Thursday, July 28, 2005

Running on the Heat Wave

When I got home from work yesterday it was a miserable 34C/93F, hot AND humid! Blah…

Having been brain damaged from a couple summers on the coast of southern Georgia, where temperatures reached as high as 42C/108F (recorded) and as high as 46C/115F (unofficial) in some of the tanks that I used to repair while in the army, I suited up, warmed up and headed out the door.

Now one thing I learned while in the military is that when it’s hot and humid you have to slow things down. So with this in mind I tried (really hard) to maintain a 6:15/K (10:04) tempo. I did pretty good the first 5K, which was all over open fields, no shade, asphalt or gravel paths. Whatever brain cells that didn’t dissolve in Georgia dissipated during this first 5K. I was really thankful when I finally reached the wood line, it was almost like running into the refrigerator. By this time I was running in kind of a daze, daydreaming about a tall cool drink probably.

I kept picking up the pace for the next 8K, then slowed down during the last 3K when I again headed out over open fields. By the 14K/8.7M point I was so pooped from the heat that didn't even have to think about slowing down, it just came naturally. My average pace for the 16K/10M run: 5:54/K (9:30/M). Fast considering the heat, but 10 seconds slower per kilometer than I have been training lately.

In any case I was soaked with sweat and my running shirt had white salt streams marking the major sweat zones. My wife made the comment, something to the effect of, “Normal people don’t go running in this heat!” I’m not normal, I’m a marathon runner ;-)

My legs were pretty tired, I think that this had a little bit to do with not bringing any water with me. Last summer I regularly ran 14K/8.7M runs without bringing any replacement liquids with me. This summer’s 16K/10M route is in the red zone by this heat, over an hour and a half of running without refueling is pushing the limit. I may need to start wearing the CamelBak if the heat wave continues.

In any case Saturday is a long run, my goal is 3½ hours, which is about 30-32K (18-20M). Rain is expected and temperatures are only supposed to reach 25C/77F, so it should be a bit more bearable, especially at 6:30 a.m. when I start out.

Today temperatures are expected to reach 37C/99F, so I may just skip my weight training (with 3K jog) and just take an extra day of rest.

p.s. The heat is good for my diet. My weight was down to 74kg (163lbs) right after my marathon in May, but shot up to 76kg (167.5lbs) soon after. I have been hovering at this weight ever since until this past week. I finally have it back down to 74kg. With all the running I have planned for the next 5 weeks I hope I can at least keep it there this time. On the other side 70kg (155lbs) would be nice.

“Normal people don’t go running in this heat!” I’m not normal, I’m a marathon runner ;-)

I love it and can relate. But what is normal anyhow????
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