Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Running

"Summer running, had me a blast....
Summer running, happened so fast...
I ran a race, crazy for me,
Ran a PR, look and you'll see..

Runner days, runnin' away....but oh, oh those finish times!"

What about those finish times? Who likes to run in the heat of the summer? Does anyone get a PR in the heat and humidity?

We midwesterners complain all winter about the weather. After last winter and all its brutality, I promised myself I wouldn't complain about the heat of summer. Personally, I love the heat. But I won't lie. I hate running in it. If I had my choice, I'd rather run in the cold. Last March, I ran a half marathon in Florida. Remember that recap? The heat and humidity just about did me in. I wasn't acclimated for it. And now, that weather has arrived in Chicago. Time to acclimate.....no excuses.

This morning, I set out to run 6 miles. Like any good runner, I checked the weather forecast before I headed out the door. At 6 am, it was 77 degrees and 67% humidity. In spite of calling for thunderstorms, the radar looked clear. The wind was whipping--what the weathermen call "breezy". I decided to take my chances. Anything but the treadmill!

Before I headed out, I applied BodyGlide to some body parts that had the potential for chafing, drank a big glass of cold water, took one last look at the sky--nah, no storms--, and headed out the door. I almost left the Garmin at home, thinking that I didn't even want to know my pace...but my OCD won out, I turned on it, and pushed start as I headed down the street.

I started off at a fairly easy 9:00/mile pace. Felt pretty good with the wind at my back. At mile 1, I headed into the wind. I hoped the wind would cool me, but it was so humid that I did not feel any relief. Interestingly, the wind didn't affect my pace. I took that as a good sign.

But by mile 2, my heart was calling for mercy. I didn't need my heart rate monitor to tell me that I was in the red zone. I also started getting a side stitch. Woo! I stopped to catch my breath and stop the nausea in its tracks. "This is not happening", I told myself. My intestines churned. After about 30 seconds, I started running again, albeit very slowly. Before heading out, I had promised myself I would complete this 6 and I decided no matter what, I would get it done. As I moved forward, I saw one of my neighbors out for his morning run. He started running a few years ago, lost a ton of weight, and left his wife, a friend of mine. Boo on him!

"Hey Wendy", he called. 

"Oh, hey," I said and kept moving, a little spring in my step. 

A little while later, I saw the high school boys cross country team. Most of them were shirtless. Not that this affected me in any way at all. But to be friendly and encouraging, I waved and called out to them. "Hi boys!", I said. I got a few greetings back but was mostly ignored. They probably thought "eww, it's somebody's mom". Yeah, somebody's mom who's KICKING YOUR ASS!

I saw them again as they looped around a second time. Tried again and said hi. Got a few more waves this time. Yep. Badass mother runner here. I kept moving forward. Who's old?

At the 4 mile mark, I approached the park fieldhouse and stopped to drink water. Trying to make that side stitch go away. The maintenance guy greeted me. "It's hot out there!",  he said.  A little bit. Understatement of the year! I sucked up a ton of water and headed back out. Two miles to go.

I saw the guy who walks his Eskimo dog. I see this guy all the time. The one with the dog who lunges and barks at every car that goes by. Raised my hand in a wave. 

One mile to go. That side stitch was getting pretty intense. But I kept going. Rounded the corner onto my street. Saw the guy with the Ironman license plate bracket walking to his car, heading to work. I picked up the pace, tried to look like a strong runner as I passed his house. Seriously. WTH?

Finally at my destination, I stopped when I reached my driveway. 6.11 miles, 58:09, 9:31min/mile. I'll take it. According to an article I read in Runners' World, every 5F above 60 degrees can slow your pace by 20-30 sec/mile. I think I did ok.

I have Zooma in August. Hoping that the weather then isn't like this morning. Could be a long 13.1. Or not. A couple more runs like this...in this heat? Makes me feel unstoppable.


  1. I love summer, but for running I loathe the heat/humidity as well. It sucks the life out of me. I dread thinking about having 18+ milers ahead of me in this kind of weather. Where there's a will there's a way, right?

    1. Those long runs in the heat of summer were the hardest part of marathon training. I did a lot of pre-dawn running. Ugh.

  2. I love, love, love summer. I even don't mind running in the heat--in fact, I think it makes me stronger for fall. I don't like racing in it, however, so I pretty much put racing on hold over the summer w/ the occasional exception. Worst experience with the heat for me had to be Boston 2012 where it hit 90 out there and remember, it's April, so none of us were acclimated, either. Death march!

    1. I agree that running in the heat definitely makes one stronger for fall races! Doesn't mean I love it tho!

  3. Heat and humidity is totally kryptonite. I'll run in the cool or even cold any day (although I don't start off enjoying it as much). Problem is when I'm not running, I want my weather to be warm and sunny. Lol. I need an underground trail to run in. And what is the deal with these side stitches? I hate those

  4. I'll take this weather over 10 degrees and snow any day! Just think of how we are going to crush our goals this fall?!

  5. Oh my great minds think alike I actually was thinking about the Greece song today while I was swimming! I also used that same quote in my post coming out Friday. Oh well! I do love summer and I don't mind the temps at all. I feel like I am working harder and sweating it all out. Is it wrong that I thought the HS boys looked good?

  6. The humidity here in DC is brutal, I'm so dreading my marathon training because of it. I need to head out the door by 4:30 am just to have a little relief! I hate it!!

    1. That's what I did when I trained for Chicago...it was a lot easier if I ran before the sun came up! I love summer but I don't love running in the heat.