Respect the Distance. Fear the Heat.

My, my. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Between work, running, weekend excursions and all of the leisurely summer activities that come in between, I’ve found myself with little time to do anything for myself. That is, you know, besides tanning.

Speaking of weekend excursions, let’s chat about a summer run I took recently while visiting Noah’s parents in D.C.; it was one of those runs that makes you respect both distance and heat.

I’ve never run a full, traditional marathon. But having trained and completed four half marathons, and hitting the 15-mile mark on one of those fateful days, I can’t say that I haven’t experienced many of the elements that plague runners on longer outings. And yet, despite this knowledge and insight, why do we (or is it just me?) constantly forget to respect those very elements?

I spent last-last weekend (told you, it’s been a while!) in Maryland at Noah’s parents’ house. And when you stay at Noah’s parents’ house, you run. They are by every definition of the idea a family of runners — and accomplished ones at that. 4/5 are official marathoners, and the outlier prefers to run three times a day.

Friday’s run — on my first morning there — was the shortest of them all, beginning with a quick 3 mile loop that took us from the pool where his mom was going swimming and back around to his house. Short. Sweet. Nothing to write home about. After several weeks of relatively high mileage, including a 7.5 mile run the weekend before, these shortened excursions were sorely needed. I’ve come to learn that there’s something purely satisfying about getting back home with a feeling of energy, as opposed to exhaustion. And anyway, it was, like, 150% humidity. All it took was 20 minutes or so for my shirt to soak fully through.

Picture 2

Then came Saturday, when I woke up craving a faster, longer run. Still, we had lots to do and plenty of people to see since it’s not often that we’re in DC, and so we wandered the neighborhood and hit the Crescent Trail to complete a 4-mile-or-so run. While perhaps not as long as I would have liked, I commented to Noah afterward that I felt stronger than I had in quite some time. The idea of feeling strong while running is kind of funny when you think about it. If you’re running, you’re kind of inherently strong, right? And yet on tired, cranky mornings, we can often feel anything but strong — even after logging 5 miles.

Picture 1

Then on Sunday, we took what turned out to be one of those “weak” strong runs. After many consecutive days of running and a solid core workout, my legs were tired, my body was begging for a break. It was beautiful outside though, and I knew that I’d regret a lazy day once I was sitting on a train back to New York.

To break up the week, I recommended a destination run and told Noah to pick somewhere between 5 and 7 miles from his parents’ house, where we could run and catch a ride home.

Picture 4

We decided on the farmers’ market in Dupont Circle, exactly 6.5 miles from home. The distance itself turned out to be perfect — there wasn’t an issue there. It was the combination of heat and humidity that really got to me, and it hit me once it was too late.

I really thought I did everything right prior to heading out the door. Wake up. Drink coffee. Eat granola. Chug iced tea. After two relatively strong, fast runs, I was relaxed, and I was excited. I planned on taking it slow, but I thought that a run of just over 6 miles would be nothing to freak out about.

I started to feel light headed some point along the canal, but Noah had planned accordingly and brought a bottle of water along with him. One sip, and I felt totally fine to go. In truth, we finished the run just fine, save for a Walgreens pit-stop for H2O. It wasn’t until the train ride home when the headache set in, the sweats started, and I began to feel dizzy and faint.

It’s amazing how, no matter our experience, it’s so easy to forget to hydrate before, during and after a run. I had thought we did it right. As it turns out, my body felt like a shriveled raisin. I suffered for about 3 hours (how does Amtrak sell beer and not Advil?) before finally getting home and finding relief. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but I definitely got the message.

Picture 5

Respect the distance. Fear the heat. They are not to be messed with further.

  • Have you ever felt totally fine for the duration of a run and then totally crashed afterward?

3 thoughts on “Respect the Distance. Fear the Heat.

  1. I feel like the runs that feel AMAZING during, are the ones that make me crash and so exhausted after. But the runs that have some (or all) parts that are eh, not feeling great I actually feel more active after… weird!

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