A Lesson in Heat

It’s been hot. Well, hot for the island (nothing like it has been in Ontario, so I apologize if I sound like a wuss).

So far, up until this past Sunday, I haven’t had to deal with any extreme heat (23 degrees Celsius +), but on Sunday that all changed. I very stupidly spent Friday and Saturday enjoying far too many cocktails and laid around at the beach, in the sun, on Saturday not drinking nearly as much water I should have. By the time I had made dinner on Saturday night, I knew I was going to be in trouble for my long run on Sunday.

My initial plan was to run a relatively “flat” distance run, and aim for almost 30K. But for those of you who went out on Sunday on the island, it was scorching hot (30 degrees, at least). Of course, I slept in until about 9 so by the time I ate, packed the cooler and loaded up on supplies it was close to noon by the time I got to the trail. I also made the mistake of going to Thetis Lake, in a heat wave, which meant it took me almost an hour to park. By the time I was on the trail, away from happy-go-lucky beachgoers, I was already sweating, mad and reading for a cold beer.

But although I felt a little frazzled, I physically felt pretty good. The first 3K felt great. I felt loose, confident, and despite the heat, I felt like 30K was in my wheelhouse for the day. After about 7K of steady, relatively flat, fire roads I felt good.

I have this weird indicator of dehydration. I know I’m really well hydrated when I’m running when I can squeeze both my hands into a fist. I know I’m not properly hydrated when I can’t close my right hand (my left seems to be okay for a while longer, no idea why – if someone knows the answer to this, please send me a message!). Anyways, after running almost 8K out away from my car (remember the car is my aid station), I could hardly close my right fist and my hydration pack felt light. I’d gone too hard, too quickly.

Luckily I had the state of mind to turn around and huck it back to the car. But by the time I was back (about 15K) I had consumed all of my water, electrolytes, and nutrition on my persons. I had to take ice from the cooler to get my core temperature down and by the time I refilled my water and Gatorade,  I was only able to push out another 5K before I felt like I might be risking heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Normally, meat-head Ty would have pushed through, but being almost a month from race day I wasn’t going to spoil future training sessions. Relax, regroup, and recovery is something I am trying to embrace.

Anyways, I went home and did just that, but I vowed to do at least an hour of hills, in the heat, on Monday. So yesterday I drank as much water as I could at work and easily pulled off over an hour of climbing. I felt so good that I stopped a little earlier, hoping to keep some of that energy for the rest of the week.

Sunday was an important lesson. The heat is going to be a factor, and if I am going to be running for potentially 10+ hours, I need to think more about hydrating and keeping my core temperature down. Pre-hydration is absolutely key. So, I am glad that I learned this now and not a week before the race.

Again, this isn’t a very “deep” post, but I wanted to share.

Honestly, though, I am feeling really good, I might even be signing up for another race in November. I’ll share more details about that at a later point.

It’s hill week, so today off, tomorrow another session at Bear Hill and then a few Mount Work sessions this week and this weekend. My goal for the weekend is to try and 1600M of climbing in about 5 hours. So we’ll see what happens.

But for now, I gotta beat the heat and stay healthy.


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