I have finally decided that my back is good enough to start running; however, I made this decision in the worst part of Texas Summer, including a heat wave of sun worthy proportions.
My friend Mal is back from Grenada and we made the decision to run together yesterday for the first time. She's been waiting impatiently for me to get better so we can train again and join the Houston Hash. I'm not doing my first Hash without her, so I need to get back in the game. Our first time was Memorial Park (old familiar for me) at 5 (and 5:30 and then eventually 6). My job was to bring her an extra pair of shoes since she left hers at the house really far away. That was my only job. I grabbed my new running belt, mace, keys, phone, credit card, and drivers license. My only job was to bring the shoes. I left the house at 5:15 p.m. in the middle of high traffic time and getting from my house to Memorial Park during this time was a real bitch. All of the freeways and streets were packed with people trying to get home. In my opinion, the lights are shorter during this time further congesting the roads. I was almost there, turning on the street that takes me directly in to the park when I pulled out my phone to give her the bad news...I forgot the shoes. Normally, I would just head home to get the shoes, but it took me about 45 minutes to get there when it was a 20 minute drive and the roads were just as congested going the other way. My one job and I spaced out. I told her that we could just walk the 3 mile loop, but she only had on socks and wasn't going to walk in socks or barefoot. So, she left.
Since I just spent a frustrating car ride to get there, I wasn't going to waste the moment to at least try to run. I parked by the 3 mile marker and decided to go my normal clockwise (since there is WAY more shade that way). I did a quick stretch and walked to that marker before I started running. Wow! It's been awhile. Maybe it was the fact that my thighs are sore and burning from the 50 squats that I did that morning and the morning before, maybe it was the heat (oh God, it was completely unbearable and it was 6 p.m.), maybe it was my neck (which I have an all new injury where I can't even turn my head...no idea what happened there), or maybe it was not having my partner that has been running motivating me, but I just couldn't get in to the running. I was already walking before I reached the 1/4 mile. I AM ALREADY WALKING. This reminded me of the first ever time that I put shoe to pavement (before I even thought about half marathons) when I could barely run. Well, this was no different. I was out of breath, hot, exhausted, sore and it was not even a 1/4 mile.
When that marker showed up, I did run and planned to run to the 1/2 marker. I actually blew past that at some point, because I never saw it. I started walking somewhere on the track and did a few more quick runs before I nearly passed out trying to get to the first water fountain. I ran a little more and then walked and walked until I reached the 1 mile marker. At this point, I'm not sure how many times I actually ran. I did some quick ones and tried to stay in the shade as much as possible even if it added a litte more track. By the time I reached 1 1/2 marker, I gave up completely on running. I just walked and walked and walked struggling to get to the next water station. So, I think that I ran a mile, but I can't be sure.
Some advice to Memorial Park: More stations at least during the Summer and try to shade your water stations that you do have.
Now, normally, I'm all for any exercise no matter what; I am out there walking. However, I wasn't worried about walking 3 miles, because I probably walked 10 miles in a day when I was in London. I walked everywhere, several miles a day and sometimes carrying a 20-25 lb weight on my back (not to mention carrying a bag on my arm full of goodies). I've been walking around my complex with my dogs (the dog park is roughly 1 mile roundtrip). I was worried about running and running I could NOT do. Actually, at one point, I had to fight back vomiting, because it was so hot (this while just walking). So, I just walked by the trees just in case, but nothing happened. It was actually kind of sad. Before all these injuries, I was running 3-4 miles in this heat and doing a total of 6 miles.
The other issue was my neck. I have no idea what's going on with it, but it hurt. When I was running, it felt better (walking just made it painful), but I couldn't get my body to run that much. I struggled to make it to the 3 mile marker and back to my car. I didn't even stretch; I just got in and blasted the AC. Yes, I know you aren't supposed to do that right away, but I didn't care...it was freaking hot. And then I remembered the lady from Shut Up and Run telling us, "No excuses even if it's hot." Yeah, it's easy for someone to say that who lives in Colorado and not Texas. Texas is HOT. I mean, I got done about 7 p.m. and the temperature was still at full blast of 97 degrees and that's not including the heat index or humidity levels.
I wanted to get up at 5 a.m. this morning to just run for 30 minutes, but I couldn't. My neck was in bad shape. However, Mal and I do plan to run tomorrow. I wanted to set it up for the morning, but I forgot that my new awesome furniture is getting delivered. So, I guess we are running in the heat again. UGH! Wish me luck. I hope I don't die or vomit or both.