At least once every training season I have an epic fall. A situation where I am happily running along and the next second I am face-planting in to the asphalt. Saturday was epic fall day.
I started my run a little later than I should have. I was talking myself in to waiting until Sunday to get my run in because my hips were feeling pretty stiff when I got out of bed. But once I moved around a bit, the stiffness dissipated and I felt like running. I headed out at about 9 a.m.
The sun was starting to really beat down at that point and the humidity level was on the rise. The first couple of miles were ok since I was mostly in the shade. Then I made it to the wildlife refuge where I planned to get in at least three miles, which would mean running around the whole are twice since the paths there only total about a mile and a half. Instead, I decided to do a loop around a residential area near the wildlife refuge so I could have a change of scenery and not have to run in circles.
The area is relatively new so there aren’t a lot of shade trees covering the sidewalks and streets. Soon after I entered the neighborhood, the heat and humidity really started getting to me. I drank extra water, but that can only do so much.
The heat is just really debilitating to me. It makes me feel lethargic and wiped out. I guess what happens is, I get tired, my feet get sloppy and I don’t pick them up as much as I should, then my toe gets caught on the tiniest of cracks in the sidewalk, and down I go.
Compared to other falls I’ve taken, this one wasn’t as epic. (Not that it wouldn’t have been absolutely hysterical to anyone who may have been watching) One time a few years ago, I was running on a beautiful morning with my dog Macy. I was in such a happy mood, running along at a good pace. I passed two women and gave then a cheery “good morning!” and a wave with my hand except I barely got the word “morning” off my lips and I was suddenly air born. Somehow I managed to turn my whole body while air born and landed flat on my back. I dropped Macy’s leash in the meantime and once I hit the ground Macy came up and started licking my face. The women just stood there, horrified. How they kept it together is beyond me. I totally would have laughed at me until my belly hurt. I’m sure those two women still talk about it to this day.
This time, it was a simple trip and lunge forward. My knees and palms hit the ground at the same time so the impact was minimal. I recovered quickly, jumped back up and was back running like nothing happened all within about three seconds. I didn’t hear any roars of laughter so I don’t think anyone saw me.
The heat was killing me so I picked up my pace to make it back the wildlife refuge so I could find some shade. I started lamenting the fact that my pace would likely be a lot slower than my last few runs. I thought about how I would love to just stay in the shade the whole time. While that was not possible, I figured out how I could maximize my time in the shade while reducing time in non-shaded areas.
That was how I came up with my new “beat the heat speed training.”
I would use sunny areas for fartleks so I could get through them as fast as possible, and use the shaded areas for recovery. Not sure how effective this training is since the fartleks were sometime only about 15 seconds, but it sure made the run more enjoyable. Anyone watching was probably confused at my sporadic pace that would go from balls to the wall sprinting to a casual jog in a matter of seconds.
My overall pace, while a little bit slower than what I have been doing for my short runs, was pretty darn good for a long run. And I did all of this with a bloody knee that I didn’t know I had until I came up the driveway and Brian said, “Did you fall again?” It happens so frequently, instead of asking if I’m ok (I always am), he’ll usually ask if it was “a good one.” When he asked if I fell, I got ready to ask how he knew, but looked down and saw the scrapes. He then gave me a knowing nod.
I think my “beat the heat speed training” might be successful. Now, if only I could come up with an anti-gravity speed training routine. Or maybe I’ll just start running in this.