On the schedule last weekend was 16 mile sin the park. Great, I was ready for it. The problem was that there was a race I had to run -- a 4m at 8:00 am. So how to get 16 in with a mandatory 4m from 7:40 or so until 8:30 (race time, etc.)? I thought I would just extend the race and two loops around Central Park. Great plan! I brought some water (ran with it the first mile or so and stashed it in CP), and chugged along, trying to stay slow at Marathon Pace in the middle of this wicked fast 4m race.
One big problem: the weather. As anyone who watched US Open has seen, last week was crazy sticky hot. Saturday morning was 80 degrees and 90 humidity. The haze was so bad, the tops of the buildings around Central Park were obscured. At the pre-race introduction, they announced there was a heat advisory in effect and to take it easy. And my heart rate was already high before it even started...ugh.
I grew up in Texas. I started running in Texas. Texas is hot. This...this is 80 degrees! I can handle this.
So the race went off, and I managed to stay slow, around 8:30 miles. That is faster than what I wanted, but about a minute per mile less than race pace. But my HR was already pushing 80+%, and I wanted to go 12 more miles? And I was sweating like crazy. So I did something I haven't done yet this year: I pulled the plug on the run. I ended up going 5.5 miles. I thought I might be able to go 16, but it would crush me. I would be drained, beat up -- and that was best case scenario. My left big toe has also been killing me lately (I have arthritis) and I just thought...today is not the day to push it. The weather was supposed to break this week, (it did), and just save the powder. I am not 17 in Texas anymore; I am almost 47 in muggy NYC.
I am glad I pulled the plug. I didn't get the long run in this week, but who knows what would have happened anyway? And my toe now feels 95% better. Better to get to the line undertrained than overtrained and broken. Of course, I did have to save my energy for the Michigan game, only to see Michigan get crushed by Notre Dame.
This week long run: 18m in the Central Park marathon tune up. Save the powder and be smart.