….and Thursday definitely was not my day.
My plan was to run home from my Surrey office, via Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common doing 11 miles. It had been a warm day for the UK, reaching about 75ºF/23ºC. I drank about two litres of water during the day, and mid-afternoon I a small slice of cake (office birthday), two bananas and a Naked bar. I felt sufficiently prepared.
I started out with a pace of about 8:19 and the first two miles felt okay. By the time I reached Richmond Park at mile three, I felt terrible. Mostly, I was feeling like I couldn’t catch my breath; my heart was racing and I felt dizzy and nauseous. This is how I entered the first hill.
100ft in half a mile later, and unsurprisingly I did not feel better. From there I began to feel like I had vertigo, and the world kept moving beneath my feet. I had my hydration pack with me, so was drinking plenty of water. Sweat was pouring off me, but only as I would expect climbing hills in the heat.
I made it to mile four after which there is a hefty descent which gave me some time to recover through to the end of the fifth mile. I was still feeling very sick and dizzy, which isn’t normal for me. I managed to run seven miles in Amsterdam after a pretty large night out without feeling anywhere near this bad.
Once I was onto Wimbledon Common at mile five I knew the run was beyond saving – I just needed to get back to somewhere with public transport to get me home. I ran through the shaded woodland and began to feel less terrible, which made me realise that the head was definitely a factor. I then faced another hill, at mile five and a half, which gains 140ft in about a third of a mile.
On the final leg into Wimbledon, there is no shade and it’s just running on open grassland. I knew this would be tough, and it was. Finally, I made it into Wimbledon and had another downhill section taking me to the station. I hopped on a train home at 7.5 miles, having stopped about six times to avoid fainting or throwing up.
I felt ill most of the evening, and still didn’t quite feel right yesterday.Most of all, I felt disappointed.
There are a few things which really get me down.
- People run in FAR hotter and more humid conditions. I read blogs by people who routinely run in Southern California, Florida and Utah. When people talk about how to run in hot conditions, and they do not mean London in almost-summer.
- People run far harder courses. I read that Hungry Runner Girl runs a trail which gains 383ft in one mile. I mean, JESUS CHRIST. This is both significantly steeper, and significantly longer than what I faced.
- I want to do more trail running, potentially with a group. This probably could have made me laugh through the nausea had it crossed my mind last night.
- I’m now nervous to do this run again.
Matthew’s view is just that sometimes it isn’t your day. There may be no rhyme or reason, but something you did a week before can be impossible. Also, it’s important when things to wrong to focus on what went wrong for YOU, rather than to compare yourself to what others can achieve. So here are my thoughts.
- I have run this route several times without problems.
- I ran a half marathon with 750ft elevation through Wimbledon common under two weeks ago
- Hungry Runner Girl can run a marathon in 3:04. She *may* be a bit fitter than me.
- I was wearing a running top which has an inbuilt bra as well as my regular sports bra. As I got changed, I thought “bloody hell, this is tight” but presumed I would forget about it once I started running. From the very start, I felt like my chest was constricted and I couldn’t breath.
- My legs and hips felt fine, and my body didn’t feel tired when I stopped. It was entirely an issue of heart, lungs and head.
- I didn’t have any sunglasses on, as mine broke last week. The sunlight was hurting my eyes and added to my feeling dizzy.
- I was wearing a visor to make up for my lack of sunglasses, and I know this is a bad idea when I’m likely to get too hot.
- “Hot” is a relative term. Where some cannot cope with cold weather, I am definitely not built for anything broaching warm weather.
- There was 87% humidity which sounds quite high.
- The wind was behind me the whole way, so I had no breeze at all to cool me down.
So now I need to figure out my next move. Should I do this same route again next week, as I had planned, to prove I can? Or do I need to let some time pass to avoid freaking out again?
Thoughts on a postcard please.