I started the week off strong. I ran an easy 8 on Monday night and an easy 11 on Tuesday morning. Washington's humidity is back. By the end of my morning run my right thigh was chaffed beyond raw. It was uncomfortable to say the least and I was walking like a bowlegged cowpoke for the rest of the day. I ran 5 the next morning with the intention of running a hard 7-8 miles (6 minute pace) in the evening (since Jerry told me to forgo a workout), but when I returned home the heavens were storming. I was torn between running and not, but the idea of running in a deluge with an already chaffed thigh was enough to dissuade me. Not to mention, lightning is the one weather phenomenon that I don't like to mess with it, as I can control it...or combat it. On Thursday I ran 11 with Karl and Sam and on Friday I ran a solo 9 and saw a couple of water snakes tangling about on a mossy log.
I met Sam, Sean the Marine and old Benedict Sloane at Riley's Lock on Saturday for what would likely be the hardest workout before the half marathon. The goal was to run 6-miles at half marathon pace (or slightly faster) south to Swains Lock. It would be a straight shot - no turns, no stops - just 6-miles on the towpath. After a 2 mile warm-up it was clear that the weather would be a factor. It wasn't hot (yet, but later in the day it'd hit close to 90), but the humidity was intolerable. We finally got going and I tucked behind the pack in an effort to ease into pace. I hit mile 1 in 5:17, but then we picked it up running 5:11 for the next two miles. If this were Duluth, this pacing would have been perfect (since 5:11 is my goal pace), but if this weather were in Duluth, we'd all be f#$%ed. I eased off the pace and let the pack get away from me. The towpath, in places, is a like a warm tunnel of doom and it felt like I was wearing a hot, wet blanket. After two miles I began to labor and my breathing showed signs of fatigue, but I was able to settle in 5:17 pace for the remainder of the workout hitting 31:26 for the 6 miles (5:14-15 pace), which I was quite happy with considering the weather. This was the type of workout that could have gone really bad, really quick, so I was fortunate to dig in and keep pace. We ran the extra 1/3 of a mile to Swain's Lock and bathed under the cool water dispatched from the NPS pump and chugged pre-deposited Gatorade. Then we jogged the 6 miles back to our cars and chugged more water. Despite lubing up with BodyGlide, I was again chaffed raw.
On Sunday I met Sam at The Line for a short long run (?). I think we both just wanted to get the run over with while running easy on natural terrain...all while staying out of the sun. We kept the pace pretty pedestrian, but the route (The Six Hills Loop) is laborious and it's impossible to NOT work hard while running the ups and down of Rock Creek. I added on a couple of miles at the end getting in 13 for the day. Again, my thigh was chaffed up as a result of the humid conditions.