It’s hot. Real hot. Not, “Oh my goodness me, I’m sweating like a pig” kinda hot, but more like, “I feel the pain of that guy at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark who gets his face melted off!” That’s not the end of it though. It’s also humid. Real humid. And not the sort of, “Wow, I’m sweating just sitting on my front porch humid.” No, this is “Hey! I’m NOT a terrorist! Stop waterboarding me you asshole!” kinda humid.
Last week we had a handful of days that gave us great reprieve from this sweltering mess, but as the month of August tends to be known for, the thick, heavy air came rolling back in this week, crushing any hopes that we might revert back to last year’s summer of ideal conditions until fall comes blowing in. Not gonna happen.
Yesterday, for some meteorological reason, was seemingly worse than any day we’ve had all summer. Maybe it was the degree of the heat and humidity combined or maybe it was because we had a serious workout to do in the midst of it. You can get away in this stuff by shuffling your feet for 10 miles on a recovery run, but when you have to put effort into air like this, the effect of that mess seems to grow exponentially. Your heart rate goes up quicker, your core body temp breaks the thermometer glass and your body works harder and harder to cool itself off by pulling needed oxygen from your muscles and releasing the water weight in your body by sweating. You break down quickly.
And we had 15 miles to do with 5 of serious effort.
It was this day that Jessie decided to bring a scale to our practice so we could weigh ourselves before and after the run, so as to determine just how much water weight we lose through exertion and sweat during the run. A run that lasts about an hour and a half, give or take. It was an impromptu version of The Biggest Loser and we joked one of us was about to get kicked out of coming to practice next week.
I wish I would have kept a list of our initial weigh-ins, but I do remember mine. 142. Solid. That’s a good weight for me…racing weight I’d say. And that was at 5:45 in the evening, so a morning weigh-in would be even less…probably around 140 flat or in the 130’s for race time.
Then we ran…if you could call it that.
Where the first mile was suffering through the heat, somehow we managed to distract ourselves for the next four with a humorous and pointed debate about politics and economics. It was a fun exercise and really did manage to distract us from the environment around us and the sweat pouring out of our bodies. We then launched into our set of intervals….3:00 hard, 2:00 recover, 7:00 hard, 3:00 recover, 3:00 hard, 2:00 recover, 7:00 hard, 2:00 recover, 3:00 hard. It was obvious our pace was suffering, but it was good to know we were only running on effort and not goal times, considering the blanket of air stuffed into our throats. Finally, after getting through that and dragging our squishing, sweat-soaked shoes through 5 more miles of “cool down” (deliberate quotes) we made it back to our starting point and pulled the scale out of the truck.
Individually we stepped up, squinted away the sweat dripping into our eyes and did double-takes at the read out. My post-workout weight….
134. A total loss of EIGHT POUNDS…all in an hour and a half.
I’ve never weighed myself pre- and post- workout before, but I wasn’t even sure losing this much water weight was possible! Then everyone else stepped up and calculated their losses. 4 pounds. 5 1/2 pounds. 6 pounds. 7 pounds. Un. Real.
Turns out though, I was the workouts BIGGEST LOSER and therefore achieved immunity, allowing me to come back next practice to try again. 🙂 I celebrated by downing an Odwalla protein drink, a bottle of water, a gatorade and an iced coffee, followed by various other post run consumables at home (clif bar, jerquee, smoothie, dates, brocolli, etc.).
So yes, it is hot out there. And humid. Disgustingly so. Now more than ever make sure you are hydrating and prepared to both lose liquids and nutrients as well as ready to replace them, cause I guarantee as long as the weather stays like this, you’re going to be a huge loser.