I needed something, some structure, some plan, to motivate me and guide my running. So, I decided to embark on a marathon training plan. Not that there are any marathons in the Solomons to do, but the training is working as a motivator (so far – after one week!). Actually there is a marathon in New Zealand in early May, which is perfect timing, but I can’t afford to fly and stay there. There has also been a marathon in Fiji around the same time, but last year it was cancelled and so far there’s no information on their website about 2009. But no mind, the training plan is enough to provide the structure I need. I’m not very competitive anyway.
I have really been enjoying running in Honiara this week. It is all so relative. After running in Buala where there is basically only one possible route, the mud can be very daunting, and I’m not yet conditioned to the hills, I appreciate being able to choose from several different routes, being able to choose to run a flat course, or being able to choose a paved road. So the first week of the marathon training plan has gone well. I’ve logged over 32 miles, which is satisfying and today I had a good 8 mile run at just over 9:30 pace. One thing I did which was smart was that I brought something to drink. When I was in Cameroon, I could easily run 1.5 or even 2 hours without carrying something to drink. Even though it was fairly humid and I sweat like a dog, it was much cooler than here. But after suffering every time I’ve tried to do a long run in the last two months, I finally realized that I just cannot go more than an hour without drinking something here in the Solomon Islands. And last week I realized that plain water was not going to cut it. Yesterday I discovered in a shop a cold drink of green tea with apple juice. I drank one yesterday and quite liked it, so I bought a second and that is what I brought with me on my run today. At four miles I drank half the 16 oz. bottle which was 120 calories with some caffeine from the green tea and some sugar. I finished the bottle at around 6 miles and felt much, much stronger than I have in ages. Duh, duh, duh. Sometimes I am very slow.
I didn’t particularly like carrying the bottle, but when I get back to Buala, I have my Camelback which I can wear. Part of me is worried that it will be dreadfully hot. But I don’t think it is possible to sweat anymore than I already do, so it probably won’t be that bad. I sweat so much that when I return from running, I leave puddles all over the house. If I actually stand still, I nearly create a flood. When I was in the States, I found these special electrolyte tablets made by Camelback that are supposed to work in the bladder without making it all disgusting. I’ve used regular electrolyte powder in the bladder and it was a pain to clean out afterwards – the sugar gets into the nooks and crannies and stuff grows. . . Now I just need to get used to the mud and having to do things like run through rivers. Oh yea, and running the same road over and over and over again.
If anyone has tips on how to deal with serious heat and humidity, let me know in the comments. (Average temperature: 30 C or 86 F, although when I start my run around 6am I think it’s probably only about 24 C or 75 F, but the humidity is always 80%+)