In the Heat

Four months ago I was longing for warmer weather, as I waited on Saturdays for the temperatures to rise so I could run. Lucky for me it is July now and I don’t have to wait anymore. Especially with the last two days being in the nineties with high humidity, I can breeze out that door the minute the alarm wakes me. And I do. I have to, or it will be so stinking hot I’ll just not make it.

Yesterday, I went to the track to run. I was scheduled to run five miles, and, since I have been struggling with three, I thought a nice flat surface would do the trick. Twenty times around the track, and I’m done.  It seemed like a good way to set myself up for success. And even though I promised myself I would walk if it became hard, I really didn’t want to. But I did. After mile four, which I promised myself I would get to, I walked, three different times for about ten to twenty seconds each time. And yes, it bugs the hell out of me. However, since I was still able to finish five miles in under fifty minutes, I feel pretty good about that. Also, probably the reason I had to walk in the first place. It is easy to feel good and go fast (fast for me) on a track, a flat surface. I realized around mile two that I was often pacing under nine minute miles, and even though I kept trying to slow down and bring it back closer to ten minute miles, it kept happening. Until I got just through mile four and then I really needed to slow down. And then walk. I was dripping and my legs hurt. I wasn’t able to put in more than a quarter mile without walking. Until the last four tenths and then I did. Nice and easy.

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Over and over I keep wondering why this year is so much harder than last year. I tried to find the temperatures for last summer, thinking that maybe it is hotter this year, but I can’t find any evidence of that. So I looked at my runs from last year, and there it was. I may have been running further, but I was running way slower at around an eleven minute mile. Occasionally, I would hit a 9:40 mile but on the whole was pacing around 10:36. I am pacing right around a minute faster per mile this year. Which is great, except I am burning out. I need to slow down. Okay, I can try to do that. Annoying as it will be. I feel as though I am starting so much more slowly.

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Another obvious difference is that nothing hurt me last year at this time. Today both of my feet are not in great shape, and I was planning on giving them some time off. But then, you know, this half marathon plan started so I guess it will wait until November. I am adding (eventually) into my work out routine some calf strengthening to help strengthen and stretch my calves to help this problem.

And then of course there is THE CHANGE. Dun, dun, dun, dunnnn! So here is a nifty new piece of information I have; as we get older we lose our ability to dissipate heat. Because God has a sense of humor. So not only is she giving you hot flashes, she’s taking away your body’s ability to deal with it. Psychotic Bitch that She is. Apparently, as we get older we sweat less, which, as you know is our bodies way of cooling ourselves. Although, I have to say here that since sweating seems to be my new super power, I’m not sure this is my problem. I mean, I can sweat with the best of them. Hell, after my runs I quickly transform from Hot Flash to Slime Girl. So, uh, sorry, God – just kidding.

So, I guess I’ll just keep looking for the magic charm to running through the change in the heat. Although, so far, they all say the obvious: slow down, hydrate, eat leafy greens, oh yeah and exercise. Hellooo!!! That’s what I’m trying to do!

By the way, track running still sucks.


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