5.5 miles in 105 degree heat. The “wild-eyed runner”

Boy will I be glad when the Fall arrives.  Of course here in the South, it doesn’t really start getting cool until the middle to end of October.

Yesterday was another hot day.  Not too hot by the temperature, but over 105 with the heat index.

I got home from work, kissed my Lovely Wife, pet the dog, said hi to the kids and headed out for my run.  I really just wanted to run with no intentions.  I hoped to even make it up to 8 miles, but I decided to play it by ear.  Several people have died in my area from the heat and I didn’t want to be numbered with them.

So I headed out.  I tried to start slow, but ended up a bit faster than I planned.  As the run when on, I actually felt pretty good.  Even though it was hot, I didn’t stop at the top of hills or in the shade.  I just kept running.  In fact, without really trying, my pace was under 9:00 for several miles.

I guess 4 miles is where the heat really begins to affect me.  I started to feel a little tired and my legs felt a bit weak.  At 5 miles I was beginning to feel a little light headed.  So, I thought it would be best just to head home and not take a chance with the heat.  I ended up at 5.5 miles at just around a 9:00 pace for the whole run.  Not bad.

After I got back, I sat outside with “The Dog” and threw a stick, but I couldn’t last more than about 10 minutes.  I went back in and stood in the kitchen under the air vent and tried to cool off.  By the time another 10 minutes had passed, the floor in the kitchen was soaked and so was I.  It was like I had just gotten out of the pool.  When I went up to take a shower, even my Lovely Wife said I was “wild eyed”.  I guess running 5.5 miles in 105 heat will do that to you.  🙂

I’m not sure what I am doing today.  The heat continues and I haven’t done my speed workout yet for this week.  The storms on Tuesday really messed with my schedule.  I’ll probably just try to get more miles in and take it easy preparing for my (hopefully) 18 mile run on Sunday.

Thank you for reading and have an awesome weekend!!!

Did running in compression socks make me dizzy?

You might be able to tell from the title of this post that it was a rough run yesterday.  I was so excited to try out my new compression socks that I got from a local retailer and see how they would help my running.  Specifically I want to try and help my legs on long runs to have better endurance.  The sales guy from the local store said these socks are made for running and specifically long distance runs like a marathon.

Here is a list of several things that may have contributed to my difficult run:

  • Hottest day of the week.  Monday it was in the high 70s and Tuesday in the low 70s.  Yesterday it was back up in the high 80s.
  • I didn’t drink as much water as usual.  I drank 64 oz of water rather than my goal of 96 oz.
  • I had a bad night sleep.  I woke up at 1:00 AM and did manage to get back to sleep, but it was not a very restful sleep.
  • Low carb eating.  I was at my lowest weight ever (176 lbs) and have eaten very few carbs.  Usually if I get below 180, I have difficult runs.

That said, I have NEVER felt as I did yesterday.  I ran a bit fast in the beginning which was not good.  Then as I hit the 3 mile mark, I got light headed and felt really strange.  It was almost like I was in a dream as I ran.  I tried to keep going and did for another half mile, but I got weak and really tired, so I gave up on the run at that point.  After I got home and rested, I felt fine.

So it could be a coincidence that I got so dizzy in my new compression socks.  I know others who swear by them and several other bloggers have suggested I try them.  I will say that my legs felt more relaxed and it seemed to me that I didn’t need to put as much energy into my legs in order to run.  At least that was my impression.

So did my compression socks cause this problem or was it circumstantial?

I have a 7 mile run today and I plan to use them again, so I guess I’ll find out the answer… maybe.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Have a great weekend!

Prep run for our 5K next week

Yesterday I was sent the Runners World article as it will appear in the book.  Pretty cool.  My part is about how to make running a habit and about consistency.  I was told the book will be out in January 2014, so I guess I’ll have to buy a copy.  🙂

Okay, on to running… Of course.

TJ and I ran the 5K course that my friend Neill (@bigbiggeek) picked out for us to run August 3rd.  This will be TJ and my last 5K before our marathon in September.  We figure it is a good way to keep some speed workouts going without impacting our marathon training much.


