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Monday, June 29, 2009

Beating the Heat

It's that time of year for most of the country. Hot and sometime very hot days. Still, you want to go for a run without risking heat exhaustion. I have some suggestions.

1) Time-if at all possible, run just after sunrise or just before sunset. If its more than 90 degrees, don't run between 9am and 4 pm.

2)Before run-hydrate, drink water, gatorade or other fluids, except coffee or tea (which will dehydrate you) as much as you can drink without feeling bloated. Sunscreen is very important. I suggest using a "sport" sunscreen that doesn't wash off with sweat or water.

3)During run-if the run is more than an hour, take fluids with you. Either in a carry bottle or a camelback type pack.

4)Types of runs. Trails are better than running on the street in most cases. Trails will offer shade either part of the run or larger parts of the runs. The mix of sun and shade is much safer than running on asphalt or concrete where the sun reflects and absorbs the heat. If you have to run on the streets, try to run a route that has more shade coming back because by that time in your run, you'll be dehydrated. You don't want to run your last half of your run in the blinding sun with no fluids.

5)Post-run. Hydrate right away. Gatorade or something like that works best. Get out of the sun and preferrably near some air conditioning. Stay out of the sun the rest of the day. It's not the time to sit outside in the sun. Wait until sunset before going outside.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Running as a Couple, Part deux

It was her idea, I swear. Run a 5K together. I wondered if running together would lead to a fight. Would I be frustrated at running slow, in a race? Would I be able to keep myself from offering non-stop advice and commentary? Well, here's what happened.

The Race was in Danville CA with the money going to families of soldiers and Marines killed in Iraq and Afganistan.

Arriving at the park, we don't see the usual pop ups, signs and dozens of volunteers. What we see are families and little leaguers. Are we in the wrong place? A glance down the hill from the parking lot proves otherwise, we see a few dozen people wearing red shirts and stroll down to register. After the organizer introduces the mother of one of the fallen, I feel humbled. After she thanks us for coming (like running a 5K is a big sacrifice) and for our support. We all wear our red shirts with the picture of the traditional memorial for the fallen, a rifle stuck on the ground with the helmet sitting on top.

She is getting nervous, just like most runners. This is her very first race and I should not push her she says to me over and over. I keep my mouth shut. The gun goes off and we set off down a gentle sloped street. She goes out to fast and I have to tell her to slow down, she does and we keep a steady pace, passing several women along the way. At the turn around, she looks gassed and I ask her if she wants some water, she does and looks better. She asks me how far we've gone, I tell her and she nods. With a mile to go, she slows to a stop, takes a few steps and looks at this woman passing her. She starts running again. No complaining, just heavy breathing. I tell her to try to keep her breathing in a steady rhythm. She tries.

Now we're going up hill and soon we pass the woman who had gone by earlier. We keep to a nice pace and soon I can see the park come into view. I can't resist. "We're almost there honey." She looks like she is suffering as we go up the hill through the park with two women on our heels. She and I speed up to the finish and our "fun run" is over. She looks around, in pain and I tell her how proud I am of her, then I tell her she beat all the other women. That made her smile.