I wondered why my marathon training was going so well and so easily.
The humidity hadn’t hit yet.
It has now.
As is typical of the seasonal change in the Washington, DC, area, our winters are long and cold (not freezing) and our summers are hot and humid. We get a few brief weeks of beautiful spring weather and then, wham, right into summer. Pretty much, that’s the way it goes.
So, I’m about halfway through my 18-week San Francisco Marathon training program. The mornings have been cool, which makes for excellent runs. I would also say that those mornings have been “misty,” which also makes for excellent runs. In fact, I wish for both when I toe the starting line with 26 miles ahead of me.
Even as recently as ten days ago I had the best long run (16 miles) I have ever experienced. No kidding. But on Sunday I went just one mile further, and I felt like I was on a different planet. I think it was Mercury. My trademark shuffle—which had been absent since last fall-—returned with a vengeance as I slogged through the last couple of miles. My growing confidence shattered as I realized that the cool weather had given me a false perception of just how ready and fit I am at this point. Pretty fit, but not ready.
And, today when I ran my four hill repeats at 6:30am—and was dripping wet at the base of the first hill—I started to wonder whether I actually should be doing this marathon thing again.
But perhaps this weather has been the reality check I needed but didn’t know I needed. The worst thing to do is start a marathon overconfident. Confident, yes, Slightly under-confident, okay. Overconfident, not a good idea.
I didn’t run that 17-miler well, but I did finish. I cursed those hills today, but they did not defeat me. I will forego my normal rest day tomorrow—due to a busy weekend schedule—and I will run twelve more hot miles. Despite the humidity, I am confident of that.
Thank you, accu-weather. Bring it on.