Summer (aka June Meeting of the Secret Blogger Club)

Today, as part of a meeting of the Secret Blogger Club, I was tasked to write about summer or something summer-related. Since it’s getting to be that time of year and I’m already starting to fret a bit about it, let’s talk about warm-weather races, shall we?

The straight-up truth is: I hate running in the heat. Hate it. Massive, throbbing, red face and profuse sweating and grossness aside, running in the heat always makes me feel like I’m about to faint. And, since I have a history of fainting in varied places and situations (multiple doctor’s offices, Decemberists concerts, first aid classes, in a dentist’s chair), I believe strongly that I’ve filled my quota of involuntary unconsciousness and I do not want to add “in the middle of a race” (or, God forbid, “a foot from the finish line”) to my list of fainting locations.

Finally made it!

Faces. So. Red.

With that adverse attitude to fainting firmly in hand, my approach to warm-weather races tends to be: Do whatever is necessary to stay conscious – walk, crawl, lay down in the shade… whatever it takes (thankfully I haven’t had to crawl or lay down in the shade… yet). I have chosen to walk for most of a few wicked hot races (Finish Line 5K, Feeney Five, and Old Port 5K), and while I still had fun at those races (well… I kind of hated my Feeney Five experience, but the other two were fun!) I was still disappointed in my horrible finishing times (42:17, 50:04, and 49:18, respectively). I also can’t help thinking that, if I’m going to be hot and miserable for the entirety of a race and end up walking most of it anyway, it’s kind of a waste of money to have signed up for it in the first place.

It was that thinking that kept me from even trying to register for this year’s B.A.A. 10K, the next step in my goal to complete all four B.A.A. races. Though I was enthusiastically jumping into a 10K training plan with Colin around the time of registration, just the thought of running my longest race to date in the expected heat and humidity of downtown Boston in late June made me want to faint. My training ended up being derailed by injury anyway, so it worked out in the end.

Did I say wiped out?

Despite the elbow blocking most of it, you can tell that mine is clearly a face that did not entirely love the race I just finished.

I may not be running that particular hot race this year, but I am registered for a few that could end up being doozies: a 6K this weekend, a reprise of the Old Port in mid-July, and my first 10K in August. And, if last year is anything to go by, my reprise of the Canal Diggers race in early September could be a hot one, too.

This summer, however, I have a game plan:

  • Hydrate better!! I’m bad at this. I know I am. I tend to under-hydrate for races because I have a long-standing aversion to porta-potties. Newsflash: I’m a runner now. It’s time to get used to the porta-potties! I have a few tricks from the nutritionist under my belt this time around, as well as the memories of long, hot races with limited water last year. I *will* be better hydrated this year. I will utilize my hand-held water bottle if needed. I. Will. Hydrate.
  • Be more prepared. Last summer I was still really new to running and wasn’t in great shape. This year, with more than a full year of running under my belt and training from the Shammies, I’m hoping these warm-weather races won’t be such a shock to the system. (I’m also hoping that my month-long layoff hasn’t totally thrown a spanner into my preparation works.)
  • Proper gear. Last year, I ran two of my hottest races in a hat that was mostly black and very hot. I have a lighter, more breathable hat to wear this year, as well as a shiny new Buff headband that supposedly blocks UV light and is made from really light material. I also bought a tank top on clearance at Steep and Cheap that is made of a material that supposedly cools you down in the heat. (All these things are “supposedly” because I haven’t had a chance to try them myself yet to see if they live up to their promises.) No giant 100% cotton shirts for me this year, nosiree!

Will this game plan be successful? Only time will tell. I have a feeling much of it will depend on whether I can kick my lazy, under-hydrated butt into gear on the drinking-water front. Until then!

Do you have any tips for running in the heat?

Which do you think is worse, running in extreme heat or extreme cold?

sbc
Thanks to Kelsey, Susan, and Kaitlin for hosting the Secret Blogger Club!

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13 thoughts on “Summer (aka June Meeting of the Secret Blogger Club)

  1. i must say i love love love running in the heat, but not middle of the day / 100% humidity heat. i ran a race in florida, 100 degrees and 100% humidity and 10pm and i am shocked i didnt die. i did spend several hours throwing up afterwards. boo! i agree with your tips wholeheartedly.

  2. Tough to say since I’ve never actually run outdoors in the cold. I always chicken out and head for the treadmill instead. That being said, I really don’t do well with heat and humidity. I sweat just sitting still when it’s above 72 degrees. The only thing that gets me through is obsessive hydration. I’ve always been into water because I’ve been a singer for years, so hydration has just been a part of my life, and thank goodness for that!

    • I need to get better at hydration!! It can only help!

      It’s hard to say whether I’d rather bundle up in a million layers, run with pain in my chest from the cold air, and have my nose turn into a faucet, or end up having to walk reeeeally slow because of the heat. Eh.. middle ground, definitely šŸ™‚

  3. Oh no! I am so sorry for your fainting misfortunes, but you really made me giggle as I was reading this post *it’s a good thing!* I know what you mean though. I did a Super Spartan Race about 2 weeks ago, it was super hot and we were in the mountains with no hydration *my fault*, so what I did? I drank from a mountain river, I’m not even kidding you lol! Other than that, I really enjoy running in the morning and in the evening, when it’s fresh and breezy šŸ™‚

    xoxo
    Olena

    • Glad my post made you giggle! I think I’ve solved my fainting problem (remembering to breathe really helps) so looking back I can definitely see the humor in my random locations of unconsciousness.

      Drinking from a mountain river actually sounds pretty awesome! I know some people say not to, but when you need a drink man, you need a drink! šŸ™‚

    • Ah, you’re better than I am! šŸ™‚ I should have mine with me right now after all my talk, but it’s just me and my iced coffee… some habits are hard to break.

  4. I’d say you’ve got a good game plan goin though I will agree with you that running in the extreme heat can be difficult. I say any summer race that doesn’t start early is just asking for ppl to passout lol. Thanks for linkin-up girl!

    • Ha, definitely! The hottest race I’ve ever run was on July 4th last year – in the middle of a heat wave – and the start time was noon. Seriously?? The organizers moved the start time up a few hours this year, thankfully!

  5. Woohoo for linkups! Keep up the good work and training! Hydrating can be great or terrible for me šŸ™‚ Depends on how much I’m enjoying my coffee.

    • Thanks! And I hear you… coffee pretty much runs my day in terms of what I drink. I cling to the article I read a while ago that says drinking coffee dehydrates you less than drinking nothing at all. Anything to make me feel less guilty about my unbalanced water-to-coffee consumption! šŸ™‚

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