Heat acclimatization.

Having wilted in the heat of Duluth (of all places! A Southerner being defeated by the heat just off the coast of Lake Superior), I found that it would be a good idea to actually get used to doing some exercise in the heat. So I ran 4 miles today around 10:15 a.m. I think the heat index was already over 100.

I did OK, but I walked a lot. Sweated a lot, too.

Back into the pool!

For someone who pretends to be a triathlete, I sure haven't done much swimming this calendar year. Until this morning, in fact, the only swimming I'd done was a half-mile open-water swim* in a tri last month. But having been punished in Duluth for my sins all year, I am going to try not to completely neglect training for my next race.

I was swimming 50 yards breaststroke, 50 yards freestyle--sometimes using a freestyle catch-up drill--until I had done 500 yards, which is the number of yards I'll have to swim in a lake in a little over two weeks.


Tomorrow, four miles of running, 6:30 a.m.

* I was wearing a wetsuit which, valuably, kept me from drowning but not from being completely worn out before I got to the bike leg.

On disappointment.

A tough day at the marathon today. Unseasonably warm weather for Minnesota (65 degrees at race start, 88% humidity) did not account for poor training and nonexistent race-day strategy (other than "run with the 5:30 pace group"), but it sure made it impossible for me to continue much past the 16-mile mark.

After stopping for a bathroom break at mile 8--and waiting several minutes to use the porta-potty--I knew I wouldn't catch back up with the pace group. I switched to two-and-ones (the pace group had been doing five-and-ones) but switched to one-and-ones during mile 13. At 14, I started hurting and decided to walk for a bit. I figured that walking for a mile or two might give me a bit of recovery time. I did not feel any better, and during mile 15, I vacillated between the decision to try to completely walk the last 10 miles or drop out.

Dropping out was disappointing, of course, but I am convinced that I might have suffered heatstroke (or worse) had I stayed on the course. The drop-out bus had plenty of other folks on it, most of whom were younger and certainly fitter-looking than I was.

I'm going to have to reflect upon this experience over the next few days. Am I ready to do whatever needs to be done and make the commitments that need to be made if I'm going to do more of these 26.2-mile races? Or should I switch to something else, like tennis or swimming?

UPDATE (6/20/16): I just saw that I was one of 227 who started the race but did not finish. 7,751 started the race, so that's about 2.9% that dropped out. I have no idea whether that's a high or low percentage. I do know that my preparation was insufficient for even the best conditions.

Modest Expectations (or, Cheating the 26.2 Distance)

Here are the things that I have learned about myself after running 7 marathons succesfully and dropping out of 1:

  1. I go into these things unrealistically optimistic.
  2. I have never overtrained for a marathon.
  3. I have almost exclusively undertrained for the marathon.

This go-'round has definitely been a cycle of undertraining. The two longest runs I've done were half-marathons in March and April. No long run past 6 miles in May or June. This could be disastrous, or it could just be meh. I'm hoping for the latter. My worst races, especially including the one I dropped out of, happened when I undertrained.

Ergo, the plan is to run with the 5:30 pace group. I should think this would be doable, but I will be prepared for that time if/when I will feel like crapping out (somewhere between 16 and 21 miles, if personal history is reliable). If/when I hit the wall, I'm going to look for someone else who's hit is worse than I have and run/walk with that person.

Summer plans.

My employer has decided to give me an extended summer vacation in the form of a contract non-renewal. Consequently, my summer pursuits will be unburdened by professional development seminars and the like.

While I'll be returning to my previous career of sitting around drinking coffee freelance writing, other projects I'll be pursuing include:

Stay tuned.


2nd in my age group!

For a variety of reasons, the Achilles Nashville Hope & Possibility 5-Miler had a depleted field (plus at least one guy in my age group who beat me but didn't wear a timing chip).

Having said that, I got second in my age group. This happens so rarely: one other time. But I'll take it. I averaged 10:08 per mile, even though I switched to walk-run after three miles.

I must be getting better at this. I hope so. I'm running a full marathon in five weeks.


I thought about the word "transition" plenty today,because a) I was in a triathlon, and b) I was informed on Friday afternoon that my contract would be renewed (most likely ending my brief career as a teacher).

So, unlike my spotty triathlon career, I'm planning to practice the next transition.