My Hot Weather Running Mantra

“At least it’s not Death Valley.” 

desert road

photo credit: Jonathan Kos-Read via photopin cc

Badwater has been on my mind lately.  I recently watched Running On the Sun, a documentary about the 1999 running of the Badwater Ultramarathon.  Coincidentally, I am also currently reading To the Edge by Kirk Johnson, a memoir about a New York Times journalist’s own attempt at running Badwater (which strangely enough takes place the same year that the documentary was filmed). And, of course, this year’s race took place just a couple of weeks ago.

For those of you that don’t know, Badwater is an ultramarathon of epic proportions.  135 miles through the hottest place on earth, in the middle of summer, from the lowest of low points in the Valley to the highest of highs at Mt Whitney, it is an endurance run of legend.

All of this focus on Badwater has seriously given me a whole new outlook on summer running.  When I’m out for a few good miles in 90 degree heat and glaring sun, with sweat dripping, skin sizzling, and hot air cycling through my lungs, I just tell myself, “At least it’s not Death Valley.”

It has a way of putting things into perspective.

When Heat Hits: Making the Most of the Treadmill

I know I’m not alone in this.  The heat in some parts of the US has been brutal of late.  I’m originally from Arizona, so to be fair, I think I can cope in the heat a bit better than many of my fellow Portlanders who are natives or are from other, cooler parts of the world.  With that said, I wasn’t a runner when I was in Arizona, so navigating that part of my life in the heat is new for me.

Because of all this, I had my sad face on for most of Wednesday, knowing that an outdoor run was probably not the best option for me.  By the time I got home from work and laced up, it was just about 100 degrees with moderate humidity and a brutally bright sun.  So I headed to the treadmill at my apartment building.


I haven’t run on a treadmill in many months and I’ve gotta’ say that I really missed being outdoors, but I decided to make the most of it.   I was due for some speedwork so I had serious purpose.  Now, I haven’t yet been able to save enough to buy the oh-so-dreamy Garmin Forerunner that I want, so typically when I do speedwork, it’s all estimated.  Without a tool to accurately measure my splits and pace, I wing it.  For example, I use the number of blocks I run as a measure of my speed intervals versus recovery intervals.

So yesterday I figured that if I was going to resign myself to the treadmill, I could at least do a more precise speedwork session!

I believe this is commonly referred to as making lemonade out of lemons.

Right?  I think that’s right.  I mean usually I would just squeeze the lemons into some gin or whiskey, but that’s another blog post entirely.

Anyway, back to the tale of the treadmill.  I knocked out 4.1 miles, with intervals ranging between 8:00 miles and 9:06 miles.  My primary running goals right now are about endurance and stamina, but I’ve got to admit that seeing myself get faster is pretty damn satisfying in its own right.  It certainly made the treadmill more palatable – though I am looking forward to my long, early morning run in the cooler air on Saturday.  Nothing beats that.