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Dry Martini: A Tale of Two Runs

Right before Memorial Day, my college-age kid and I went to Florida to see my Mom. I hadn’t been down to Clermont, which is 45 minutes northwest of Orlando, since the end of 2019. I didn't intend to stay away quite so long but we all know how 2020 played out.

Yes, it was weird to fly again, after so many months of not going any farther from my house than the next state south. Air travel is just like riding a bike, if that bike was on an aircraft.

Lake Minneola, which is always a treat

I always bring running gear with me for these visits because this part of the sunshine state is full of delightful trails and lakes and bike paths -- all of which pleasure to run and much different from my usual. When we aren't coming out of a global pandemic, I plan my trips so that I’m down there when the weather up here is at its most extreme. The balmy temps of Florida in February make braving the Orlando airport worthwhile.

The end of May, tho? Oooof. I knew going it that it would be hot, humid, and gross. I was not disappointed.

Could it *be* any more scenic?

Forewarned is forearmed and “they” have a point. The runs on my schedule were intentionally shorter with just a taste of speed. While I still returned back to my car drenched in sweat, I wasn’t completely zonked by the early morning warm damp. I also finished my runs with an appreciation for the runners who were wearing long sleeves and long pants. I tip my sweaty hat to these acclimated loons.

What I did NOT expect was that the exact same weather would follow me home. When I set out for my 12 miler this weekend — yes, I’m still training for the Bristol, R.I., half — it was already 60 degrees with a million percent humidity and a real-feel of "surface of Venus."

I hydrated like a champ the day before and carried water with me. I stuffed my pockets with the new, more liquid-y Gu, because my tummy is a fickle beast when it’s warm. My only goal was to move forward for 12 miles; then go home and lie in front of a fan.

This training cycle, my coach and I have worked out that a 9/1 interval works about the best for long runs. For the first nine miles, it was no big deal to run for nine minutes and walk for one. Those measly 60 seconds were enough to water myself and regroup for the next bit of running. It wasn’t fast, mind, but it was sustainable.

Until it wasn’t. 

Back home. Same hat and tank. So hot. Less scenic. Might die.

Right at the start of mile nine, just as I faced the big hill by the Subaru dealer where there is absolutely zero shade, the wheels came clean off. I thought about running back to the McDonald’s to see if they would stuff my hat, water bottle, and bra full of ice. Or, if that wasn’t possible, if they would put me in the cooler next to the frozen fries.

Instead, I persisted. 

I walked more than I ran. My pace dragged slower and slower; I was out in the sun for longer and longer. I got into that mental place of beating myself up for being so dang slow and how this all meant that my upcoming half would take hours and hours and hours and that I was letting everyone down and shouldn’t call myself a runner because this was most definitely not running. You know how it goes, you know?

I also spent those last two miles dreaming of an ice cold Coca-Cola, which is something that never, ever happens to me because I don’t really even like soda. An overheated brain makes interesting choices.

Eventually, I moved forward for my 12 miles and went home, where I drank the best Coke of my life. All of me felt like I’d been parboiled. A cool shower took the edge off, despite discovering that the skirt that never chafes did. I’m trying to not be mad at it.

Here’s the thing that gives me hope: I ran 12 miles a few weeks ago in much more forgiving conditions. After that long run, I spent the next 48 hours feeling like I’d been hit by a truck because it had been at least a year since I’d run that far. And now, 48 hours after my second 12-mile run of the year? I feel great, with the exception of the chafing.

Maybe this whole training thing is all it's said to be? Or maybe my choice of recovery drink was full of magic? Either way, I'll take it.

What's the oddest thing you've ever craved during a run?

Adrienne Martini writes about more than running. Her most recent book is Somebody's Gotta Do It: Why Cursing at the News Won't Save the Nation but Your Name on a Local Ballot Can.

12 responses to “Dry Martini: A Tale of Two Runs

  1. Watermelon while training for my first marathon. Was running a 14, my third attempt. The first two were fails, one due to the heat and the second due to tripping on a shoelace and dislocating my shoulder. I had planned for a Culver’s shake, because 14 miles is 1200 calories burned and that’s a concrete shake. Except at mile 12 the absolute only thing I wanted was watermelon. It was all I could think about for the end of the run and ended up going to the grocery store to get one because that’s how bad I wanted it. It remains my go to post hot run snack to this day and also marks the day where I became aware of my body craving something healthy instead of junk food. Overall it was nice to not fall on that run.

  2. Weirdest thing I’ve ever craved during a long run: corned beef hash. In the summer my go-to treat after a long run is salt and vinegar potato chips with an icy Mexican Coke (real cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup). I’ve headed off many a migraine this way, so it’s medicinal. 😉

  3. “Real feel-‘surface of Venus’” and “acclimated loons” were just as funny the 3rd and 4th time I read this. All of it so very true and so very funny! Thank you!

  4. Wine is like duct tape, fixes anything. And I feel ya in this Maryland humidity. Did 11 Sunday morning all prepped with hydration/ nutrition and thought I was gonna die!

  5. It’s not odd but I really wanted a McDonald’s cheeseburger and a glazed donut while bonking during a long run. Half of my cravings during training could be mistaken for pregnancy cravings.

  6. While doing the YETI challenge last year, I couldn’t stop thinking about pickle juice. I came in from leg 4 and downed most of the jar and it was as amazing as I’d imagined. Never did it before and haven’t done it since.

  7. I craved Rum and Coke when training for my second marathon. I have no idea why but on the long long runs, that was what I thought of.

  8. A fountain coke after a long run is magic. But weirdest I ever craved and actually drank was pickle juice. Well, I thought it was weird–then I find out some races actually offer it at aid stations!

  9. I alway love your writing Adrianne! Next time you’re coming to Florida I would love to hook up for a run. I believe I am about an hour from your mom. A cold coke sounds delicious. My SIL insists Mc Donalds has the best there is because they scientifically created the diameter of their straws to coincide with their carbonation to create the “perfect” Coke!

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