In which I run in the heat

I had a 20-kilometre run scheduled today, but I melted instead.

Honestly, I have only myself to blame. I felt worn out last night, but indulged myself and after 13 kilometres with 12 X 100 metres, I let myself off the hook.

I’ll do it tomorrow, I told myself.

S-u–u-ure you will.  Uh-huh.

I can hear the chanting of a thousand mothers’ voices now: Don’t put off until tomorrow….

But I’d convinced myself that tomorrow I’d just do a straight run: long, slow distance – no marathon pace, no intervals, just a nice, easy pace to get ‘er done.

Well, it didn’t get done.

Around noon, I poked my head out the door and a wilting wave of humidity washed over me. Swimming through the thick air, I paddled out to my mail box and back, thinking: It’s some hot out.

It only got worse.

Around 3 p.m., the temperature on the back deck hit 40 C above. Waves of heat rippled across the asphalt out front and the neighbourhood kids entertained themselves, frying eggs on the sidewalk.

At 4:30, I dragged my sorry ass out to my car, which was not quite as warm as a furnace in hell. I drove out to the run, saturating myself with Gatorade.

I figured I’d be okay. I’d packed a fuel belt with water, Gatorade and gels and wore a singlet and shorts.

The air was thicker than Rob Ford attempting to articulate his vision for the city of Toronto.

We set off from the gym. I hadn’t even gone 300 metres when I knew I was in trouble. My hips, knees and shins were sore from four consecutive days of hard workouts (here a Greek chorus chants: “Aw, poor baby!”).

And the heat.  The heat was more oppressive than a foreign dictatorship. This was a crushing heat. The merciless sun pounded the spirit out of me. It sucked the life from me. I was a shell of a man, grotesquely flailing his arms and legs in a terrible parody of running.

Rivers of sweat poured from my brow, the salt blinding me.

I trudged on.

Did I say it was hot?

Hell, yeah.

The water and Gatorade I carried had long ago reached boiling point and could no longer quench my thirst.  “Water,” I croaked. “I need water.”

Now at this juncture, just about everyone who ran Boston this year is thinking this guy is ridiculous. Boston was way hotter.

How hot?

Why Boston was so hot that the soles of my shoes stuck to the pavement with every step.

We could do this for a long time.

Suffice to say that tonight it wasn’t just the heat, but the humidity – and the humility.

I was humbled. Truly.

Respect the weather, because it doesn’t care about you at all. You, you’re just a speck running on the surface of the planet and the weather will win every time.

What did I take away from tonight’s run?

I should listen to my gut – always, every time. I was tired going into the run and could have used the day off. Now I’ll have to take tomorrow and possibly Friday as well to properly recover.

Secondly, whether I like it or not, I have to adjust my pace to the temperature or it will do it for me. I took short walk breaks at least three times.

Thirdly, I need to do more of this when I’m well-rested so that I’m acclimatized when I arrive in hell have to run a hot mid-summer race.

End of the day? I got nine km in.

Did I mention it was hot?

By the way, best blogging practices mention that to “engage your audience” you should ask questions at the end of your posts that will compel them to answer and help drive more people to your blog.

Typically, I don’t do this, but tonight I’ll make an exception. Feel free to answer or to ignore them.

1. Are you hot? (You decide how you want to interpret this in light of the above post.)

2. Are you going to hell?

3. Have you ever fried eggs – or anything else, for that matter, on the sidewalk?

4. Would you please send me all your money?

5. Why not?


About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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14 Responses to In which I run in the heat

  1. Trevor M. says:

    I’ll take a shot –
    1) No, but I was while running during my lunch hour
    2) Not yet
    3) Just a couple of brain cells once or twice
    4) No
    5) I’ll hold back the amount I still need to collect for Cabot Trail

  2. Noortje says:

    1) Of course I am 🙂
    2) Hopefully not
    3) Nope, but I am very tempted to try it one of these days!
    4) No
    5) I don’t know your address (hahahaha)

    I was planning to run, but decided not to, because of the weather. I am glad I did not. Happy recovery!

  3. Trish says:

    1. Are you hot? (You decide how you want to interpret this in light of the above post.)
    So, I’ve been told. 😉

    2. Are you going to hell?
    I hope not.

    3. Have you ever fried eggs – or anything else, for that matter, on the sidewalk?
    No but my daughter attempts to fry herself, kind of like animals that enjoy laying on the asphalt absorbing its warmth. 🙂

    4. Would you please send me all your money?
    That would be a very sad display of my worth.

    5. Why not?
    See answer to #4 🙂

    • subthree says:

      Ha. Good answers. Thank you for reading. But send me your money anyway and I promise to reply with a (fairly) accurate assessment of your net worth.

  4. irinasouiki says:

    1.Given the number of Likes and comments received 2days ago when I posted a picture of me in my wetsuit, i’d say yes. That, or all these people have a rubber fetish.
    2. Probably, I am a godless heathen.
    3. No, but I can see myself doing it soon. Tomorrow I heard it’ll be even hotter.
    4.Good thing I don’t have any right now.
    5. Because it’s all gone the day my paycheck came in.

    Tonight I did 1.5h bike ride and 30min run as a brick and i did not die. I think I deserve a friggin’ medal.

  5. Chris says:

    1. Are you hot? (You decide how you want to interpret this in light of the above post.)
    Not at the moment (inside with the A.C. on). But probably when I bike to work I will be

    2. Are you going to hell?
    Nope. I think someone already mentioned the Godless Heathen aspect.

    3. Have you ever fried eggs – or anything else, for that matter, on the sidewalk?
    Nope. And as a vegan I probably never will.

    4. Would you please send me all your money?
    No. Sorry.

    5. Why not?
    Saving for a down payment on a house.

  6. 1. Are you hot? In more ways than one.
    2. Are you going to hell? I hear its a lot more fun than heaven.
    3. Have you ever fried eggs – or anything else, for that matter, on the sidewalk? Not as of yet but there’s always tomorrow.
    4. Would you please send me all your money? No, but thank you for asking.
    5. Why not? I’ve promised it all to the devil.

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