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Running in the Texas heat…

About a month or so ago, I decided I wanted to train for a full marathon.  I have done two half marathons in the last year and really feel like running a full marathon is something I can accomplish.

Running has been such a good friend to me over the last four years.  To give a brief history, running isn’t something I have always been good at. I definitely don’t consider myself a natural runner, but have conditioned my body to become a runner.  I am not long and lean as most people picture runners, but am more so short and athletic.  I grew up swimming, playing tennis, and doing gymnastics. With that schedule, I never really had time to run.  I would always do a quick mile here and there as a warm up before any of my other sports, but it was never at the front and center of my exercise routine.

During college, running still wasn’t a main focus of mine. I ran a couple miles every now and then. However, I was really dedicated to the elliptical machine.  Not having much knowledge about workout equipment, machines, or what was the best workout for my body, I stuck with the elliptical for all four years of college. Throughout college, I gradually gained weight. Not a lot of weight, but enough to be bothersome. I was never big, but I definitely was carrying a lot more weight that what my 5’4 frame needed. I attribute this to a lot of things including alcohol, having a boyfriend, lack of “real-food,” and a hectic schedule. 

It wasn’t until after college that I realized that I wasn’t as healthy as I thought I was.  I slowly started educating myself in the proper nutrition and most effective workouts for my body. I tried workout classes, yoga, personal training, gym memberships, and a variety of other activities, but in the end, running is what worked for me.  Last year, I also joined Camp Gladiator, to help me gain strength and speed. CG is a full body, intense workout.  It has been such a nice compliment to my running.  I have noticed that I have more endurance, am faster, and generally just feel stronger. 

So, all of that has brought me to my decision to run a marathon.  I think God has given me the ability to do this and I want to take advantage of that. So many people would love to be able to do something like this, but simply aren’t able to for various reasons. The marathon is in December, which means official training started about a week ago for me. The biggest issue I am having right now is figuring out how to run in this Texas heat!

Running in the morning is the obvious answer, but what do you do if your body doesn’t perform well in the mornings? I can get out a solid 4 miles before work, but anything more than that is extremely difficult.  I know the actual marathon is in the morning, but race days are entirely different than regular training days. I have massive amounts of adrenaline on race days; that doesn’t quite happen at 7 am on a regular day for me. 

I save my long runs for Sunday evenings.  Before this weekend, the last couple weeks haven’t been bad. However, around 7pm on Sunday, I set out to run 8 miles.  In normal weather, 8 miles isn’t that bad. I am actually going to Canada to visit relatives next weekend and am not at all concerned with running 9 miles. But, in Texas, in the dead of summer, when it is still 100 degrees at 7pm, 8 miles is a concern.  I can say hands down Sunday night’s run was my hardest run yet. It was way more difficult than any half I have done.  I had to slow my time down considerably in order to finish and take several walking breaks. 

After I finished my long run, I had a serious headache that didn’t go away until the following evening (last night).  Lack of hydration can be the culprit of this, but I honestly felt like I was well hydrated. I drink plenty of water and carried a water bottle with propel powder in it on my run.  Anyone have any tips on what to do to avoid these long run induced headaches? 

Fortunately, I have a week off from the Texas heat since I will be in Canada, but I have got to get it together for when I return.  My plan is going to be to make sure I am extra hydrated, take some kind of sugary/carb mixture with me on my next long  run, and make sure I eat properly before and after my run.  Hopefully a combination of these things will work since I don’t see this heat going away for at least a few months. And I have my mind set on running this marathon!

Good luck to anyone else training for white rock.  I can’t wait for it, but know I have lots of training to do in the meantime.

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