This course was a killer for me.  I think some of my issue was that it was about 10 – 20 degrees hotter than it has been all week and it was sunny (it has rained all week also).  But it is in a really nice planned community.  Basically it is a run up and down the streets throughout the community.  It was a very pretty run and very interesting to see all the nice homes.  But to me, I felt like we were going up hill after hill after hill.  Actually it starts out flat-ish for a half mile, but then the hills kick in and continue through about mile 2.5.  At the end, it is mostly down hill which is really nice.

All in all it seems like it will be a good course.  We ran it the first time at an 8:19 pace and then a second time at 9:27.  I admit, I started out too fast and was dragging after the first time through.  The second time we ran it much slower, but I really didn’t have much left.  I did get in 6 miles for the day and was only planning on 5, so I am 1 mile ahead of my running plan for the week.

Also yesterday, Neill challenged me to a virtual 7 mile race on the Nike+ app.  It is a pretty cool new feature.  Of course this challenge starts Saturday and I was to run 7 miles on Friday.  I try to keep Saturdays low mileage in preparation for my Sunday long run.  I’ll see how it goes.  He set it up to go until September 1, so I have time to work on it.  Should be fun.

That is about all I have for today.  My Chiropractor worked on my achilles some yesterday and it did feel better during my run.  It has started acting up again this week, but I’m glad it is doing better.

Until next time (tomorrow) – Keep on running!!!

Good runs + less pressure = more fun

I had another successful summer run yesterday.  Two great runs in a row.  Wow.

My app has really helped slow me down as it speaks to me, “Slower” when I run too fast for the preset pace.  This had enabled me to run like I used to before the summer heat hit.  I have cut my weekday runs to 5 miles for now and am working on rebooting my training for our marathon.

I am so encouraged by my runs this week.  Negative splits have changed my summer runs from dreadful to… maybe not exciting, but at least something to which I look forward.

As I ponder the Lehigh Valley Marathon in 8 weeks, I have come to realize (with TJ’s help) that the pressure of wanting to keep an 8:00 pace for 26.2 miles has really gotten to me.  It has made my running a burden and no longer fun.  So I have changed my attitude toward the marathon.  I would love to qualify for Boston in September and hope that I will, but I am no longer focusing on that as my primary objective.  It is an accomplishment in and of itself to finish my first marathon and I may surprise myself and run at my desired pace.  But I am going to relax, enjoy and make this an experience to remember.

So I feel that I am in a much better place now.  I have had a couple really good runs this week, even in the heat.  I have taken the pressure off of myself as to my expectations for the marathon.  I am more positive and enjoying the journey rather than obsessing about the destination.

Life is good!

Finally… A good, hot summer run

Finally, finally, finally.  Yes, I am rather relieved and excited.

I had a good summer run yesterday.

I ran 5 miles in a heat index of somewhere between 97 and 106 (depending on the app).  But unlike Tuesday’s run, I ran negative splits.

As I wrote yesterday, I decided to use my iSmoothRun app and allow the interval coach tell me to speed up or slow down based on my pace and my preset goal.  In the past I did this to keep up a pace, but my goal yesterday was to SLOW down.  I wanted to run the first mile really slow and the second mile slow and then the next three at an average pace.

So I set my app to keep me at 10:30 for the first mile, 10:00 for the second and 9:30 for the next three.  I figured that 9:30 might be too fast as this summer my pace has deteriorated into the 10:00 range, but but I decided to give it a try and see how I would do.

Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 9:25
Mile 2: 9:20
Mile 3: 9:18
Mile 4: 9:14
Mile 5: 9:05
Mile 5.5: 8:49

I choose to keep at the 5 mile range so I would not feel overwhelmed and make the run a negative experience.  My run went so well that at 5 miles, rather than walking home, I ran harder for the last half mile!  I did walk a little during the run, but that was just at the top of a couple of hills and not for long.

So what made the difference?

I really believe that starting out slowly made the run much better.  I kept up my energy and I never had that mental moment of, “I can’t continue”.  The heat was really bad and it was still hard to breath, but starting out slowly really made the run like night and day.  Also I began my run at the top of my street so I wouldn’t begin by running up hill.  Finally the app I use is fantastic.  It doesn’t nag about pace, but gives good feedback and keeps my mind in the run.  In fact the last half mile I didn’t have the coaching going since it was only set up for 5 miles and I noticed my running getting more erratic, even though I was able to push myself.

