Drastic weather changes suck.
No. For real. They do.
Let me explain why. Last week, Saturday morning offered up gorgeous 60°F weather. I went out to Seneca Park in Louisville, Kentucky, and ran an easy six miles for training. It was gorgeous out. So gorgeous that I enjoyed that run in shorts and a t-shirt. No need to layer. No compression gear necessary. Leave that winter gear at home. It was the perfect morning for a run. It got up to 72°F that day and I was out in it as much as possible.
That night…rain rolled in. Rain and cold. And when I woke up the next morning, the cold, damp blech was still falling from the skies. A check of the weather showed that it was going to be with us all day. And I had a race to run that evening in Frankfort, Kentucky. And errands to run that afternoon once places began opening for their Sunday hours. So, out into the cold blech I went. And I can say that, because at one point, we had the cold air, the rain, the snow, and sleet all falling from the sky at once, making road and sidewalk conditions rather…treacherous. Not. A. Fan.
I also was not a fan of being inside and then back out into the mess of the world that day…time-after-time. I’d finally get some warmth back into my bones and it was time to scurry through the pouring rain back to the car. And…remember…the high the day before was 40 degrees warmer than it currently was.
I ran my race in just the cold. The rain stopped moments before the run, and started up again about the time my booty hit the seat of my car to drive back to Louisville. I was thankful for that. But…the crazy weather took it’s toll…
Here I sit…with this upper respiratory…THING. I am NOT a happy runner. A happy runner wouldn’t have to fight for each breath. A happy runner wouldn’t have a coughing fit in the middle of a run. A happy runner wouldn’t have to carry a pack of tissues. A happy runner would be in shorts and not layered still. It’s the end of March. Last year I was in shorts and t-shirts by this point. This year, I’m sucking in cold air and my lungs just aren’t handling that very well.
The worst part is…I have a race on Saturday. Not just any race, where I feel like I could plod along and be okay with my finishing time. It’s not “just another” little 5K race to run to work on, maybe, getting a little faster. Nope. This is the second race in the Louisville Triple Crown of Running. The Rodes City Run 10K. And last year I ran my heart out in this race. And I’ve only since gotten faster.
Coming into the Triple Crown this year, I was definitely feeling that I could improve on all of my times from last year. And I definitely did that in the Anthem 5K, with my first sub-23 minute 5K race time and my new 5K PR. So, that made me feel good about the 10K this weekend. Until the mega blahs hit. When breathing becomes difficult, running becomes even more difficult.
Needless to say, the best I can do now on Saturday is hope I just run the best race I can. Not worry about my pace, my time, who might be ahead of me. Breathing…that’s the key. Maintaining a pace where I can still attempt to breathe is far more important than blitzing the hell out of the streets of Louisville in search of a new PR. There will be other 10K events and other Triple Crown years ahead of me. No need to do something crazy and make a bad situation worse.
I won’t lie…I am beyond disappointed. I’m angry. I’m upset. But, these are the cards I have been dealt. At least I can still get out there and move. At least I can still run. Albeit it, my training runs have been less than enjoyable…slower than usual…and have involved quite a few moments of labored breathing…lots of gasping…even more coughing. I think I sound like a warthog in search of something to eat while I’m out at 4 a.m. getting my training run logged. That is no lie.
So, I suppose…Saturday I’ll just get my Pumba on…run the best race I can in the condition I am in…and just enjoy it. That’s what it’s all about for me anyway…doing something I love. Even if it sounds like I should be out nosing through the African savannah in search of grubs…the Rodes City Run 10K will be finished by me.
Hakuna Matata – no worries. There’s always next year…