I was able to wake up a little earlier this morning than I was last Saturday. I was hot just before bed last night, so I jacked up the A/C before retiring for the evening. As a result, it was pretty cold in the house in the morning, so it took me a while to convince myself to leave the warmth of the bed. I could have been out the door before 8, but instead I made it out just before 9.

My plan is to follow the same route I did last Saturday, adding a half mile onto the out and back course to make it total 7 miles.  After parking at the mall, I head across the street for my warmup.  I jog the last part of my warmup back toward 22nd ave.  As I look down at my watch to start my chronograph, I notice it looks a little dim.  It appears to still be working, so I’m off. 

My plan for the day is to run at about a 9:00 minute mile pace, hoping to cut down on the frequency and length of my walk breaks.  I cruise past the 1 mile mark at 9:05.  I feel good, but my watch is getting dimmer.  I’m wearing my camelbak waistpack today because it’s already about 85 degrees out and the humidity is high.  Because of that, I cruise by the drinking fountain with the plan of taking a short water break at the 2 mile mark.

I cruise comfortably up the first pedestrian bridge and back down the other side.  I cruise past the Walmart parking lot and up the second pedestrian bridge.  With the 2 mile mark visible in the distance, I glance down at my watch to see if I’m on pace.  It’s blank.  Looks like I’ll be winging my pace today.

I jog up the incline to the causeway and pass the 2 mile mark.  I briefly walk, taking in some water.  After about 30 seconds, I start running again with the goal of reaching the halfway point at 3.5 miles.  Across the causeway, I run down the incline and past the KOA campground.  There’s no bacon today….excellent.

I’m getting pretty tired as I pass the 3 mile mark, but I convince myself to keep going.  There are two road crossings ahead and the second one is the halfway point.  I make it to the first, but the heat is affecting me, so I stop for another water break.  This time, I walk for about a minute, then make it the rest of the way to the halfway point.  I turn and begin walking again.

Now, the motiviation to start running again is getting low.  My heart rate is dropping quickly as soon as I start walking and I’m recovering well from the cardio standpoint, but my legs are feeling very tired.  After about two minutes, I start running again and I make it to the 4 mile mark.  Throughout the run, I can feel the water sloshing around in my camelpak.  Now, I feel it sloshing in my stomach.  Thats not good, so I take another walk break, but lay off the water.  I promise myself more water at 5 miles.

I walk briefly back past the KOA campground then start running again.  I make it back to the causeway, up the incline and start walking again.  I walk for about a minute, the sun beating down on me.  One problem with walking in this heat and humidity is that I lose the natural breeze I create while running.  It’s the only thing that seems to evaporate my sweat and cool me off.  So, when I start walking, my head throbs for a few seconds.

Feeling terribly hot, I wonder why anyone does this for fun.  I think about the Tour de France starting in London.  Then, I realize it’s July 7.  July 7 has been an unlucky day for my family.  On July 7, 1944, my grandfather’s B-17 was shot down over Hungary.  About 20 years later, my aunt completely destroyed her Pinto.  A series of other smaller misfortunes have happened on July 7 throughout time.  Moreover, ’07 has seemed like an unlucky year so far.  My father dropped a boulder on his leg, my grandfather found out he has cancer of the pancreas, and my wife had an emergency appendectomy.  Thus, what many people are considering to be the luckiest day ever seems like it might be the unluckiest day ever for members of my family.  We should all just hide in the closet today.  These are the thoughts I’m having as I’m practically melting in the middle of a causeway, 4.5 miles into a 7 mile run.

The only thing to do is to keep running, so I start running again.  My pace has picked up because I’m afraid that if I go any slower, I might stop.  I charge down the incline from the causeway, past the 5 mile mark, and slow to a walk.  I take in some more water as I walk up the pedestrian bridge.  As I reach the middle of the bridge, I run again.  This time my goal is to reach the water fountain just in front of the 6 mile mark.

I plod down the other side of the pedestrian bridge, then pick up my pace.  I cross the entrance to Walmart and methodically charge up the next pedestrian bridge.  At the top, I slow my pace to a shuffle briefly, but I don’t walk.  My stride gradually lengthens as I cross the bridge, and I run down the other side with the water fountain now in site.  With a steady pace, I pass it – it’s only a symbolic landmark today.  I briefly walk, taking in more water from my camelbak.

When I pass the 6 mile mark, I pull my cell phone from the camelbak.  Based on the time, I think I’ve improved on my pace from last week.  It’s really hard to be sure, though.  I start running again, hoping to make it to the 6.5 mile mark.  I have to briefly walk after another quarter mile, though.  My legs are tired and the heat is really getting to me.  After a minute, I run again, and make it to the 6.5 mile mark which is, thankfully, in the shade.

I walk to the 6.75 mile mark and then with the finish in site, I stride at an ever increasing pace.  I cross the start/finish with no triumphant thrust of the arms today.  I’m exhausted.  I walk straight to the car, strip off my camelbak and my MP3 player and open the door, grabbing the water bottle I left there.  I throw everything but my clothes in the car, take off my hat and pour water over my head.  I take a few drinks, and I’m revived enough to walk for 10 minutes to cool down.

On the way home, I grab a bag of ice and a bottle of Gatorade.  The Gatorade tastes like the nector of the gods.  At home, I stretch, eat a banana and hop in the tub with the bag of ice.

Planned workout

7 miles at 8:05 pace

Actual Workout

15 minutes walking/jogging warmup

7 miles at 10:40?? pace

10 minutes walking cool down 

As crappy as I felt when I crossed the finish line of my run, I felt equally as good in that ice bath.  Running is a little like drinking.  The only difference is that the buzz comes after the hangover.  I’m not sure what my time was like, but I’m pretty sure my pace was about the same as last week.  I’m not sure if it was hotter today or last Saturday, but I definately think the difficulty was turned up a notch this week.  The 8 mile run next Saturday will certainly be a challenge. 

2 weeks down, 27 to go.


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