This was my first full week in Baltimore, and there was still a bit of readjusting to be done. The weather was certainly not cooperating, with high temperatures and “code orange” air quality alerts almost every day. I wanted to jump back into my usual workout schedule, but instead opted for a bit more flexibility and some new adventures at the end of the week.
On Monday, I returned to the campus gym for the first time since week 21. It closed during graduation and only reopened as I was leaving for Denmark, so this was my first opportunity to get back to the free weights. It felt good to be back, and I did my usual three sets of 20 reps for back, chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. I finished with the usual ab routine which was harder than I remembered, though I can definitely tell that running has strengthened my core.
Tuesday morning I ran two miles around the neighborhood. It was really hot and muggy, and I could feel the air quality impact my breathing. I ran at a pace that kept my asthma in check and managed to cover the 2 miles in 19:00.
I took the day off on Wednesday to rest. For whatever reason, the gym didn’t appeal to me that morning.
I really like running three times a week, so on Thursday morning I set out for a 5k run along my usual route to the north. The air quality was still low, so I once again set the pace according to my breathing. It was a comfort to be officially reminded that there are forces beyond my control – that the difficulty of my run probably had more to do with the weather than with my level of fitness. I didn’t have to destroy myself to match a pace I ran at a different time under different conditions. I happily finished the 5k in 30:18.
On Friday I took another rest day.
Saturday morning a friend dropped off two little chihuahuas for Adam and me to babysit over the weekend. The doggies and grocery shopping kept us busy in the morning, but we had some free time in the afternoon so Adam and I stopped by Twenty20 Cycling on the avenue in Hampden to check out some bikes. I’ve long been considering purchasing a road bike so I can join Adam for a fun ride on a lovely day, and so I can balance my running workouts with some cycling. The guys at the shop let us take three of them out for a spin. We took the first two over to Druid Hill Park and rode around the lakes a couple times and up past the mansion (same route on each bike for a fair comparison). After all the riding my legs were definitely shot, so I only took the third one around the block. I really liked one of the bikes, but I knew I needed to come back another day for a second test ride before I could make a final decision.
Sunday morning was another long run day. I woke up thirsty and meant to down a glass of water early, but I quickly became distracted with feeding the dogs and taking them out. Before I knew it we were in the car driving down to Boston Street. It was just Adam and myself, so we decided to mix things up a bit and run towards the Jones Falls trail. I thought the weather cooled down a bit, but it still felt hot. Running felt harder than I remembered. We hit many more traffic lights than I’m used to, and I began to feel very thirsty well before we hit the three mile mark. At 2.5 miles I decided to stick with six miles total rather than eight since the heat and lack of water were really bothering me. We passed the farmers market near the turn-around point, but we didn’t stop to take a look. Adam kept offering to run ahead and bring back water, but I didn’t want him to leave until I was absolutely certain I knew how to get back. I also felt like I could get back fine so long as we kept the pace slow. With 1.4 miles to go, I caved and asked him to go ahead and get the water. He took off and I made it halfway before I needed to stop and rest. The heat felt so oppressive. With only half a mile to go, Adam showed up with the water. He really hauled it and I’m very grateful to him for that. The water tasted so good I downed almost the entire bottle before trudging back to the shop. In the end, I finished the 6 miles in 1:01:54 with Adam’s help. I was certainly a difficult run, and I’m grateful he was there with me. Next time I’ll be sure to drink water before my run and to avoid going out on a long run when I’m thirsty. It’s one of my many lessons learned.