Last weekend was the final week of training for the half-marathon. I went out during the week on my lunch hour for two 5km runs (one of which I botched because I tried using the treadmill only to discover that indoor running has proven to be much more difficult for me now than outdoor) but Tay wasn’t able to get out and was hesitant to run our last long-long run without having ran that week. We compromised and did an 8km run Saturday evening, rescheduling our long run for Monday morning. I thought it was a wise compromise as the weather Saturday was the high 20’s, with the humidity putting it in the mid 30’s. It was indeed a sticky, swelterin run, even at 6pm and I patted myself on the back for avoiding 18km in miserably hot conditions.
On Monday morning we woke up, sluggish and lethargic from Thanksgiving dinner the night before but with lots of fuel to keep us going through what would be a 2hr run. It was overcast and cool looking but a quick weather check revealed it to be 29 degrees with the humidex.
I pulled on some shorts and a tank top, and laced up my runners that are quickly falling apart (the right one is splitting along the side seam) and dug deep to get me going. I had mentally prepared myself for the long run, but I hadn’t factored in muggy, stickiness.
As we were about to leave the house the sun came out, and I groaned inwardly if not audibly, knowing things were going to heat up with every mile. Grabbed my sunglasses and off we went.
A kilometre in and I was sweating, and already using the folded up papertowel tucked in the pocket of my shorts to wipe my forehead as I ran. The sun beat down and 20 minutes into the run, right around the time when that wall comes down and run becomes easier, and the pleasure kicks in, I was ready to pull the plug. The pavement stretched before me endlessly. I cursed the hot, sticky weather, the people who think it’s SO great that we have 30 degree weather in October. I cursed myself for ever thinking it was a good idea to run a half-marathon.
I tried to think of all the terrible times I have declared that that particular thing was the worst thing I had lived through to see if it would top how I felt in those moments as I hit kilometer after kilometer. I thought about the stitches I’ve had and the surgeries I’ve been through, and my duathalon and the move and the whole experience with the dumpster. Moments in my life when I’ve been in severe physical pain, and all those things – I think I would have rather rolled them in a ball and jumped into the middle of it instead repeating that particular run.
But I kept going, mostly because I knew that the half-marathon next week couldn’t be any worse than the conditions I was running in. That no matter if it rained or was sunny and hot and humid, it couldn’t be any worse. Couldn’t possibly. I’ve been checking the weather periodically for Sunday and running 21 kilometres in 14 degree weather sounds like a walk in the park, a stroll on the beach. It sounds downright pleasant.
We ran until we couldn’t run anymore, ran through the heat, and the nauseousness and the second bottle of water that we swung past the house to get (Tay scooting in ahead of me so I didn’t need to break my stride), and I guzzled half of it while pouring the other half over my head and down the back of my tank top. The temperature said it would feel like 29 and it definitely did, if not 39. When I finally stopped, and I could feel my muscles contracting as they fought to slow down (convulsing in a bizarre, repetitive way), my watch said 2 hours and 18 minutes and the gmaps declared us at 17.8km.
Not quite 18 but I’ll take it. I never, ever, in a million years thought that I’d be able run 5km much less a half marathon, but after yesterday’s run, I know that I can do this – and anything else that I set my mind to. I can do this.