So there we were, in Miami, childless, free of work, free of home, free of most of our responsibilities. All of the freedom went to our heads and we got a little crazy. The first morning, on 2 1/2 hours of sleep and very little breakfast, we ran 5K at a pace that rivaled our effort at last year’s Miles for Midwives. That evening we put in another 6, just because we could. On Monday we did another fast 6 miler before dinner, then stayed up late eating pizza and watching tv. Still on our schedule: a long run. We wanted to see Miami on foot, so we mapped out a route (would you think less of me if I told you we actually went to see Michael Westin’s loft from Burn Notice?), put on our shoes and started running down the street.
It was a 15+ mile run, round trip. Kind of long for a non-training run, but we were on vacation. We could do whatever we wanted. We made it out without a problem, talking about life, admiring the houses on the Venetian Causeway, stopping for a drink of water at a local park. We found Michael’s loft (or what Google told us was Michael’s loft) said, “That’s nice,” and turned around. We finished the 8th, 9th, 10th mile and still felt good. Finished the 11th and felt okay. Then halfway through the 12th it hit us. It was warm. The sun was out. We didn’t bring any water. We didn’t have any food. We’d had a cup of yogurt and some orange juice for breakfast 5 hours earlier. The tank was empty. Okay, Micah’s tank was empty. He doesn’t carry around reserves on his hips like I do and he was struggling. We made it to a park and rehydrated, splashed ourselves to cool down, and headed out for the last 2 1/2-3 miles. We didn’t make it very far before Micah had to stop and walk.
There were a few scary moments when I wondered how I would get him back to the hotel if he passed out, but, thankfully, it ended as well as could be expected. We walked some, we ran some, we made it back and ate and drank and soaked our legs in a cold bath. And that is about when we realized our second mistake: my shoulders and back were turning a very bright pink. Silly us. Not even thinking about sunscreen. So in case you thought Micah has been getting picked on over here, just know that I am still paying for my mistake.
But this little tale of woe brings us to the latest training tip: take a minute to think about what you’ll need to prepare yourself for your run. Make a checklist and go through it whenever you go out. Is it reasonable to assume you’ll be able to run 15+ miles on a cup of yogurt you ate four hours before? Will you regret it if you don’t take a minute or two to apply some sunscreen? Do you know where you’ll get water if you need it or should you bring some? There are few things as psychologically damaging as not being able to complete an important run during your training, and if you can prevent it simply by going through a mental checklist to see if you are ready, then it’s totally worth that extra time.
(Now if I can just get myself to follow my own advice . . . .)