So this is a major victory for my running this summer.  It has been so tough and tiring that I felt I wouldn’t have another good run until the Fall.

Hopefully today will go as well.  I’ll let you know tomorrow. 🙂

Summer running – 4 ways to make running more tolerable

What was I thinking?

Marathon training in the South and in the summer.

I had a great run with TJ yesterday and actually ran my 8 miles 5 minutes faster than Monday.  But my pace is still down and the heat is really difficult.

There are ways to enjoy running in the summer.  Okay, maybe not enjoy, but to make it more tolerable.  I have been trying to tweet articles as I have come upon them, but they mainly seem to “boil” down to the same things:

STAY HYDRATED:  Personally I try to drink at least 96 ounces of water a day before I go running and preferably 128 oz.  I can feel the difference, even in the winter, when I haven’t had enough to drink.  I began drinking half my body weight in ounces of water back when I was dieting and have been able to keep it up.  The way I do this is to drink 32oz (1000 ml) of water as soon as I get to work.  I just down it quickly and get it out of the way.  Then I drink another 32 oz before lunch and a final 32 oz after lunch.  I try to finish my last 32 oz about 2 hours before I go running, if at all possible.

STAY COOL:  That may seem like a stupid thing to write about running in 100 degree heat, but it is true.  Anyway to keep yourself cooler during your run is very helpful.  I have gotten a hat and shirt that cool as they get wet (or sweaty).  I also have heard that just running your hands under cold water before you head out of the house goes a long way in helping you stay cooler.  Some people will run early in the morning or in the evening to make sure that they don’t run in the heat of the day.  Unfortunately I can’t do that with my schedule, so I have to come up with other ways to cool off.  I have even gotten to the point of going inside after the first half my run to drink some water and cool off a bit before continuing.

RUN SLOWER:  This is a hard one on me.  I worked all Fall and Winter to move my pace up and was pretty successful. Now as we begin with the heat of the summer, I am happy with 45 to 60 seconds a mile slower pace than during the winter.  The psychological effect of this is the most difficult to get beyond.  But now I have resigned myself that slowing down now will keep me alive for another run tomorrow, so that is good. 🙂  Basically as you run your blood goes to your skin to help cool your body.  This is blood that used to be available to your muscles.  So you will run slower in the heat because your body has to cool itself.  Just slow down and enjoy the run!

BE SMART: Pay attention to your body as you run.  Don’t push beyond what you can handle, even if it is less than normal.  Heat isn’t something to play games with.  Drink a sport drink or something equivalent right after exercising and rest.  If you feel at all nauseous or have weakness or other unusual symptoms during a run, call someone to pick you up.  TJ, RS and I have begun texting my Lovely Wife when we leave and when we expect to get back.  That way if we are out too long, someone knows to come look for us.

This isn’t an exhaustive list – obviously.  Just a couple of things I have picked up throughout the past several months.   I am not a doctor, but I like to learn from experience. I hope this helps.

Enjoy the summer.  Enjoy your runs.  Enjoy life.

How I’m getting used to running in the heat…

Running in the heat isn’t fun.  I have found this out by experience this year.  Last Summer I was running 2 miles a day at 11:00 pace and it wasn’t as big of a deal. This year I am running 7 miles at 9:00 pace and it became a big deal.

I say this to say that yesterday I ran in what is, compared to last week, cooler weather.  it was 82 degrees with a heat index of 85.  It felt hot, especially as the heat came up from the street.

I ran well anyway.

Notice the images below.  One is from June 5th when the heat began to kick in.  The other is from yesterday.  Both runs were around the same time of day and exact same temperature.

photo 1      photo 2 copy

I remember the June 5th run.  It was hot and I was running with TJ over a newer area we had just started running.  I felt good in the beginning but by the end I didn’t think I could continue.  My legs felt like lead and I was thinking, “What is wrong with me”.

Yesterday I didn’t feel perfect, but it felt good.  I ran faster at the end of my run than at the beginning.  I was tired when I was done, but not exhausted.  Both runs finished in almost the exact same time, but the run yesterday was much better at the end.

What was the difference?

