Running in the Heat!

Early Monday afternoon I took a quick flight to Washington, DC – my home away from home. I lived in DC for ten years and I have a bunch of friends there, to include my BFF, K. She was kind enough to host me on Monday evening so that I could attend a meeting at the TSA on Tuesday. Earlier in the day I did my cross-training workout for the week, the interval class that I love, so I was feeling really good. Plus K’s condo complex has a pool, so once I got to DC we immediately headed into the water to catch up and cool off – because DC is HOT in the summertime!

I love running in DC, especially around the Mall and the monuments (the trails are beautiful too, but the Mall is super easy to get to from where K lives). This morning I needed to get in 6 miles – I was worried about a repeat of my terrible run on Sunday, so I did what I could to manage the heat – I was running by 7am, I ate a pre-run banana (which I rarely do for short distances), and I brought my running belt so that I could hydrate whenever I needed to. Usually I have this rule where I don’t drink or eat my energy gels until I’ve been running for an hour (I feel like I need to give my tummy some time to adjust), but today I told myself I’d just start drinking as soon as I needed to.

And I needed to drink pretty much right away! It was just a regular July day in DC but it was so much hotter and more humid than what we’ve had in Chicago lately – it’s been hot here too, but it was more intense over there. Not only did I sip at my water bottle throughout the run, I even stopped at water fountains for extra drinks here and there AND I got lucky – when I was running past the Washington Memorial the sprinklers were on so I intentionally ran through one of them to cool off!

The good news – I finished. All 6 miles, in the heat. The not as good news – good god it was a SLOW run! I nearly died when my RunKeeper app chimed in with my average pace – it just kept increasing and increasing. Now I know there were two factors that contributed to my turtle-like speed – one, I did have to stop for traffic here and there, with zero movement. Second, while the area around the Mall is hardly hilly, there ARE inclines, and I think I naturally slowed down on them because I’m just not used to inclines anymore – Chicago is so flat. Part of me wonders if maybe my body naturally slowed down from the outset because it knew it would have to preserve energy to overcome the heat…but I’m not sure I can give myself that much credit! Stopping for traffic usually drives me nuts – I hate screwing up my time just because of traffic lights – but I won’t lie, this morning I wasn’t sad to take a lot more breaks than usual!

If I’d had a similar run here – a super slow one – I’d be concerned, but I think given all of the factors I shouldn’t get too worried. We’ll see how my runs tomorrow and Thursday go – each is only 3 miles so I’m not all that concerned; the real question will be Saturday’s 12-miler. But that’s 4 days from now and I want to go eat dinner – no time to worry about it now! Good night!

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