MOTHER NATURE DID NOT CONSULT MY COACH. The temperature Wednesday afternoon got to at least 100 degrees, without taking the heat index into account. Hot enough that the regular 6:30 p.m. run out of Running Fit downtown had been cancelled. Coach Marie, helpful as ever, had suggested that everyone join her on a 5:45 a.m. run through the Art Fair area. And I would have, had I not had a life insurance medical exam at 8:00 a.m., with no food or strenuous exercise allowed for 12 hours before. (Honest, I would have.)
The nurse was duly impressed with my fitness level and weekly exercise routine. She then told me about a friend of hers who ran marathons, very fit, etc. etc., who dropped dead in his driveway one day after a run. (I am surrounded by helpful people.) I got my revenge by changing into biking clothes, hopping on the TriCross, and heading off to the Art Fair.
I performed my duty of picking up the latest Carol Cline pieces (my wife has collected her ceramic fruit for about 25 years) and found a colorful silk scarf for my fashionista daughter at a booth owned by one of our running group. (Stuart, I admire you for trying to sell Irish woolen clothes in this weather.)
While there was no group run that evening, my training plan still called for a 6-mile progression run, which means that each mile is run faster than the mile before it. So that meant my final two miles would call for the hardest effort. Given the temperature, there were two realistic options: run it inside on the treadmill, or call it off and go get ice cream. Naturally, I selected the third option – damn the thermometer, full speed ahead outside. I don’t mind the heat, remember?
I headed out around 9:15 from my house to do two 3-mile loops, so I could take a Gatorade break (or quit) at the halfway mark. Amazingly, I hit my target times for the first three miles. More amazingly, I did the other three after refueling. I did make one concession to the heat: I stopped the speed work after five miles, and did the final mile slowly. After all, dropping dead in my driveway would be counterproductive to my fitness goals. I cooled off by helping my wife grill vegetables on the back deck for a salad she was making for her company picnic on Thursday.
Yes, I recognize the irony of this entire post. A year from now, I won’t believe any of it. I’m not sure I do now. Does that Twilight Zone episode come to mind? Click here and you tell me.