Somehow I missed the start of summer. I spent a week and a half in Colorado / Utah, where the morning were always cool and the humidity never rose above 30 percent, while the of the country was sweltering.
Now, back in North Carolina, I'm really feeling the heat and humidity. Or maybe I'm just feeling the fact that I ran two marathons in five weeks. Or the fact that I've started hand-carrying water bottles for the first time. Whatever the root is, the result is the same: Workouts that would have been easy for me two months ago are now a struggle.
On Sunday I joined the DART group for a 13-miler. Actually I was hoping for more like 10 to 12 miles, but naturally plans evolve when a group of seven or eight people is trying to compromise. Based on my experience on Saturday, I decided to carry just one water bottle, switching hands every few miles.
The first 5 or 6 miles actually didn't feel too bad, and I managed about an 8:20 pace. But then around mile 7, I started to labor, a lot. I let three of the other runners run ahead, but fortunately Chad, who had done 6 miles before meeting up with the rest of us, was interested in a slower pace as well. We ran 9-minute miles for several miles, but at the start of Mile 13, even that was too much for me, and I told Chad I needed to walk a couple blocks. My pace on Mile 13 ended up being a 12:07. We did manage to pick up the pace to 9:27 for the final half-mile, a 9:02 overall average pace, but I was thoroughly exhausted at the end of the run, gulping down glass after glass of water.
Yesterday was a much-needed rest, but today I was hoping to return to form for a 6-mile tempo with the group. Adam, who always gives me a good workout, was there, and we started out at a 7:30 pace. This felt very fast for me, even on the downhill first mile, but eventually I settled into a rhythm and was able to maintain that pace through Mile 4. But Mile 5, the uphill mile that always determines how the DART loop is going, was a tough one: 8:08. I told Adam to go ahead and cruise in while I cooled down for the last 1.38 miles at an 8:40 pace. Overall it was still a 7:54 pace, so not bad, but not what I was looking for.
Details of the past two days' runs are below.