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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

You can almost die on a 6-mile run.

Sunday morning I got up a little late and stumbled out the door for 6 miles of soft-surface running. Since we got a lot of rain over the past week, the outside loop of Audubon park was out of the question: rain turns it into a bog. I opted instead for the streetcar tracks, which dry out faster, and promised to be mostly runnable.
I almost died.
I got out the door at close to 8 am, and it was 88 degrees. Not bad, really; I've run in much worse. But the humidity was stifling. There was a damp dome of moisture above me, through which the sun was beating down. For about a mile, I was just trucking along. Then somewhere in mile two, I decided that I was going to die in about 5 minutes. My clothes were saturated with sweat and being annoyingly clingy. My shoes were squelching with mud and sweat. My head throbbed in the heat. I kept squinting angrily to keep the sweat from pouring into my eyes.
To make it worse, I was running into a steady headwind that felt like a public bathroom hand-dryer. Somehow I survived until the turnaround point, and things got much better: the wind was behind me, and it brought in clouds that occasionally provided respite from the sun. A storm was rolling in, which explained the incredibly heavy air, but the shade was worth it.
Somehow I didn't die, even though I was pretty sure death was imminent, but I felt terrible the rest of the day. I was light-headed and had no appetite, and just moped for several hours. Finally I remembered that whole electrolyte thing and had a pinch of salt. Ah! Revival! That made a big difference. But man, it was still a rough day.

I have a feeling that my new, slower self (never got under 8:30 pace Sunday) is going to struggle this summer.


  1. All aboard the struggle bus. I know I'm not imagining things, but it seems like I'm running so much slower than last year. Yeah I'm coming back from a minor injury, and slowly trying to ease back into things. But. when are the faster paces going to start feeling easier?

    Stay safe in the heat. I would probably freak out with all of that humidity. At least our heat is a dry heat, and your body can cool off via evaporation cooling. What happens in the South. Do you just stay sweaty all Summer long? (I hope that doesn't sound so rude).

  2. I've only done one run in temps over 80 so far this year, and unfortunately, it was a 4 mile race and I remember the misery well. Even though all my other runs are in the 70s, I cannot remember the last time I ran without feeling like my clothes were completely saturated with sweat and annoyingly clingy. And they result in a big puddle when I'm standing around drinking water when I finish. But it's the price we pay for no snow days, right? Glad you survived!

  3. I swear that humidity is worse than heat for a runner. Today I ran in 16C temps but the humidity was almost 100% and it was tough going. Who'd have thought I'd struggle in the middle of winter?!

  4. Ugh. Humidity is the absolute, 100% worst thing in the world for me with running. I probably would have quit after 10 minutes! God help me if I ever have to move.

  5. The way that was written made me laugh. Also, it sounds similar to most of my runs lately. I discovered "the salt trick" a couple of years ago when training for an ultra, and you're right - it almost immediately recaptures your focus. The worst think about that run had to be your shoes sloshing with sweat - that's about the only thing I really don't like about summer running. Glad you didn't die, I'd have to find another webmd source.

  6. Ugh, running in those conditions is SO HARD. Don't beat yourself up to much. I've had those, "I'm going to die" runs too and they suck so much. I can't imagine running in the heat and humidity of NOLA. It gets hot and humid here (hotter and humid than most people would think!) but it's nothing like what you guys experience!

  7. Um, yeah. It's miserable here. I pretty much feel lousy during all of my runs and can't wait until they're over. I'm only up to 5 miles these days at around a minute-per-mile slower than you. I can't believe how disgustingly soaked I am afterwards. By the way, did I see you yesterday (Wednesday) running down Nashville at around 5:15 pm? I was coming back from my youngest son's swim practice and if it wasn't you, it was your doppelganger.

    1. It wasn't me - i actually took a little break from running last week because I had a house guest.

  8. Heat is the WORST. Miserable.