Sunday, July 21, 2013

Week in Review

95 miles
5 doubles
1 road race disaster
16-mile long run success
4 AFDs

This week was the ultimate test of mental and physical fortitude, as the relentless heat wave continued to grip the Northeast with absolutely no mercy. The weather finally broke late Saturday night, but until that point every run felt like a death march. 

No more acutely was this emphasized than at Saturday's Seacoast Seven, a road race in Gloucester that I'd scouted online because it was less than 30 minutes from our house and promised prize money (though how much was uncertain, apparently not worth mention on the race web site). But even as Jordan and I warmed up at Stage Fort Park early Saturday morning, I knew it was a bad idea. The mercury was already well past 80 with humidity to match, and the course that was billed online as "challenging" proved to be "hilly as sh@#" within the first 400 meters. I found myself in a comfortable lead that began to grow increasingly less comfortable as the race progressed--sure enough, as I came to a complete standstill at the 4-mile water stop to douse myself, I began to see spots. I had no choice but to take a break for a few minutes and regain my composure, watching helplessly as two other women (one wearing Nike Tempo shorts?!?--shoot me) trotted past. I asked a nearby race official if there were a shortcut back to the finish, having already thrown in the proverbial towel, and was assured there was not. So I started jogging, deciding a few miles later to cross the finish line only because there might be prize money for third place and I might be able to at least win back my entry fee. Fortunately this proved to be true, and though I hardly deserved it I've already deposited the $50 check.

In sharp contrast, Sunday's group long run was an absolute delight. Jordan and I drove to Harvard and met Terry, Emily, Hilary Dionne (2:39 at this year's Boston), Irish Kevin and several other BAA runners for a relaxed jaunt along the river, across the Emerald Necklace, around the Arboretum and back. With the temperature "only" in the upper 70s at midday we were quite comfortable, and despite this being my longest run in months there were only a few sections where I found myself struggling. I may not be getting fit just yet, but I'm slowly getting stronger. For now that's enough.