It’s Saturday morning and for the first time in many many Saturdays, I did not get up at 5 a.m. to run.
instead of running this morning, I ran 20 miles last night between 9 p.m. and 12:30 p.m.
I joined a group of runners who are training for the midnight El Scorcho 50k and figured some midnight training would be effective as I prepare for the ET (Half) Marathon.
I ran (literally) in to a few problems.
For one, said group comprises around-3-hour and sub three-hour marathoners (I’m more of a 3:30-3:20-hopeful marathoner), so, while the first six miles or so were fun and friend full, it became lonelier and lonelier as the night wore on.
Rick Johnson, a Dallas Running Club friend, showed up and stuck with me through mile 13, after which he decided to throw in the towel. I don’t blame him because he has a marathon in Oregon to run in 2 weeks. A hard 20: not recommended.
We reconnected with the rest of the group before setting out on the last seven-mile loop — SMU, Katy Trail in Highland Park and Dallas.
Second problem was the heat. Despite the lack of sun and my submission to three-hours a week of hot yoga, the 90-ish degree weather was draining. I think, had I been running at a long slow-run pace of 8:45-minute miles throughout the run, I would have been fine, but since I ran the first 13 at more like an 8:15-8:20 pace (easy under cooler conditions, maybe), I completely suffered during the last five miles.
Every injury — plantar, knee and ankle — reared its ugly head. (Warning, heavy whining ahead) My lower back hurt significantly during the second half. My right shoulder was in pain and I wondered if it might be from the increasingly annoying water bottle I carried (dropped it three times), which I am not accustomed to lugging (necessary evil).
Good news: I never really felt like I couldn’t complete the run. I did feel like I might need to stop for a few minutes and rehydrate.
One other runner (was it James?) experienced similar issues, so we stuck together, shuffling the last 3-4 miles. Had he not been there, I would have walked for a few minutes, but my barely lingering pride kept me trotting, however sluggishly. At midnight, a Highland Park church turned on the sprinklers, at which point we veered into the grass and stood under the water for 30 seconds or so. That helped. By the end of the run, it was a cool 88 degrees.
The hardcore fast people were waiting for us at the finish with Gatorade, ice water and beer. Thanks to Neil, an attorney with a kick-ass home just off the Katy Trail in HP, who hosted the run.
It wasn’t complete torture: it was nice, during the earlier hours, running at night. Cool passing the Katy Trail Ice House at about 10:30 p.m., the aroma of beer and smoke wafting across the trail — undoubtedly the patio crowd (and there was a HUGE crowd) thought us strange.
I plan to come out for next week’s nighttime long run with the same group. I would like to recruit someone who is slightly less advanced to run my pace with me, but if not, we will be at White Rock Lake, which is familiar territory, so no biggie. Plus, if I am alone, I can walk if I feel like it.
A few weeks of this, provided I don’t kill myself, and my upcoming desert adventure should be a breeze.