I ran 14 miles this morning. That’s not a particularly unusual amount for a distance runner, but it was the longest I’ve run since last summer, and today is the warmest day of the year so far in New Hampshire. As always, the first long run in heat each year is cause for some gentle reminders that things need to be approached differently than in winter. Here are a few lessons I took from this morning’s run:
1. The return of warm weather means the return of road work, and road crews seem to love to play with runners. It seems that every time I come upon a lane closure such that only a single lane is open, the person holding the STOP/SLOW sign loves to turn the SLOW side to face me as I approach. Then they give a little chuckle. Is this a universal thing, or is it just me?
2. My mailman is awesome. Just after passing the road crew I was running up a hill about 3 miles from my house with no tree cover in sight. The sun was blazing overhead. I saw a mail truck approaching up ahead, and it slowed as it came alongside me. A bottle of water emerged from the window, and I saw that it was my mailman Paul. I had a hydration pack on, so I opted not to grab it, but the gesture was much appreciated. There are good people in this world!
3. I should have taken the water from my mailman. I finished the run, and when I got home my rectus abdominis went into a massive cramp. Incredibly painful. I then cramped in the back of my neck, and felt one on the verge of starting in my back as well. This type of generalized cramping in non-running muscles seems to happen to me only on really hot days when I dehydrate (and yes, I know there is a lot of debate about whether dehydration is related to cramping, but this is the pattern I have observed in myself on multiple occasions). I went to the bathroom and saw brown urine (sorry, TMI). I weighed myself and it was clear I had lost a lot of water on the run even though I drained my hydration bladder. This run was a good reminder that I need to approach hydration more wisely now that it’s getting warmer out.
4. Chafing sucks, but lubrication works. This will be cause for a post of its own at some point, but I’ve been dealing with some nasty chafing the past few weeks due to the warmer weather. I remembered to lube my problem spots today and all was well. Must remember to do this on all long runs!
5. You can walk up big hills but still keep your average pace on target. I came down with a stomach bug last Friday, and though I’m pretty much recovered I was still feeling a bit sour when I left the house. I decided to sprinkle in some walk breaks on the bigger uphills, but managed to pick up the pace enough on the flats and downs to keep my average pace for the full 14 right around my target of 8:30/mile. Pretty happy with how it went, and the walk breaks probably also helped with managing the heat.
6. The Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit may be the best Nike Free shoe yet. That’s all for now, stay tuned for more soon!