Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Midsummer Morn's Steam

My first thought at 3:55 am is this: I slept well, but not enough. The air conditioning (it's the latest thing) helps. We try to hold off turning the darn thing on as long as we can, but yesterday we gave in, and of course kept it on for the night.

As I start ambling/stumbling around the house, I shut down the A/C and proceed to open windows and doors to let the cool night air in. The only problem is that the night air is not the least bit cool. After all the nice cool weather and rain, Summer has finally arrived. With it comes the warm, humid nights that I'm not very fond of. Not that I'm fond of the humid ninety-degree daytime heat either. But it would be nice if it cooled down at least a little more at night.

The coffee takes longer than I had hoped to have its desired effect. I don't get out the door until - get this - 6:15 am. What did I do for those two hours? I checked email, turned on the tv to check the weather, did some push-ups, fed Rosy the cat and rubbed her belly... all the usual stuff that could be accomplished in 30 minutes if I'd put my mind to it.

But that's the key. With the coffee not working as speedily as I'd like, I have no mind at all.

I'm about 45 minute too late for the country road course that I used to do regularly, and wanted to get back to but haven't been able to because I haven't been getting up and out early enough to get onto the course early enough to beat the traffic on those country roads that I can't stand and is somewhat dangerous so instead I have to do what I've been doing instead for a while now, and that is to run up to North Park and five times around and back to make it a ten-miler. Don't you just love that sentence? I don't know what got into me, but okay, I'll return to English now.

The heat is stifling, and the sun has only begun to rise. The humidity is so high, I'm sweating before I even take my first step onto our street.

I've run my first two miles in seventeen or so minutes - faster than my usual early miles. But it's time to start moving even faster - down to sub-seven pace. Yes, it's tempo time again. I've been just barely making it through these workouts - defined by me as three or more consecutive miles at sub-seven pace. And they don't seem to be getting any easier. The steamy weather doesn't help at all.

I do two miles, the ones leading up to the park, in 13:30. That's pretty good, and I think those miles are fairly accurate. Now I have two miles to do at the park, which consist of five laps around the lake, along with the short trip there and back from the entrance.

I know that I've got to do the first and last laps, which include the there and back parts, in under 3 minutes, and the middle three laps at sub-2:40 each. To summarize, I make it through each lap with no more than a second or two to spare.

I've accomplished my mission - over three miles (actually, four) at sub-seven pace. And now the heat and humility have really gotten to me. I stop to stretch and get a drink of water.

It's really tough to get moving again, but somehow I even do an extra couple miles on my way back, for a thirteen mile morning. Another (barely) successful tempo run. A decent amount of mileage. Probably a record number of buckets of sweat.

After yet another run in the still hotter afternoon, I'm ready for a day off.

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