Okay, so the training started as soon as I returned from my Moab UT trip but got serious over Memorial Weekend. And of course we've had record-breaking heat in Houston ever since: Temps over 100, with heat index hovering around 112-115. And naturally, with this kind of heat, and living near a "concrete city," the night-time temps weren't dropping below 80 degrees. Rain usually cools things off around here. Only problem is, we've had no rain.
So we runners just acclimate. As part of this acclimatization process, I bought some cute Hind tank tops out of incredibly light and airy mesh material. So naturally I had to buy some cute new running shorts to match. And the SmartWool socks I just love were getting a little thread-bare in the heel so I had to buy a few more pairs of those as well. A Facebook post recorded the new running shoes purchase, to replace the worn pairs I used last year. Two pair a season, dutifully rotated each running day, usually do it for me. New running outfits always put a renewed bounce in my step!
This week I've been at my condo on Captiva Island, off the coast of Ft. Myers FL. Last time I was here was 2006 and that time, the resort had just reopened after nearly 2 years of repairs and restoration from Hurricane Charley in 2004. Running here - before Charley - was a dream! The entire roadway to South Seas Resort and then from the south end of the resort to the north end of the resort, where my condo is, used to be fabulous! A runner's paradise!
Usually by the middle of August I'm up to 7 miles for my long run. So running south from my condo on the resort would take me 3.5 miles down a tree-tunnel of beautifully shaded roadway through the resort, out the security gate and well toward the small bridge that joins Captiva Island to Sanibel Island. A stretch of about a mile runs right along the beach and I would often see dolphins frolicking in the water just off shore. A nice breeze would skirt through the gaps in vegetation from the bay side and, once along the gulf, there would be a pleasant and steady breeze coming from the beach side.
When I returned here in 2006 I was heartbroken at the devastation caused by Charley. All, and I mean all, of the large trees were gone. Australian Pines, Mangroves, and other trees were decimated. In their place were ragged stumps standing alone amidst scruffy low-growth weeds and brush. No more blessed shade.
So this year, as in 2006, I adapted by getting out there about an hour earlier, before the sun was too far above the horizon. But there's nothing like a change of scenery from the monotony of the routine to inject some freshness in the routine of running. And it's about 10 degrees cooler than it is back home, too. When I might otherwise cheat and skip a day here and there if home, I find that I eagerly awake and get out the door for a run. The weekly long slow run - part of anyone's marathon training program - seems to go more quickly as well. This week I found that my mileage totals came easily and I was able to put in more miles than I really needed, including not only last Saturday's long slow run but I was also able to get in next Saturday's long slow run with its required distance bump-up...two days early, on Thursday. This is a good thing. It will make the return to a normal weekly schedule feel easy by comparison.
Tomorrow I return home to Houston.