Sunday, June 17, 2012

Masochist's Delight (Not Really)

Garmisch is experiencing a summer heat wave. It wasn't super warm this morning in the shade, but it was very humid. It was downright hot in the sun because of heat reflecting off the black asphalt. The plan for my long run today (1:50) was to get out early to beat both the heat and the cyclists that crowd the trail to Austria on warm days. I set out a little later than I wanted to (about 7:45), but still got lucky with the crowds on the trail. During my 55 minutes of going out, I was only passed by one cyclist. On the return leg, there were still not many cyclists. Maybe most of them were still eating breakfast at their guesthouses.

On to today's run. I wanted to run the route that I accidentally discovered last week, but I knew it would be a mistake. That particular route is fairly sunny and hilly. I didn't really want to do hills when it was warm. I opted for the bike trail that eventually goes into Austria because it's the shadiest of my long running routes. It's tree-lined or in the shadow of the mountains for most of the way.

My pace was also very slow. It almost felt like I was going at a cool-down jog. But given the choice between overheating and a snail's pace, I'll run nice and slowly. I probably should be running close to this pace for my long runs anyway.  When I run slowly, I imagine that I'm running with friends of mine who I ran with in Parsberg who were slower than me. At this point in my training, it's all about time on my feet and not speed. The speed will come later as I get used to running longer distances.

When I run in cooler weather, my refueling breaks are every 30 minutes. This coincides with how water points are set up in most long German races. They are on average about 5 km apart. Even though I run 5 km in less than 30 minutes, I use that time because it's a nice round number. But because it was so warm today, I stopped every 20 minutes to take a drink. I was tempted to pour some of my drink over my head, but I wanted to make sure I had enough to last the whole run. Also Gatorade, even when it's diluted, can make hair very sticky and defeat the purpose of pouring water over my head. Yes, I have ended up accidentally pouring sports drink on my head at races.

Today's run was better than I thought it would be. I kept my expectations (and speed) low and decided to, "Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride." I thought for sure the heat would make my run a real "masochist's delight," but I actually enjoyed myself. My legs didn't really feel tired at the end; and I felt like I could have gone further. This is a good thing because over the next three months I will be going a lot further. I still prefer to train in cooler weather, but I showed that I could handle the heat by being smart. I also know that October will be a lot cooler than June. I really feel that I'm on the right track for the Munich Marathon this October.

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