Slamming into the wall

hitting a wall, runningFrom a quick search on my blog and from my memory of what I've written, I'm pretty sure that I have never talked about hitting a wall on a run. I think it comes from keeping my long runs slower and, fortunately, not having many wall-hitting moments in a race. Today, though, I had one of the worst moments of hitting on a wall on a run that I can remember. I had 14 miles planned, but after the sun came up, I felt like I had the life sucked out of me. At around 11 miles I was feeling weak; after stopping and drinking some water, I tried to keep going.

At mile 12, I could not go any more. It wasn't like I went from a run to a walk -- I literally had to stop and catch my breath for a minute before I could go. I walked about a half mile and then tried to run a little more, but less than a quarter mile later the run was over. Getting to 14 miles safely, and to 30 miles for the week, just wasn't meant to be.

It was so humid today -- at 5:30 a.m. the humidity was 84 percent. It was the same 2 hours later. The temperatures weren't too bad -- in the low 70s -- but the sun got a little rough when it came up. My clothes were as wet today as when I ran in the rain Tuesday. I could feel sweat dripping on my legs from my shorts at the end of the run. I'm pretty sure that's never happened before.

Despite feeling defeated for a little while, I am OK with all this. I hit some big hills throughout today's run (700-plus feet of elevation gain) that I guess I wasn't fully ready for on a longer run. The effort on these hills will do more for me than a longer flat run will anyway, so I have to keep that in mind.

long run, Baltimore Marathon training

And why would I beat myself for running 12-plus miles in miserable conditions? On top of that, I had some great runs this week in the hottest conditions I've ever experienced, plus a run in the rain. I am not about to complain as this week will make a big difference in how I feel in cooler conditions later in training. (See yesterday's post about training in these conditions ...)

One lesson I have learned this week is that I either need to get used to running with my Camelbak again or buy a small handheld. After running in the heat this week and the humidity today, I need to do something. I did a good job today of staging water stops and fuel -- five water stops, two gels and a Clif bar -- but a more constant supply of water may have made a difference with getting an extra couple of miles.

Not to be lost in today's run is the fact that I passed 90 miles for the month and 500 miles for the year. As I adjust my training schedule for next week, I'll get to 120 miles in July if things go as planned. My focus, though, will be to make sure these continue to be solid, focused and purposeful miles ... and no more wall-hitting.

Image: Lavoview / FreeDigitalPhotos.net