I read somewhere that it takes 2 weeks to get used to the heat while running.  Your body has to get used to using all that energy (that produces heat) and also cool itself down at the same time.  So I think that considering yesterday was 10 degrees cooler than our runs last week and it has been a couple weeks of warm weather really helped.  Also I ran for the first time in my new Columbia running shirt that is made of material that cools when it gets wet.  So as I sweated, the shirt actually cooled me.  It didn’t cool a huge amount in the sun, but one time I was in the shade and a breeze blew and I actually felt a little cold!  Crazy.  These shirts cost $50 at Dick’s Sporting Goods so it will take some time to purchase more, but this one was a gift for Father’s Day from TJ and it really helped.

Today, I hope to run with Neill (@BigBigGeek) around the lake again.  If all works out and we can run, it will be a lot of fun and a nice change to my daily routine.

Keep running!

5 reasons my run went so well yesterday

No walls!

It was a much better run yesterday and I never had the moment of, “I can’t go on”.  It felt so good to me and was the first time in weeks (other than my trail run last week with @BigBigGeek) I had such a great run.  What made the difference?  I think it was several factors; some changes I made and some circumstances.

1) The weather – It was about 5 to 10 degrees cooler when I ran, but still humid and felt hot to me.  Though going from mid 90s to mid 80s must have made a difference.

2) My virtual coach – I have written before that I use iSmoothRun as my running app.  It really is a great app and I have stopped looking further for anything else.  One feature is that a pace can be set for each mile (I chose 9:30 since that is the average pace I have been keeping in the heat) and the app will tell you during that mile if you need to speed up, slow down or run steady.  I tend to start slow to warm up and then go too fast if I feel good and then I have nothing left after 3 miles in the heat.  This app kept me in the 9:30 – 9:15 range, so I never went too fast.  I think it really helped!

3) My cool hat – No not cool as in looks, though it isn’t bad looking, but cool as in temperature.  It is made by Columbia and really works.  As I got into my run and started sweating I felt much cooler. I then felt my hat and it felt like someone poured cool water over it. It is supposed to lower the heat by 5 degrees.  I’ll take that!  I think it made a huge difference.  TJ is getting me the shirt for Fathers Day – I can’t wait to try it!

4) Eat half a Pemmican energy bar. This bar doesn’t taste good, but does seem to keep the energy going without peaking like gels do.

5) I am just an awesome runner Not there yet, but I am trying. 🙂

So all in all it was a really good run.  I kept waiting for that “feeling” of not being able to go on, but it never came.  It was such a relief.

This morning it is cool and 75 degrees outside so I need to hit the road.

Thanks for reading.

Running into a wall – a great thing!

Yesterday was a good day!

I decided that with my running being difficult, lack of sleep, and staying up late (late for me) to watch “Spirit of the Marathon II” the night before that I should take the day off and rest.  That I did.

I slept 10 hours straight.  If for nothing else, that would be enough to help anyone.  I woke up on my own and the sun was out and I felt renewed.

I got up and soon had a text from TJ asking if we were going to run together – “Yes”, I replied as I thought of the 7 – 9 mile run ahead of me.  I kept myself focused and got ready to go out.  It was going to obviously be cooler at 9:00 in the morning than at 2:00 in the afternoon, but it wasn’t much cooler.

We went out and ran a course through our neighborhood that he runs quite a bit.  It was great running with him and I felt good.  We hit the 2 mile mark and I could already feel myself getting a bit fatigued.  We were not running fast.  In fact he watched our pace and would tell me to slow down at times.  But the heat was beginning to get to me again.  It was so helpful that as I told him I was starting to feel myself getting tired and he said he was feeling it too.  “What, it isn’t just me?” That was a huge relief and kept me going.

By the 4 mile mark I was slowing down.  I knew 9 miles would be out of the question at that point, but I wanted to make it to 7.  I felt again like I hit the wall.  We continued and he slowed to my pace as I slowed down.  We finished back at the house and he ran in to get me some Gatorade as I walked outside a bit.


I know from the movie and what I have read that everyone hits a wall in a marathon.  Usually around mile 20 your body screams to stop running and give up.  That is the reality of my Spring (I can’t believe it isn’t summer yet) so far.  Everyday I hit a wall.  Everyday my body screams that I cannot go on.  I know I am hydrated and I am eating as well as I can, but I hit that wall over and over again.  My revelation…  that is a GOOD thing.  Each time I get to that point of not being able to continue, but I continue anyway, I am teaching myself to get past that point.  My body is learning how to go beyond the dreaded wall.  Not that I should be stupid and run when I am in trouble, but I can tell usually if this is just a wall or I should stop my run early.  Plus I know that I can run more than 2 or 3 miles and that is when this usually happens.

