16 Miles in a Heat Wave

WOW! It’s been hot here in northern Virginia. All of our runs this week have been super challenging. The heat and humidity hits you as soon as you walk outside, and it feels like being wrapped in a heavy wet blanket. Everything has felt much more difficult, especially keeping my breathing and heart rate controlled while running.

As soon as I saw the weather forecast earlier this week I knew that our long run would be a tough one. We had 16 miles to do on Saturday, and even at 5 am the temperature was 79 with a heat index of 89, and humidity was at 86%! From there it only continued to get worse. We decided ahead of time to do as much as we could stand outside and then head to the gym to finish off our 16 miles on the treadmill (a.k.a. the torture machine). I was not happy about this but I knew it was necessary to keep ourselves safe in the heat.

We didn’t start running until 6:15 that morning, which was later than I wanted to start. We knew we were in for a challenging run and we were trying our best to have a positive attitude.

Since we weren’t sure how much we would be able to run outside, we wanted to stay nearby our house and the gym, which was 2 miles away from our house. First we ran down to Belmont Bay where we are getting married. After only 2.5 miles we were completely soaking wet with sweat. We stopped for a minute to take a picture and the lens immediately fogged up.

The air was so thick it was unbelievable! We tried to take a picture of ourselves and failed- but it pretty much sums up how it felt to be running outside at that time!

We started running again, but started needing to take walking breaks after every mile or two. We made it from Belmont Bay to Occoquan. At that point we needed a little bit of a longer break. We were 7 miles in and we were losing steam.

We stopped by a little pond to rest. I could tell it was just getting too hot and that we would be heading to the treadmill soon. I was dreading it!

It looked like I had just jumped in the pond! My shorts were the worst. It felt like I was wearing a wet diaper… yuck!

Before running to the gym we ran through the town of Occoquan, then stopped again by the water at mile 8.

Kevin started feeling a little bit nauseous and I wasn’t feeling good either. We knew we needed to go inside to the air-conditioned gym.

Luckily, the gym was only a little over a mile away. We arrived there after running 9.32 miles. I knew we would have to run 2 miles home, so we planned to run 4.68 miles on the treadmill to bring our total to 16.

Those 4.68 miles were TOUGH. Treadmill running is very hard for me. I feel like I can’t get comfortable and I always stare at the screen the whole time. I couldn’t wait for it to be over and it felt like it never would be. I was thankful that we managed to run so much outside and didn’t have to run more than that!

Once we were finally done, I wrung out my soaking wet clothes in the locker room, put them back on (so gross!) and we left the gym to run 2 more miles home. Kevin was not very happy about that.

Only 2 more miles to go – we can do it!

So we set off running…

And those 2 miles were extremely hard. Our bodies were so tired, and even though we drank a ton of water we felt dehydrated. We had to stop and walk after each half mile that we ran. It was frustrating to know that the heat was beating us down so badly, but we finally made it back home into our air-conditioned apartment. I immediately changed out of my gross clothes, drank an electrolyte replacement drink and sprawled out on the floor. I was so proud of us for doing what we had to do to get our long run in on such a hot day. It wasn’t pretty, but we did it!

The run itself took 2 hours and 33 minutes, but we took a lot of untimed walking breaks so we were really outside/in the gym for a little over 3 hours. The running portions were broken down like this – Outside: 9.32 miles (1:29:08), Inside: 4.68 miles (45:15), Outside: 2 miles (19:19).

Surprisingly, I felt fine the rest of the day and even managed to stay up until 3 AM at my friend’s bachelorette party! I did get some stomach cramps that evening, but I think it was due to the heat and dehydration from earlier. I drank more water and they went away.

Here is my weekly run down:

  • Monday: 7 mile run (1:04:56 / 9:16 pace) + Body Pump (1 hour)
  • Tuesday: 7 mile tempo run- 1 mile warm up, 5 miles @ 8:01 average pace, 1 mile cool down (Splits were 8:05, 8:01, 7:59, 7:58, 8:03)
  • Wednesday: Spin class (1 hour) + Body Pump (1 hour)
  • Thursday: 7 mile run (1:06:11 / 9:27 pace)
  • Friday: Body Pump (1 hour)
  • Saturday: 16 mile run (2:33:42 / 9:36 pace), dancing, mechanical bull riding 🙂
  • Sunday: Rest
Hope everyone has a great Sunday evening! I’ll be spending mine on the couch with my hubby-to-be 🙂

One response to “16 Miles in a Heat Wave

  1. Pingback: Recap of 2011, Goals for 2012 | Run Inspired

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