Order up! A heaping slice of humble pie with a side of lost dignity. . .
When I pulled up to a favorite local trail on Saturday, I put in my order for a nice, easy run. What I ended up with was a stark contrast to my desire. An unexpected serving of humble pie was mine, whether I asked for it or not.
I started off strong – feeling confident about the path ahead, but quickly realized my late-morning start wasn’t the wisest of choices. Having been spoiled by a colder-than-usual winter, I found myself bucking the idea of running early to avoid potential heat and happily snuggled my pillow well into mid-morning. Enter mistake number one. As a native Floridian, I know better. Running in May is the beginning of sauna season. Gone are the lazy days of winter. They’ve been replaced with running at o’dark thirty to avoid the heat.
I knew I was in trouble when my GPS watch beeped to indicate the completion of a mile. Feeling like I was pushing the pace just-a-tad, my eyes almost fell out of my head when I saw the time display a full 30-seconds slower than my normal “easy” pace. Knowing that my goal included four more miles, I knew immediately that it wasn’t going to be pretty.
I soldiered on, telling myself the heat was just in my head – but my stomach and body didn’t quite agree. Perhaps the tiny banana I had two hours previously wasn’t enough, or maybe I should have laid off the diet soda the day before in exchange for water. Whatever the culprit, I hadn’t planned accordingly to prepare for the heat and my legs and ego were paying the price.
After the second mile I resolved myself to survival mode and adjusted my expectations. I still wanted to go the distance, but decided walk breaks were a must. So I ran and I walked, and then I ran and I walked – until my GPS displayed the magical number of five miles complete.
I didn’t look at my finish time as I headed over to sit in the shade, disgusted by my inability to hang in the heat. But as I sat there defeated and dripping of sweat, I made a decision to eat the humble pie I was served. I could easily let the less-than-stellar run define my attitude about my running, but not this time. I know better than to set out on a late-morning run in the Florida heat. I know better than to saturate my thirst with carbonated sodas instead of water. And I know the importance of proper pre-run fueling. But I needed a little reminder to not take these things for granted, because without them – good running doesn’t happen. A momentary lapse in judgement (or a bad run) doesn’t define me. It only makes me stronger in the long run.
My most frequent running mistake is not starting early enough in hot months and then suffering from the heat. Are you a repeat offender too? What mistake do you make most often? Let me know here or tweet me @KaraDeschenes!