Another thing I learned the other day from reading an article.  When you run or exercise and it is hot outside, your blood moves toward your skin to circulate and cool you down so you don’t overheat.  That means that less blood is available for your muscles and helping your run.  This is the reason you slow down.  It was already obvious to me that I have slowed quite a bit (about 1 -2 miles a mile) since the heat kicked in, but it really helps knowing why it is happening.

Running with someone else is huge.  Had I run that early run by myself yesterday I might have given in and stopped.  Running with TJ was like running on a treadmill.  I kept going because he kept going.  Also, after the day was mostly gone, I got to run with RS (something I don’t get to do much).  We ran 2 miles together.  It was later and half way through it rained pretty hard.  It felt great.

So I got in my 9 miles.  I felt like I accomplished a huge feat just by making the 7 with TJ.  I felt awesome afterwards.  Then the extra 2 with RS and I went to bed knowing I made my 9 mile goal and all was well with the world (or at least my world).

7 miles and 1 wall this afternoon.  I can’t wait!



That is the amount of miles I ran out of my 7 mile goal yesterday.


I decided at that point to stop.  I hit a wall and could have gone on, but I did that Sunday and decided that I would be opening myself up to injury if I continued.  However this does pose a dilemma.  How do I get to 50 miles this week and ultimately the mileage to seriously run a marathon if I can’t do much more than 4 miles in a day?

I know it has some to do with the heat – probably 80% of what I felt running yesterday was due to the heat.  Part of it was due to a late meeting that meant that I didn’t get out to run until after 4:00 in the afternoon.

I’ve been thinking that perhaps I should run in the morning.  However I already get up by 4:00 each morning so that isn’t very doable.

So TJ helped me with telling me his solution.  He had to stop early also yesterday, though for him early is 10 miles.  His solution is to try running some miles in the morning and the rest in the afternoon.  Sounds like a doable solution to me.

So starting today I am going to try to run 3 miles in the morning and 4 in the afternoon.  That way it will be much less time in the 100+ heat and it won’t seem like such a long run either.  Of course, now I have to get up no later than 3:30 and probably earlier as I have to cool down and soak my achilles in ice water after my run.  However I will give this a try and see how it goes.

Tonight, Spirit of the Marathon II at 7:00.  One night only.  I can’t wait – though 3:30 will come awful early after staying up until 10:00.

Maybe I’ll take tomorrow off.

The heat returns and running gets harder

The heat is back.  I realized last week that the heat was an issue and now this week I can see it is going to be a long summer of running.

Yesterday went well.  I ran the paired back 5 miles I budgeted after the pain of running too much without a break last week.  I thought of running further and might have, but kept getting a pain in my hip and down my leg every quarter mile or so.  It would last only about one or two strides, but it was consistent for the first 3 miles.  I figured that since I am to hill run workouts today, I should keep to my original plan and only run 5 miles.

Oh and did I mention the heat?

It was only 81 officially, but the heat index was 85 and I imagine when you add the radiation from the pavement it must have been close to 90.  This might have been easier if we had slowly gone into this situation, but 2 weeks ago I was running with a jacket and now I am so hot that my shirt is soaked after my run.

The good news is that tomorrow the rain comes back and the temp won’t even reach 60.  Then low 70’s and sunny through the weekend.  So, I look forward to at least a few more days of cool weather in which to run.

This does make me wonder about this summer.  Last summer I remember running in the upper 90’s and even in the 100’s, but I was also only running 2 miles a day, not 7 or 8.  I guess I’ll have to get used to it and take it slow.  TJ told me that running in the heat has a similar effect to running in high altitude.  So, if I can get used to running well this summer, it should bode well for the Fall marathon season.

BTW, Jeff sent me a Facebook pic that simply said,

“If you’re trying to defeat the
human spirit, marathoners
are the wrong group to target.”

Great post.  There is so much going on in the world right now.  I am thankful I took up running when I did.  I can put up with a little heat.  Running is worth it!