Embrace the Heat

Yesterday was hot. A warning flashed on my weather app exclaiming excessive heat. I didn’t really need the warning. I could feel it. Just walking out the door caused my clothes to cling to me and beads of sweat to form on my head. Temp? 93 ͦ with a heat index of 105.  It felt kind of like walking through warm soup.

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I did what any sane person would do and threw on a tank, some shorts and running shoes. It was time to embrace the heat and go for a run.

There are a lot of ways to run in the heat. I’m sure you’ve read a thousand articles on how to run safely in the heat. I’m not going to give a bullet list; I’ll just let you know how my run went and how amazing it can be to get out there on a hot day. If you’re one of those who does yoga in a hot studio, thinks a steam room is relaxing, or does any other hot activities…I’m sure you can handle a hot run. You just have to smile and do it.

I filled my handheld amphipod full of cold water and also stuck a couple salt tabs (S-caps) into the zipper pouch and then let my hubby know I was taking off.

shopping

Then I ran out into the hot box. I smiled, feeling the sun shining and waved at a bird because…BIRD! I chose a route that had two drinking fountains. One was at 1.66 miles and one was at 3.12 miles. I knew that I would then be able to refill my handheld on the way, at the turn around and again on the way back.

Part of the route also had trees that offered a bit of shade…not much but a bit. These trees also offered lots of gnats and other bugs that gave a source of protein for the run as I inhaled them while sucking air. Yum! Many also died as they drowned on my sweat laden face and body.

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Every half mile I chugged a bit of water as I was dripping more sweat than considered lady like and by the time I hit the water fountain I was pretty soggy. The fountain happened to be located at the top of a nice hill and I was grinning when I hit it feeling pretty powerful. I filled my handheld and poured it over my head to cool myself a bit, had an s-cap with some water and continued on my way to the downhill towards the brewery and dog park where another fountain would be located.

This is where there was no shade and I distracted myself by thinking about what a really strong friend had said to another. “Remember that we’re the lucky ones that even get to attempt these things. There are people that would kill to be able to take 3 steps on their own, let alone run 100 miles. If you can take one more step, take one more step. To not take that step is an insult to everyone who physically can’t. Do it for them.”—Edward Sandor

Obviously I altered that to suit me. It’s a powerful quote though and carried me through the hottest, most boring part of the run (Thanks Ed, many runners can use this!)

Soon enough I hit the downhill near the brewery leading towards the dog park. Sweet downhill! Cruisin on the cruise control. I love downhill’s so I grinned the whole way down.

Suddenly I hear the beep of a horn and there is my hubby. Like a knight in shining armor he hops out of the limo van with cold water. A rolling water stop in the middle of the hot box. OH IT WAS LIKE AN OASIS IN THE DESERT. Delish. I drank and put some on my neck and continued on, with a bit more spring to my step.

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He was there again at the parking lot of the dog park, water in hand. I drank and had one more s-cap and turned around to head back glancing at my watch. 3 miles in the hot box. I still felt good. Hot but good. I was kind of like a wilting flower that kept getting watered. Hubby said he’d meet me at the top of that big hill I ran down so I took off towards it, knowing it was nearly a mile away.

I reached the top of the hill and there was no hubby so I ran back down and up again because “why not?”

Wait! THAT FELT GOOD! What? Hill repeats in a sauna?

I did it again and Hubby showed up. I had some water and told him to park so I could do repeats and then get a ride home.

I ran up and down the hill. I felt so amazing. I felt so exhausted. I felt so strong. I couldn’t breathe. My stomach hurt. I was sweating so much my eyes burned. I wanted to quit. I didn’t.  Finally I dry heaved at the top to the point that I was done and so I jogged down and ran to the van smiling and proclaimed with a puffed chest of pride “I’M DONE AND I FEEL FANTASTIC”

Seriously. I did. I did a bit over 6 miles with the last 2 being hill repeats.

I got a ride home with no regrets.

What was safe about this run?

Access to water. Electrolytes in the form of S-Caps. Mental attitude. Support. Willingness to walk/slow down and take a drink if needed.

What if hubby hadn’t shown up? Easy. I wouldn’t have done the repeats. I had a full handheld at all times. At the turnaround was a refill and another available at the fountain on the way back. I was willing to slow down or even walk at any time and was near a populated area except for a short stretch on the way to the dog park.  I do stupid things a lot as a runner. I think running in the heat can be safe and rewarding—it can feel downright amazing. Similar to running in the rain, or freezing cold, or a blizzard.

Have fun out there!

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4 thoughts on “Embrace the Heat

  1. That’s awesome! I’ve done some long runs with hill repeats in the heat recently too (it’s cooled off here now though) and as long as you’re prepared it’s not that bad. I do run slower, but it feels really neat to run in conditions like that. I brought my hubby along too in case I should happen to fall down and not get back up (I was tackling some remote trails too and was scared of bears). He drove the ATV while I ran/jogged.

      • I do carry bear spray. My only advice is if you have to use it wait until the bear is very close (I know that’s super scary) and expect to get maced too. That stuff is wicked powerful and will drop you before the bear. They always stress to try to be aware of wind direction, but that’s they last thing I’d be paying attention to if getting charged by a bear. I’m not really helping am I? It’s simple to use, pull out the safety tab and press down the nozzle. It’s best not to ‘test’ them as they don’t hold tons of mace and you want it all if you should need it. You likely won’t need to use it though. I’ve encountered many bears over the years and only had two scary experiences where I need bear spray (one where my spray was old and the nozzle fell off and the other where I had the spray ready but the bear backed off).

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