Running in the heat
August 8, 2012
Since I live in Phoenix I have had to develop a way to deal with the summer heat. I pretty much came up with the conclusion that you can hide from the sun but you can’t avoid the heat. As a result I have reset my internal clock so that I am waking up these days around 4 am sans alarm clock. Of course the flip side is I am usually falling asleep around 8 pm at night. Over summer break I don’t think I once saw my kids go to sleep.
Sometimes you can’t avoid the sun like when I run Road Runner Sports Adventure Runs which start at 6:30 pm. The three I have run so far have had temps of 107, 106 and 103. The redeeming quality is we get to run to the water park and go down the slide and for about 7 minutes we are cooled down until the water evaporates.
I usually run in the morning and try to finish before the sun peaks its ugly Hades head, but have also experimented with night runs, most notably my infamous Yoshi run. The crazy summer temps are also the reason I usually avoid the fall marathon season. But this November I have committed to Philadelphia to hopefully run with Scotty (with whom come to think of it I also ran another fall marathon, Detroit) and that means summer long runs. In the past the Running with Ragers have started as early as 3:30 to get the 20 milers which usually resulted with me back in bed before the kids even woke up. When the sun would rise, I told myself I was solar powered and would try embracing the cruel sun beams scalding my neck for the final two or three miles.
Usually this is a decent plan, but today it sucked. Phoenix is experiencing a heat wave that is stupid even by Phoenix standards. This morning when I woke up at 4:15 and opened the door to let the dogs out, I was blasted with a bolt of heat akin to sticking my head in the stove on broil. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. When I came back into the bedroom to change I saw on the news that the temperature, even at this pre-dawn hour, was a walloping 96 at the airport. Fortunately it was only 95 according to my iPhone. So I got ready and off I went.
And lo and behold, my run did suck. I was supposed to do a 5 mile tempo run. By the time I had run about 10 minutes I actually started fantasizing about a large glass of ice water. By 15 minutes fantasy became obsession. I then took to running through people’s sprinklers like a 10 year old in an effort to stay cool. Unfortunately the water was usually somewhere between tepid and rather warm, neither what I would consider refreshing. Right around the four mile mark all of the energy in my body just drained out. I elected to cut my run short and headed home to run 4.6 miles. But by the time I arrived at my driveway, I probably looked more like a casual pedestrian than a speed walker, much less a runner.
Today sucked. Tomorrow will suck, and the 5K I am supposed to run on Saturday will suck. Remind me not to complain about 45 degree mornings come January.