Thursday, August 16, 2012

Water, water, everywhere

It seems like my summer running has revolved around water, in its various forms. I've gone through marathon training twice before, but both times I was training through the winter for spring races. This summer, while I am training for the October 7 Chicago Marathon, I have been faced with so many new challenges, and the common factor (for the most part) has been water.

I guess the best place to start is SWEAT. It has been Hot Hot Hot in the Florida Panhandle this summer. Even before the sun comes up, the temps are in the 80's and the humidity -- don't get me started. I can't run a quarter mile without getting drenched. I literally lost a full pound during a 19-minute jog through my neighborhood one morning last week. In the winter, I can go for a short run without having to wash my hair. Now, my hair is not only soaked with sweat after even the shortest run, it also morphs from a straight ponytail to a big lump of tangles that I am sometimes quite tempted to just hack off when I get home rather than attempt to run a brush through it.

The next logical progression in this wet slog of a summer is HYDRATION. With all that sweating going on, water intake is more important than ever. I can tell a huge difference in my long runs when I keep a water bottle on my desk at work. I pretty much fill it up after each visit to the ladies room, so it's a cyclical thing if I can remember to fill it up when I get to the office. On the weeks that I haven't been so prepared, the long runs have been brutal. It is a struggle to continue moving, both mentally and physically. I've gone to some very ugly places when I've been overheated and dehydrated.

Finally, in this part of the country, this summer has been RAINY. Yesterday I overheard someone say that it has rained here 17 out of the past 19 days. As of today, it's 18 out of 20. And I really do love running in the rain. I do not, however, have any desire to run when there is lightning all around me. Unfortunately, a lot of our rain has come in the form of thunderstorms that start around 4 a.m. As a working mom with a husband who works a lot of nights, the only window of opportunity that I have for running is between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. This means that I have had a bitch of a time staying on schedule, even with a training program that only has me running 3 or 4 mornings per week.

I'm going to count my blessings and say that TEARS have not been a part of my water-themed summer training. I've had a few scares with a wonky right knee & left ankle, but nothing that turned into anything serious. I am so grateful that my family & I have stayed healthy and injury-free.

My friend Kimberly and I booked our plane tickets to Chicago last night, and I've got my first 20-miler scheduled for Saturday. This race is starting to feel real! I cannot wait. Hopefully, all these sweaty runs will have left me stronger, wiser, and more prepared than ever.