Check your friends’ status on Facebook….they know it’s hot.
Check your timeline on Twitter….everyone knows it’s hot.
Walk outside…damn it’s hot.
Half the country is on fire right now and it seems that everyone I know (except for you lucky bastards in the Pacific Northwest) is suffering under the oppressive heat wave that has most of the country in 100+ degree weather. Here in Phoenix, 100 degrees is just the beginning. 100 degrees is a cake walk in a part of the country that regularly sees Summers cresting the 120 degree mark.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not miserable.
I’ve been avoiding my runs. I admit it. Maybe there’s a support group for me, but I just dread getting out in these temperatures and running. Last year I would run at night, I was still running in 95 degree weather but it was dark and, usually, breezy at night. Last week I waited until midnight and it was still 102 degrees outside! No. Not doin’ it.
In the mean time, I can feel myself getting soft. Getting a hike or two in on the weekends when I can drive up north out of the oppressive heat is not enough. So today, in an apparently irrational moment of courage I decided, “No more excuses!”
That’s right, no more excuses! I was gonna get out and run no matter what. I needed time on the trail, I needed time outside, I needed the exercise and I wasn’t going to let a little heat stop me.
So, I grabbed my CamelBak and filled the bladder with some cool water. I thought about grabbing the new GeigerRig pack but the last time I ran with it, I felt it was just too big for a short trail run (I have the 1600 pack and it’s huge). I strapped on my shoe, my new running shorts and my new lightweight-breathable running hat (my regular hats get very warm in this heat) and jumped in the truck.
I arrived at the parking lot by the trailhead at 9am…89 degrees and the sun felt intense.
There were not a lot of cars in the parking lot. Apparently the smarter ones stayed home. I got on the trail and started with a strong hike to warm up, don’t want to push too hard too early. A few minutes in I passed up the guy that was starting the trail when I pulled in. I was feeling good so I started a slow jog after passing him.
The first mile was a little rough, but not horrible. We had a nasty dust storm last night with no moisture so dust still hung over the city and I swear I could taste it as I tried to breathe.
10 minutes in and the first mile down, I was starting my climb. I was also on the back of the mountain and for some reason the sun seemed to be especially intense here and the air was motionless. Heat is bad, but even when there is a hot breeze it can work with your sweat to create an evaporative effect and cool you down. There was no breeze, no evaorative cooling and I swear I could feel my body drying out. My blood seemed to be thickening, my muscles getting sluggish and my skin shrinking like fruit in a dehydrator.
I decided to run just so I could create some breeze against my skin. I came across some trail trash (more on that later) and picked it up and stashed it in my pack. I took the opportunity to spray myself down with water (would have been much easier with the GeigerRig…why didn’t I bring the damn GeigerRig?) The water worked with my faster pace and seemed to cool me down slightly.
I shit you not, 20 seconds later I was dry! I JUST dumped water on myself! How am I now dry!?!
The heat was starting to hurt…I had to slow down. I kept hiking up the back side of the mountain and I tried to keep my pace up.
When I got to the top I dumped water on myself again (again cursing myself for not bringing the GeigerRig). It’s a rolling downhill trail from the summit so I picked up the pace again and there was some breeze along the ridge making things easier. But it was getting hotter and I needed to get out.
As I reached the east side of the mountain, the headache started. By the time I had jogged around to the south side (exposure!) I was a little delirious and I had pushed myself to keep running as far as I could. When the trail began to climb again I started feeling sick and stopped running when I nearly threw up.
The rest of the uphill I walked. The sun was really beating down on me and I imagined it focusing it’s burning gaze on me. I could hear it’s maniacal laughter as it watched me struggle.
During this slow walk I was imagining all sorts of things from wishing I could walk in to a convenience store for some Gatoraid or Poweraid or Thirstaid or Hey-asshole-you-are-not-an-athlete-aid. I continued to curse myself for not having my GeigerRig so I could be spraying water in my face this whole time. I cursed all the #OmniTEN for hording their OmniFreezeZero (Columbia better get to Phoenix soon!).
Then the trail descended again, and I could see the truck. I reminded myself that there was a cool, icy beverage in my truck and air conditioning and shade…
So I started running again…in my mind I was running, but from the outside I’m sure it was something more like what a 100 year old man looks like when he’s trying to catch a bus.
I was again assaulted by the heat when I stepped back on the asphalt. If I thought the trail was hot, holy crap! It was only 10am and the asphalt was radiating heat like an oven.
I got to the truck, fired it up and start the AC. I still had my trail trash to deal with so I found the nearest trash can and disposed of it. I downed the icy water left in my HydroFlask and strapped in to the truck and left. This was a bad idea….but I did it, no excuses, I did it.
I haven’t decided if I’d do it again.
Addendum: It was 89 degrees when I started at 9am and 97 when I got off the trail at 10am. It was NOT my imagination, the sun was trying to kill me.
And now an open letter (RANT) to the assholes who leave trash on the trail:(harsh language warning –earmuffs for the kiddies)
FUCK YOU! Seriously, how hard is it to pick up after yourself? Fuck you and your lazy fucked up parents for raising you to have absolutely zero respect for the outdoors and other people! I’ll pick up your trash because I don’t want to see it on MY trail. I’ll clean up after you because I don’t want to LET you ruin MY experience. I know it’s not always kids but when I am picking up, over the course of the trail, an entire 6-pack of Smirnoff Ice I know it’s some dumbass High School dropout worthless shits. I spend a lot of time outside and I have some trails I hit on a regular basis and this kind of shit drives me nuts. I don’t come over to your house and piss on your Justin Beiber poster or your True Blood BluRays, so don’t leave your trash in MY outdoors. Go back to school, get a job, cut your hair and STAY OFF MY LAWN!!