Relief?

It’s amazing how 80 degrees can feel almost chilly. Honestly, I don’t know how southerners do it.

We’ve finally had a bit of a break in the “heat dome.” But it’s still wicked humid. I don’t do well in heat, and I really don’t do well in humidity! I am the sweatiest person on the planet – this is a fact, just ask my brother who, when crewing for me on races, has been heard saying, “Eeew, you squish, every step you squish, gross!!” as I squish out a puddle of sweat with each step.

I’m having a particularly hard time because I haven’t really had a chance to adjust to it. Our bodies do acclimate to temperature changes, but it takes time. We had a strangely cool spring, and then I spent a month upstate where it’s a lot cooler, even on the hottest days. So I’m still getting used to it. Normally by this point in the summer, I’d be used to doing long runs and racing in the heat.

And so, I continue to take it easy. Each day, I plan on building up mileage or speed, but change my plans when I step out into the sauna. That’s the only safe thing anyone can do. Heat and humid conditions can be dangerous, especially if you’re de-conditioned, have any number of medical conditions, or recovering from illness or injury. But that doesn’t mean don’t exercise. Just be reasonable.

Last weekend, I was up early to go meet friends for breakfast. I saw 5 different people out walking (I almost never see anyone out walking where I live) at 8am – before the heat. Go slower or not as long – your body has to work harder in the heat, so don’t push it as much. Stay hydrated. Stay in the shade – the other advantage of 8am is the sun is not directly overhead. And take a break if you need. On the hottest days, even if I’m only running a couple of miles, if I’m getting overheated, I slow up or walk. Or stop to try to get a picture of a Great Blue Heron at the Girl Scout camp.

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The point is, you don’t have to let the heat stop you. But you can make sensible choices in the heat.

Julie

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