Sunday, August 23, 2009

14 Miles In the Soup

There are some days when I never want the run to end and wish it was marathon day. There are other days when I think I don't think I could run a 5K and wish I had stayed in bed. Saturday was the latter for me.

Saturday morning came early for me, 6:20 a.m. to be exact. It had rained the night before, and puddles remained everywhere. I glanced at my blackberry for the weather: 74 degrees, 100 percent humidity, showers. Great. I had decided on my route. A few hills, and totaling around 14.5 miles, and goal pace was 8:30. And it was going to be a rainy, humid slog. I had nearly a half gallon of water ready, and off I went.

Wikipedia says this about humidity:

"The human body sheds heat by a combination of evaporation of perspiration, heat convection in the surrounding air, and thermal radiation. Under conditions of high humidity, the evaporation of sweat from the skin is decreased and the body's efforts to maintain an acceptable body temperature may be significantly impaired. Also, if the atmosphere is as warm as or warmer than the skin during times of high humidity, blood brought to the body surface cannot shed heat by conduction to the air, and a condition called hyperpyrexia results. With so much blood going to the external surface of the body, relatively less goes to the active muscles, the brain, and other internal organs. Physical strength declines and fatigue occurs sooner than it would otherwise. Alertness and mental capacity also may be affected. This resulting condition is called heat stroke or hyperthermia."

OK, I didn't get heat stroke, nor was I very close to it. But it started raining, drizzling really, almost as soon as I started. My glasses instantly fogged up, and I was drenched. My shoes and socks were squishing with each step. My hat was dripping water and sweat. And after it stopped raining (after mile 3 or so), it was just wet and humid. And it was tough. The first 5 miles went pretty easily, and I felt OK. But after that, it just turned into a gritty run, even though that was the flat part of my course. I drank all of my water and then some. I carried a small bottle with me at all times and had to carry another for part of the way. Carrying a water bottle in my hand is not ideal because it kind of throws me off balance, but I had to do it.

I ended up going 14.25 miles at average 8:18 pace. That was faster than my goal and it was too fast. My heart rate was way, way, too high towards the end (spiked to 90%). But I just couldn't get it down to lower levels. I had decided, though, that if my heart rate remained over 170 consistently and if I couldn't work it down by slowing the pace, I was going to stop and walk. But, every time I saw it spike to 170 (roughly 90%), I slowed and it came down. I stopped frequently to drink my water and Gatorade. I had to stop several times to avoid downed trees and cross several partly flooded roads. I stepped in too many puddles to count. When I hit mile 14 (my kind of internal goal), I almost just stopped in my tracks, even though I was a couple hundred yards from home.

When I made it home, I was wet and tired. Thirsty, too. My shoes still aren't dry 36 hours later. I was wiped out all day. I didn't get a nap in, and I was just beat. I hope it pays off later. I don't know how all you coastal runners do it, and my hat is off to you.

Time Distance Split time Elev. chg. Avg. HR
0:08:15 1.00 8:15 +70 144 (78%)
0:16:16 2.00 8:01 +75 153 (83%)
0:24:19 3.00 8:03 -59 158 (85%)
0:32:26 4.00 8:06 -64 159 (86%)
0:41:00 5.00 8:33 +85 159 (86%)
0:49:21 6.00 8:20 +44 163 (88%)
0:57:37 7.00 8:16 -43 165 (89%)
1:06:01 8.00 8:24 +38 164 (89%)
1:14:23 9.00 8:21 +109 166 (90%)
1:22:40 10.00 8:17 -151 164 (89%)
1:30:49 11.00 8:09 -24 166 (90%)
1:39:10 12.00 8:20 -65 166 (90%)
1:47:23 13.00 8:13 +23 169 (91%)
1:56:13 14.00 8:50 +38 170 (92%)
1:56:23 14.01 0:09 +2 168 (91%)


  1. Great job. The humidity this weekend here in NC was killer too. I struggled on my run on Saturday. On the plus side, September is right around the corner and hopefully some nicer weather will coem with it.

  2. humdity SUCCKSSS we have a lot of that in the old midwest, so I have been eating up the slightly cooler weather lately

  3. It's pretty much humid here every day so I feel your pain. You got it done though and faster at that. If you stuff newspaper in your shoes they'll dry very quickly. Good job on gutting it out!

  4. I HATE running in wet shoes. Grrrr! And to answer your question about my 18 miler... yes I was running in my brand new shoes.. that are now disgusting. Stupid trail running!!!

    Your times are still pretty speedy, or at least in my opinion!

  5. Uhh..yeah...your times are way impressive, especially for running in that humidity. I feel like I've been running in a lot of soup this summer season, and haven't been able to string together many good runs because of it. Nice job getting out there and running faster than your goal even with the killer humidity.

  6. Great pace with the heat and wet weather...seems like you just eeeked every bit of energy out of yourself in order to're tough! Too bad you couldn't nap, hope you're better today! Keep it up!

  7. Well done. And I'm sure this will pay off!

  8. humidity is my nemesis! that's why i had to move away from the southeast. looks like you did great with your splits!

  9. Hi,

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  10. Wow. I didn't know that about humidity. When I lived in Tokyo, it would get crazy humid, but luckily moved before picking up running.
    But look at how fast you are! Very impressive! I hope you get some quality rest after that hard run!

  11. Congrats on finishing up the run despite the nasty humidity. Hopefully fall will come quickly -- seems to be on it's way already.


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