona last week on Tuesday night and Wednesday I had all the energy of a
Wait, I’m trying to think of something with little enough energy to make a fitting comparison. Any suggestions?
Here are some of the things I came up with: Limp noodle (waaaay overdone) dead moth (kinda weird but I only thought of it because Chunker just killed one and it’s pretty inert) Murphy on my side of the bed when I want to go to sleep (self explanatory) caffeine free morning (oh, Terri Lee, come on – at least use a comparison that’s humanly possible).
Well that’s how much energy I had, anyway. Thursday I felt slightly more alive since I slept past 7:30. By the time I was ready to get a run it was 9:45 and it was pretty warm and humid; while I was out of town Memphis went and decided to get its summer on early. I’d been in dry, cool weather for a bit so obviously not acclimated to heat and humidity. I grabbed a 20 oz bottle and headed out.
To say this run sucked is like saying noodles are limp (I’m determined to get that in here somehow). It sucked. My HR wouldn’t get under 90%, I was trudging up hills that I ran at pace 6 weeks prior and I was huffing and puffing the whole way. Even going down Jr. Muther Hill my pace was way off and HR too high.
Growing up in Arizona and now living in the swamp-like atmosphere of Memphis I know about heat and hydration. When I got home from my run I had this equation: bathroom – hydration = lemon yellow. I was totally dehydrated. Looking back I realized all day Tuesday was spent in airports and on airplanes (including the most fun: 2-1/2 extra hours sitting at the gate while the crew fixed a ‘minor problem’. The only upside to this is that the crew wanted the thing fixed fast & correctly as much as the rest of us did. They were stuck in the plane too). Humidity levels on a plane, according to my good friend google, rarely exceed 15%. I already wasn’t drinking much because crammed into that middle seat I didn’t want to have to crawl all over everyone during the unflight, altho the stewards were bringing around water, and apparently I didn’t rehydrate well on Wednesday. (Coincidentally, later that afternoon I read an old copy of Running Times and found this article, very interesting if you’d like to know more about heat and hydration: http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=23360&PageNum=1).
SLUG! I just thought of a good word! I knew it my brain had it in there somewhere among all the forgotten locations of my keys and where did I leave my scissors.
My run sucked and I had the energy of a slug because I was dehydrated. But it was also because my Jan/Feb mileage averaged 31 miles per week and my March/April mileage averaged 13.75 miles per week. You can’t keep a fitness level when dropping like that; I had good reason it dropped, and it was as it had to be, but the reality is that you lose it and it sure seems to get lost faster than it gets found.
I’m now Back In The Saddle Again and last Thursday I was pretty frustrated and irritated about that; get trained up a bit, lose it, get trained up a bit, lose it. I’m kinda tired of the cycle. But all of life is a cycle and a nice thing about getting older is you truly begin to comprehend that rather than it just being a platitude. I’ve been here before, I got past it, I’ll get past it again – which I’ll do with running, with relationships, with work, everything – and all of you do, and will do so, also.
I love running. I don’t know why, because there are parts of running that are rotten. Like trying to come back when you’ve been out of the routine, and you’re breathing hard and your legs feel like telephone poles only telephone poles probably bend better and your shirt is chafing you and sweat is burning your eyes. But even when that rotten part is going on there is another part that is deep inside me, defining me. It tells me that I’m not a quitter, that I can do this even if I do it ugly and it hurts, that when I’m done and back at the car and I take the running shoes off my burning feet and sit down for the first time in perhaps hours it feels so incredibly sweet. It tells me that I’m strong and I’m brave and I’m doing something that is good for me in many ways. That I will be a physically stronger person, I won’t have to start parking closer and closer to the grocery store, I won’t start saving all the things to go upstairs to be done in one trip; I won’t lose as much lean muscle mass and I’ll have a stronger heart and lungs – and maybe it will eventually help me to be a better person too. Maybe I’ll begin to learn that stuff hurts and that doesn’t mean it’s bad. That you go through a hard thing or a tiring thing or an irritating thing and you need to just look at it as part of the journey and not the whole of the journey. Because the journey is all we have, and it’s not such a bad trip.