on running in texas

In April, I posted about running in Florida when Eric and I headed south to visit his dad/attend a wedding.  This past weekend, we headed south again.  This time, our travels took us to Grapevine, Texas (just outside Dallas) to visit his mom and family.  I packed my running clothes because I’m in full on “OMG this triathlon training thing isn’t going so well so I better at least run while we’re there…” mode.  In case you weren’t aware, it is summer, especially in Texas, and Texas brings the heat.

So.  Much.  Heat.

The high was around 100 for just about every day we were there, and my mother kindly pointed out on Friday that the only place hotter in the world at the moment was Iraq.  So that’s cool.  Or hot.  You know what I mean.  I tried to get out a little on the earlier side, but you must remember that I worked six night shifts in a row before heading to Texas, so my version of “earlier” was anywhere from 7:30-9am. 

photo 1 (14) Look!  The sun was coming up!

At least it wasn’t noon, but the heat was already coming in at that time…not that it ever really went away.  Eric’s mom lives by Grapevine Lake and this lovely (paved) trail that was convenient for running and not getting lost. 

photo 2 (18) The trail.  I’d call it a path.

I ran the three days we were there, and it was rough.  Things to note:

THE HEAT

The air just felt so thick and without a breeze, it’s just stifling.  Even stopping in the shade, which I did many times, offered no relief.  I was easily covered in sweat from head to toe.  At one point, I stopped to use a bathroom along the way, which was even hotter on the inside.  Only when I came out did I feel momentarily cooler…but I still had sweat beads rolling down every part of my body.  It didn’t help that although the trail was lined with trees, it wasn’t really shaded.  The sun is hot.

what’s with all the black??

The trail was never too busy, and I definitely saw more people walking or biking rather than running.  (Maybe the runners were smart and got out early early?)  However, so many of the runners that I passed were wearing all black.  Black shorts, black shirt/tank top.  I felt even hotter just looking at them.  Maybe I’m missing something, but I’d think to wear lighter colored clothing for a smidgen of relief.  And yes, some people were running in those black capris that I mention every now and then.  If you want to be hot in 80 degrees wearing them…okay, fine.  But 90+?  Reaching 100?  Oof, my friends.

hot water

I carried my Camelbak Arc Quik Grip water bottle with me, which carries 10 ounces of water – small enough that I don’t get annoyed carrying it and large enough to get me from water fountain to water fountain.  Although I filled it up with cool water, it warmed up quick.  I got excited when I came across my first water fountain, hoping for some cold water.  NOPE.  It was warm and highly disappointing.  The twitter runners of the world mentioned that some people carrying frozen handheld water bottles.  This would have been a much better option.

friendly people

Most people I passed, whether they were running, walking, or biking, gave a nod or “hello!” or “good morning!” when passing.  Perhaps I’m just used to the unfriendliness of NYC, but it’s nice when people say hi.  Sometimes I felt like I barely had the energy to say hello back, but other times I found myself initiating the hello.

slowing down is the way to go

My first run was definitely run – I barely managed an 8:05 pace and felt like a slug.  (It probably didn’t help that I was running on little sleep after completely flipping my schedule and traveling.)  For the next couple runs, I made a conscious effort to slow down the pace and averaged about 8:20-8:25 instead.  I felt better mentally when I didn’t get worked up about the pace, and I know that the heat slows you down anyway.  Just getting through the runs was good enough for me.

i don’t know how you southern runners do it

Sara recently moved to Mississippi and told me how the heat/humidity is awful.  While it sounded bad, experiencing it made it much more real!  I really can’t imagine running in that for months each year.  I know we complain about the long, cold winter up north, but I really think it is better than the super heat.  At least you warm up once you get going, unlike the heat where you can never cool off.  (Side note:  I was told not to call Texas “the South” because they are their own entity.  Alright then.)

gravevine loves to tell people they’re in grapevine

Perhaps this goes with the “Texas is not the South” situation, but I swear I saw eight million signs telling me that I was in Grapevine.  The entrance to the trail, random markers on the trail, the water tower (I’ll give that one a pass), every single gate at the park I came across.  I certainly was never confused about where I was!

the heat

Did I mention that it was hott?  Oof.  New York feels like a cool front now.  But seriously, props to you runners in the southern region of the country, that was mighty rough.

How hot is it where you’re running?  How do you survive this heat?

12

08 2014

the end of night shift

This one deserves a giant picture and few words.  My last night shift sunrise!  After just under four years watching the sun rise to signal the end of my shift, I finally get to head over to the land of the living.  At least the sun setting on day shift is just as pretty!  Day shift, you’re mine all mine.

But first, a nap.

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06

08 2014