Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A (Non-Elite) Country Run

If money and talent were not object, I would be a professional athlete. I go back and forth these days about whether that would mean tennis or running for me. As long as we are in fantasy world, why not both? 

Life as a professional athlete must be awesome. I imagine spending my entire day planning workouts, working out, documenting workouts, planning healthy meals, cooking healthy meals, documenting calorie intake, working out again, getting massages, stretching, strategizing with the coach, doing photo shoots for endorsements, working with the agent, and just being overall very very happy.

Elite runners run as much as 120 miles a week! How awesome is that?! To put in so many miles, I imagine I would have to run far far far out of the city . . . runs on lonely country roads. Only a car passing here and there . . . maybe a few tractors . . . horses occasionally . . . livestock . . . the farmer's dog . . . OK!

To live out this little fantasy, I decided to run a rural route on a recent trip to Illinois to visit family. I ran my mom's 6 mile easy biking route out on country roads through the corn and soybeans

One problem: at 8 a.m. it was nearly 96 degrees! And not a cloud in the sky.

Oh--and I was running into the wind the entire time somehow, even though I ran basically in a square. 

On the bright side, I definitely felt the solitude I imagine elite runners feel putting in the long miles. No one else was foolish enough to run in this heat! 

Before I went outside, I thought I would run at about a 7:15 minute pace. No problem, that was slower than I ran 13.1 last weekend (another RnR mention, as promised)! But as soon as I stepped outdoors, NOT POSSIBLE. I am not trained for the heat. I started off pretty fast, but I faded very quickly. 

I was definitely in the house of pain. Even doing that little groan on the exhale that every runner secretly does when no one else is around. Since I needed to take it slow just to FINISH the 6 miler, I did get the chance to take cool barn pictures! 
Red Barn and Corn
Gray Barn and Corn

Afterwards, I had a headache basically all day because I sweat so much and was not properly hydrated (nor did I take water with me, mistake!).

So what did I learn? Training in the heat is a whole different thing. Gotta drink more, slow down, and run earlier! Oh - and maybe be a professional runner is not awesome all the time.



  1. Well, lots of the pro runners also live in climates where it's not super crazy hot! Or train at altitude where, it's cooler in the summer.

    Heat is my nemesis. Apparently you can acclimate your body to it over the span of a few weeks training in it. I am a good 45 seconds/mi slower in heat.

    1. Normal, IL is definitely not the place live if you are a professional runner. Yes, that really is the name of my hometown!