I paused at the base of the climb and briefly pondered my mortality. Could I die running up this hill? Probably not. Do I feel like I could at any moment? Absolutely. Why does this suck so much right now? Because it's SO FREAKING HOT and it's STILL WINTER. What might it take to just drop dead running up this hill? Not much! Is that chafing? already? What an amateur.
And with that, we headed up. Three miles of warm-up and two miles of repeats later we headed out for eight 'cool down' miles before attacking the hill for one more set. I don't even consider 15 miles a long run anymore, but that's all that was on the docket and it seemed like an insurmountable goal for some reason that day. I didn't have an ounce of energy to spare beyond that, or at least that's what it felt like. Or at least that's what dehydration on this day felt like.
I felt like the horse poop strewn about the trail, warmed over, covered in flies. My legs were solid concrete, my head was fuzzy, my mouth dry, and my 'tude was borderline sanctionable.
But I made it through despite myself. Because that's what we do. We just get it done. It was very unpretty on my part. The temperature was in the mid-80s and since it was still yet to officially be spring, the trees were bare and the sun shone down with a fury. I was covered in goosebumps, but sweating with reckless abandon. That's just wrong, and furiously uncomfortable.
After what felt like an astonishingly long time, we came to one of the bridges to find that there was actually water in the stream, flowing lazily along; it beckoned me. I didn't even give it a second thought as I strode through the chilly waters, balancing on mossy submerged rocks, crossing delicately. In my weakened state, the barely there current was nearly enough to knock me down. My lower legs thanked me for the cool respite. Geof cheered me on as I made my way across. I considered dunking my shirt and hat, but thought better of it. Who knows what sort of gross is in that water; it is Palos afterall :)
I felt pretty refreshed after my water dance, and noshed on a Honey Stinger Waffle. But soon the heat took over once again and I had to do something I haven't done in a training run in a long time: take a walk break. It was lovely and I nearly instantly felt better. I told Geof to go on ahead and get a start on his final round of Bertha repeats. I plugged in some musical inspiration and shuffled my way to the base of the hill. I decided repeats were definitely not a smart thing for me at that time, but wanted to finish out my miles for the day. So I opted instead to run the remaining 1/2 mile out to the road and back until I reached my goal. I was even able to drop the hammer and smoke those final miles, and added an extra 1/2 mile just because.
I haven't been that thirsty in a long time, and I tried my best to recall the last time I was as I guzzled an entire Nalgene bottle of sitting-in-a-hot-car-for-hours warm water. But really all I cared about at that point was demolishing a post-run burrito...which we did :)
Tomorrow is long run Saturday once again. It's going to go a lot better than last week. I know this :)