Monday, June 27, 2005

Exercise in Futility

You might be shocked to learn that a week after running a difficult marathon (nay, not just a “week”, a full week) my body is not completely back to pre-marathon shape.

You might additionally be shocked to learn that running in 90°+ weather, with depleted energy and not enough water, is really, really hard, and somewhat unpleasant.

And, you might be shocked to learn that after a full month of no resistance training, and that little marathon thing (see point 1, above) that I’m not quite up to doing the same weights I was the last time.

On the other hand, you are all very smart people (much smarter than I) and you may not be shocked to learn any of those things. You may instead be shocked to learn how shocked I was to learn, the hard way, all three of those things.

Will I ever learn? (Answer: probably not).

I was bound and determined to run on Saturday, because it was about time to get back on that horse. I knew that it was going to be horrendously hot and muggy, so I decided I would wake up early and run before it got too hot.

But I made that decision on Friday afternoon, before I decided to stay at work as late as necessary to catch up on ALL my filing and ALL my email so as to better prepare myself for the horror of my desk after being away a month, and to minimize the chances of something major falling through the cracks, leaving my boss a full month to consider how unhelpful I really am. There was a line in the sand, I told my boss, as he tried to convince me to accept his offer of a ride home at 8:15 pm, and I wasn’t going to cross that line until everything was done and filed and neat.

I’m not sure that made any sense (he was looking at me a little funny), but I had already been at work for more than 11 hours, so it was the best I could do.

Unfortunately, I only made it until 10:45 until crippling hunger forced me to leave my post. Note to self: next time you pull an all nighter, buy dinner BEFORE all the shops close in the neighborhood.

Additional note to self: Don’t let things pile up for months until a week before you leave on a long vacation.

Needless to say, by the time I got home, ate some dinner, and unwound, it was too late to wake up early enough to run before the heat hit.

So, instead, I slept later, and ran errands all morning/early afternoon. Finally, after resting on the couch for an hour, at about 5 pm, I decided to attempt a slow 3 miles.

Of course, and I know I’ve mentioned this before, I live on the side of a hill. There is nowhere I can run from my house that doesn’t include several fairly steep uphill climbs. Also, and I seem to remember mentioning this somewhere before, I’m not that smart. Thus the insanely logical decision NOT to bring water with me.

As I told Jeanne, after about a mile and a half, I felt like I was going to pass out or throw up, or pass out and then throw up, and then choke on the vomit and then die. Because I am nothing if not prone to understatement.

But fine, I dragged my ass home, a little bit worse, but, dare I say, wiser, for the wear.

Flash forward to Sunday, when I was once again unable to wake up early enough to beat the heat. Still, at 10:30 I finally laced up my shoes and hit the streets, planning a longer run than the previous day (but I brought water! I learned!).

Man. It is hot in DC in the summer. And the sun? A veritable fire-y ball of hotness. And the humidity? Oh, the humanity.

But here’s where it gets funny. On my way back, after a walk break, I noticed someone from work running on the parallel trail on the other side of the creek. Less than half a mile up, the two trails converged, and, grasping at any motivation to keep running, I decided to keep up with this guy so that we would meet up.

It may be helpful, at this point, to know that this was one of the runners from the 3-mile race I did earlier this year, who ran it in about 19 minutes. Not that he was running that fast on the rugged, slightly hilly trail yesterday morning (my side was paved and flat), and he even stopped to chat with someone for a moment. But still. Dude can run under-seven-minute miles.

Nevertheless, we reached the fork at the same moment, and we stopped to say hello.

But here’s what I didn’t foresee. After a few moments of chit chat, he suggested we continue on.

Err… Would that be running?

Of course, said I. Let’s go, I said.


See, in my head, I thought it would be wimpy to admit that I was hot and out of breath, and really would rather walk for a bit, but he should continue on without me, and have a nice Sunday, I’ll see you at work tomorrow.

Oh, no, clearly it was much better to start running (really a slow jog from his perspective), only to arrive at the next intersection all red faced and huffing and seeing stars. Because that wouldn’t be nearly as embarrassing.

Le sigh.

But I survived, and even got myself to the gym for some weights, which… well, you get the idea already.

Today is a rest day.

Tomorrow, I’m trying a new experiment. My friend at work, who won the silver medal in freestyle kayak at the World Championship in Australia this year (she is so cool), wants to start running once a week at lunchtime for cross-training purposes. Of course, there is the small issue of the ridiculously hot weather, but I see no reason why that should get in the way of a nice lunchtime run.

Don’t worry. I’m rolling my eyes enough for all of you.


I keep forgetting to mention this, but if you haven't been checking out the Rundown every Tuesday, you totally should.


Anonymous BD said...

You too funny.

Seomtimes it's good to run early in the morning even if you are tired. But I think there's a limit to that. I'm trying to figure out where the line is.

And yes, heat and humidity will definitely test one's mettle.

You amuse me greatly. Have I mentioned that?

11:11 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Woah, you want to run at noon in D.C.? Wow. I can't wait to hear about those runs. This may be too personal, but do you have a shower at work? That would be the only way I could run at lunch, but during the cooler months, I envy lunch time workerouters. (I made that word up.) By the way, I lived in D.C. for a summer and running on the Mall, made for some of the best runs in my life. I was younger and faster then. I remember getting up at like 5:30 a.m. to time runs so that the sprinklers would go on around the Capitol and we would run through them.... Sorry for the memories.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Irene said...

I think it takes a while for everything to return to "normal" (whatever that might be.) It's been 4 weeks since my marathon and I'm just now feeling comfortable back in the gym... The carb load weight didn't even itself out after the marathon so I'm hanging onto some extra weight and the clothes are tight... UGH! I am back to doing 4 milers every other day, in addition to weight traiing, and I might do a 5k event on the 4th of July. What? You run mid-day in the humidity? If you gotta run, you've gotta run! Take care and stay hydrated!

5:09 PM  
Blogger jeanne said...

As I was running through the water-soaked air this morning, I thought about you, and I thought, I should tell Naomi that I would cut my right arm off it I could run half as well as she did in her marathon... yes, I know that doesn't make any sense, but I just thought I'd share it.

Running thru sprinklers!!! Arghhhh, I'm running on the mall every saturday, and no sprinklers! just heat, and hot--ness!!

8:05 PM  
Blogger Noames said...

Jeanne, thank you for the sentiment, which I am choosing to take as a compliment, even though you will undoubtedly run your marathon far beter than I did, given your excellent training and wealth of deductive reasoning and logic and intelligence.

Stephanie, you must tell me more about those sprinklers, because the few that we found on Tuesday were fabulous, and they weren't on when we were running on Thursday morning.

Irene, good luck in your 5K! I would never scoff at others' crazy schemes, given how ridiculous mine usually are. Enjoy!

And BD, thanks for laughing. It's always fun to know that I manage to amuse at least someone besides myself.

5:58 PM  

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