Thursday, July 14, 2011

Morning Running, My Nemesis

I hate running in the morning. When I drive my daughter to school and we see morning runners, I always point to the offending runner and say "I hate you". I hate morning runners the same way non-runners hate runners: I wish I could do what they do. Since I can't, there must be something wrong with THEM.

When I got into my rental car in Phoenix a few weeks ago, I started driving and I noticed that the clock was wrong, it said 1:17 and it was sometime around noon. Then, I figured out that I wasn't looking at the clock. I was looking at the thermometer and it was 117F, or 47C. In the shade. Holy fuck. We actually had to turn around and go back to switch from a Dodge Neon to a Malibu because the Neon's AC just couldn't cope.

By the time we got to Sedona at around 3PM, it was a balmy 104F. How am I supposed to run in that?  Well, I have two choices. One, I wait until 6 or preferably 7PM, when the temperature goes down to the low 90's but than I only have an hour of daylight left. It's nice though. But this isn't a good choice when you're vacationing with a non-runner, which is the case for my wife.

The other choice, the only choice, is to run in the morning. Early in the morning. At 5:30AM, the temperature up here is usually around 65F. By 10:00AM it's usually in the mid-80's and there ain't much shade, this being the desert and all. There are trees, but they're short and don't project much shade. So there you have it, I've been getting up at the crack of dawn, I eat breakfast and then drive to the trail head and squeeze a decent run.

I hate it. Not the running, the morning thing. Even if you've been up for an hour, the first few steps of a morning run are jarring. Every step resonates deep into my skull. I'm immediately winded. My legs hurt. My stride is way off and I feel like my legs have forgotten how to run. Things do eventually get better and I end up having a great time anyway, but I ain't a morning running convert. If I wasn't scared shitless by Burning River, I'm not sure how many times I would have run. As it is, I'm not sure I ran as much as I should have, but I probably ran enough to maintain what I had and have a good shot at finishing. Hopefully.

My vacation is now almost over, I have only one or two runs left. I'm probably going to rest tomorrow and try to get up REALLY early on Saturday and do an epic climb. I did that run last Xmas when it was nice and cool and it was hard so I have to be up there before the heat. Coming down should not be an issue even if it's a bit warm.

Now on a completely different topic. I've always been amazed that one can actually run in trails without face-planting every 2 minutes. I believe my trail running is slowly improving. When I first started running in trails, I remember being very indecisive. I always looked for a better line than the one I was taking, therefore not paying enough attention to MY line and tripping frequently. Tripping (or stubbing your toe) can be frustrating, painful and down right scary if you're going down hill. I've noticed a sudden and dramatic decrease in the frequency of such tripping incidents. Somehow, my brain seems to have decided that it doesn't matter which line I pick, as long as I pick one. I also think that my focus has moved a little further ahead but somehow, my feel still seem to end up at the right place. Mostly. Anyway, I find it interesting because this is not something I've been consciously trying to change, other than NOT falling on my face, obviously.

Obviously, I'm totally scared of Burning River. I told Russell (the runner I paced at Sulphur Spring) that I preferred to run alone and wouldn't need him as a pacer. Maybe it's a mistake. I just feel I need some alone time out there. Mohican was confusing to me and I need some clarity and I believe running BR by myself will do that.

That's it for now.


Derrick said...

Ouch. I thought our heat was bad. Totally agree about the morning runs....they suck. My morning runs usually begin at about 10am as a post breakfast or pre-lunch run.

Gpod luck at Burning River!

Carlos said...

Jealous, great trail you showed on the video. Morning is a love-hate relationship, I love it in summer but absolutely hate it in winter.... and yeah all the long races start at 5 or 6am!

See you at BR.


Thomas Bussiere said...

Thanks for stopping by. It was a tough course, which means we need to train harder for next year. I will be there if I don't get my name pulled out of the WS100 bucket.
I had no problem with the heat and humidity - 30 minutes / 3 times a week in the sauna 6 weeks prior to the race really helps.