Well, I did not have what it takes to do the 12 miles in the heat Saturday morning. We went the whole twelve miles, but I didn’t run the whole way. My legs had it, but I didn’t. I am simply not equal to the heat during the summer. My heart race races, I overheat, and I can’t go on. I’m gaining weight, and I’m not feeling fit. I don’t know what to do in the short term to fix it.
In the long term I know: eat less and exercise more. My body isn’t really changing shape as I’ve put on a few pounds, and I know that some of the weight I’ve gained is muscle, because I’m lifting weights and I can see the difference. But I’m also at way too high a body fat percentage, and as I’ve gained muscle I haven’t leaned down at all.
The result is I tried to drag 192 pounds through 12 miles at 80 degrees and 89% humidity and I couldn’t do it. I only made it about four miles before having to walk the first time. The full twelve took us about three hours. Which is a long time to be run-walking drenched in sweat and miserable. But we made the distance.
I really hope we have a cooling trend soon. At 70 degrees I can run a long time. And at 50, I can run forever. At least, I could last year. The marathon was a little warm last year, a low of 54 degrees, warming to 71 by the end of the race. And we did it. If historical averages hold, the marathon this year should have a low of about 38, and a high of about 54. Which sounds absolutely mesmerizing to me.
I am objectively in worse shape than I was last year this time. I’m slower, and I can’t finish long runs I was finishing last year. So I have to work harder. And I have to do something about my eating. Which means, don’t buy any more goddamn peanut butter. Because I can’t resist eating a third of a jar with a spoon and a glass of milk. No more little treats at work. I can cut 1000 calories a week without missing them if I’m just reasonably circumspect about my consumption.
If I lose the 5-7 pounds I’ve put on, and get my short runs in despite the heat, I should be ready to do the long runs even on the challenging days. This weekend the forecast calls for 68 at dawn on Saturday. Hopefully, after a few runs this week, I’ll be able to meet that challenge. Much is mental. But overheating is brutal, and I don’t know what to do except get into better shape, so my body is more efficient and doesn’t produce (and conserve) so much heat at the same energy levels.
I’m disappointed in my fitness at the same time as being proud of what I’ve accomplished this year. It’s a weird place to be. In the past year I’ve run a full marathon, broken the two hour mark in a half-marathon, I ran a 1:25 ten-miler, and finished my first triathlon. And no little kid’s version either. A 44 kilometer, hot, humid beast. I’ve achieved things I never thought possible.
And here I am, being stupidly mad at myself for not being fit. I guess I’ll just have to do better.