My long run this past week was a 95 minute run at a nice, easy pace. I usually do long runs on Saturdays but Al had off this Saturday so we spent the day together. On Sunday, the temperatures looked very long run friendly. High 70s and party cloudy. Any fellow runner knows you can’t go by just the temperature – but I made a rookie mistake.
Humidity plays a huge role on your cardiovascular performance. When you exercise, one way your body cools itself is by sweating! The evaporation of sweat off the skin and the increase blood flow to the skin helps reduce the body temperature. However, when it is humid there is additional moisture in the air. This makes the evaporation process more difficult and therefore the risk of overheating is higher and the energy required to perform the exercise is increased. Last summer my coach reminded me that humidity was the “poor man’s altitude training”. Similar demands are placed on the body when at altitude due to the decreased pressures and ability to utilize oxygen.
So when I left for my run at 1pm, the 77* temp really meant 93% humidity and 91* real feel. Needless to say- my long run was tough. Really really reallllyyy tough. And I was dripping wet. I actually went home at mile 3 and changed from capris to shorts – which I have never ever done. (Side note- I also couldn’t find my body glide and tried to use some Vaseline. Epic epic fail. Chaffing was real and painful and made me dread showering.) I had to stop at every mile to grab a drink and I used every mantra I’ve ever read to help power me until the end. I also think I may have had a conversation with myself the entire time. I questioned my decision of choosing running as my sport, how skilled could I become at an activity like quilting if I gave up running, what type of protein shake I would have and what toppings did I desire, and most importantly how many glasses of wine did this run deserve.
The most important thing I did was let go of the time. It was no longer important to me what pace I was running or how many water stops I needed to make- I just wanted to finish. These tough runs always suck mentally and physically- but they make us stronger runners. And that is what keeps me coming back for more.
PS Is anyone running summer streets this weekend?!?!?! I think I’m going to come in for it!