Thursday was supposed to be the big one. I went to sleep Wednesday night fully prepared to wake up and try to run 8 miles. The weather was still warm, but I figured if I left early enough, I would be alright. Then I woke up and looked out the window and saw nothing but sun and blue sky. When I stepped outside, it was already hot, so I figured that it just wasn't going to happen. I went inside and decided I would try and run early on Friday instead.
Around 1 o'clock (and maybe because I was a beer deep at the time), I decided "F*** it, I'm going running." Was this a good idea? Not so much.
When I took off, I felt really good. It was hot out, but there was a nice breeze that kept if from ever getting too hot. I started thinking that I'd play it safe and just run the short loop around my house. Then I reached the point where I would have to turn to keep the run short. I decided that I was still feeling too good to stop, so I kept going straight. Now the run was 3.5 miles, minimum.
A minute later, I reached the turning point for the 3.5 mile loop and decided again that I was feeling too good to stop. This meant that my loop was now 5 miles at least, but again, when I got to the turn for the 5 mile loop, I decided not to turn.
Around the 2 mile mark, I realized that I had forgotten my ipod at home. While normally, this would have gotten me to turn around right away, I decided that this run would be the run that I triumphantly shed the ipod once and for all. Feeling good about my decision, I continued on and was feeling really solid...for another mile and a half.
Right after the turning point for the 5 mile loop, the road goes down a hill and then into a canyon where it follows a creek for about a mile. When I got to this section of the run, I realized that the breeze I had been enjoying for the entire run to this point had been completely cut off by the mountains. Instead, I found myself on the baking surface of asphalt in the middle of the day. Soon, I wasn't feeling quite as hot as I had been before.
I reached the bottom of the hill and found myself in trouble. I was overheating and about to face over a mile of dead uphills. I had to rest. I stopped under the freeway overpass and sat down on the side of an incline. My fingers were swelling up like Vienna sausages and I was sweating like Shaq in a pre-game layup line. This wasn't good. To make matters worse, I was literally as far from home than I could possibly be at any point in the run. There was no way out of this one.
After a few minutes of rest (and a few strange looks from passing drivers), I started running again. About a minute in, I had nothing left. The remainder of this run wasn't going to happen today. I walked the remainder of the run in the heat and practically crawled through my door at home an hour later. Bad news.
So what did we learn? Well, a few things.
One- if you've had any sort of alcohol, don't assume you're cool to run in the heat.
Two- If it's the hottest day of the year so far, it may not be a great idea to try to run farther than you ever have before.
Three- If you are going to try a long run in the heat for the first time, make sure you have some kind of escape route. Don't leave yourself stranded.
From now on, I'm going to build up my tolerance in this heat. I may have to start at a lower mileage, but I think it's just going to have to be that way. Lesson learned. Oh, and one more thing I learned:
Four- "F*** it, I'm going running," is never a good idea.