A little less whining

I went a little overboard with the pity party last night. I know I’m not the only person in the world whose husband got sick, died much too young, and left me all alone. Still, this is my life, my experience, and I’m smack in the middle of having this experience. Sometimes it’s just really crummy. It helps a bit, in those moments, to rant about how crummy it is.

This morning my head, neck, and shoulders all felt 90% better and the temperature was down to a mere 75 degrees, so I decided to try for a 3-4 mile run. I chose an out-and-back route through a very nice neighborhood where the homes have high privacy walls and trees, both of which offer some morning shade. The route includes some hills of both the long-moderate and the short-steep variety, but it also allows for off-the-clock rest periods at four major street crossings.

I started out slowly and happily and did the first short-steep hill reasonably well, but before the end of the first mile my heart rate was already way higher than I wanted it to be. Oddly, going down the first long-moderate hill didn’t have much effect on my pulse, and I was really feeling the heat even with the shade. So I slowed down some more. At 1.7 miles out the road leaves this neighborhood and there is no more shade, so I decided to turn around there. I ended up walking a good portion of the long-moderate uphill, but willed myself to run up the short-steep section. The rest of the way back the shade was already gone for the day, and I got very hot, so I took it very easy and was grateful for the rests at major street crossings.

It was 80 degrees when I got back. I’d run exactly 3.4 miles; my GPS watch is quite accurate. My heart rate recovered quickly in the relative coolness indoors, but I still felt overheated and did not do much for the next hour. I googled “what are the effects of running in the heat?” and learned that a higher than usual heart rate is the primary effect, and that the only way to deal with that is to slow down. So I was pleased to learn that I’d done the right thing! The other thing, of course, is the risk of heat stroke. I have no way to monitor my internal temperature but I now know that letting my heart rate be my guide and drinking water (which I did) are the best defenses against heat stroke while running.

I’ve never run before in temperatures as warm as 75-80 degrees. It should be at least 25 degrees cooler in Victoria in October, which should make everything much easier.

When I’m running, I don’t think about missing Kurt or being lonely or washing my car or what I should do with this condo or how I will cope with global climate change or global economic collapse. I don’t think about anything but putting one foot in front of the other. In the act of taking one literal step at a time, I seem to regain the strength and the will to keep taking the next metaphorical step in my life.


Posted on September 21, 2011, in grief, Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. IT’s all about conditioning. I did my daily runs as a noon break, in temperatures up to 106, but in slightly dryer 29 Palms. I started with 1/4miles, but in a couple years was doing 6 miles without water. I could tell that my coordination was fading toward the end, but 20oz of double strength Gatorade back in the office, and I was fine.


    • I appreciate conditioning — that’s why 2 miles at 6900 feet was harder than 4 miles in the same place three days later — but it’s 106 again right now at 1:45 pm and I have NO desire to ever acclimate to running when it’s like THIS.
      ~~ Lori

  2. Lori,—-It is always O.K. to whine [is that how you spell whine?] — I miss him too!—–I’m glad that you are having an adventure, [because that is what liFe is ,a learning, breathing field trip into the future.—-Only we don’t always get to pick which ride we will take.—-But we do get to choose whether we show up or not.—-And you are showing up,—Thats the best we can do!—-Later, Ellen

  3. Ellen,
    You are a philosopher at heart. Thank you for your very inspirational thoughts.

  1. Pingback: The architectural icon on the hilltop « Slow Happy Runner

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