The heat is on
on the street
inside your head on ev’ry beat.
While vacationing in Phoenix over the Fourth of July holiday, I had the opportunity to take to the streets running.
I’m not sure the temperature ever dropped below 90 degrees, even at night. Since I was “on vacation,” I refused to get up early. That’s too much like work. I didn’t want to be rude and not have breakfast with my family and the friends we were visiting, so I had breakfast. I can’t run right after I eat (well, I could but it would not be pretty!) so I had to wait a couple of hours. As a result, my runs were usually around noon.
This was Phoenix. In the desert at high noon.
The people who live there go swimming in the morning . . . because it’s too hot to go in the afternoon. Too hot to go swimming? Seriously?
Granted, I went swimming in the afternoon–after my run. It was hot. So hot I could barely walk on the pavement around the pool, even with my feet wet.
I did not see any other runners on any of my runs. Does that make me crazy or special? You decide.
If you’re goin’ through hell keep on going
Don’t slow down if you’re scared don’t show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there
But the heat would not keep me from my appointed rounds. It’s a dry heat. Like running in your oven.
The key to running in this environment is proper hydration. It also helps to be a little insane. I did have a belt with me that accommodates two small water bottles, but I don’t really like carrying them if I don’t have to. (The belt makes my butt look big.)
And, I almost never carry water for runs under 8 miles, even at home in the heat and humidity of central PA. I also was running in relatively unknown territory (this was our third trip to visit our friends and I had jogged in this area before,) so I wouldn’t be going very far away from the house where we were staying. I could always loop back and grab a drink if I needed it. Seriously, you wouldn’t want to be out in the open desert without water. But I was always within a mile or so of water if I needed it.
Running experts will regale the virtues of sunscreen. I personally don’t use it much, but if you burn easily or don’t have a good base tan, you might want to consider it. I apply some on my scalp over my
bald thinning spot and I wear a cap with a visor. I have a pretty good tan already from running, swimming and golfing. I have read some literature suggesting that the use of sunscreen may actually increase the risk of skin cancer, supposedly due to Vitamin A additives which may accelerate malignancy. As an ophthalmologist, I know that Vitamin A can increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers (we recommend Vitamin A for macular degeneration) so it is not hard to believe that there may be a link there. Also, people who wear sunscreen tend to stay out in the sun longer. Burning is nature’s way of telling you that you stayed out too long. I’m also not sure about all those chemicals on my skin, but I am not a fanatic about that. I probably eat more damaging chemicals in one day than I could absorb through my skin in a sunny season.
I run listening to music (with one ear bud so that I can hear traffic and the world around me with the other ear.) Running in intense heat can be distracting and demoralizing, and if you focus too much on how hot you feel, it will defeat you quicker. Listen to the music. Go with the flow. Be the road. Hypnotize yourself. What heat?
I carry my phone clipped on my waistband. You never know when an emergency will rise, or if you become too hydrated and need assistance. I always run with a phone (covered in plastic during rain) just in case.
I did 4 miles one day, and two runs of six miles on other days. I hydrated ahead of time, and did not have to stop for any more water during the run. I like the different scenery that the desert offers, especially contrasted to Pennsylvania.
I can’t wait to get back out there again.