Friday, July 29, 2011

It's So Hot Hot Hot!

Running this week has been a struggle. Marathon training is kind of a gamble...if you run a spring marathon you have to worry about snow during training, where I live, and then worry about an unexpected hot race day that you're not ready for. If you run a fall marathon in most parts of the country you have to deal with the heat and humidity during training but, it could pay off with a cooler race day.

After the tri on Sunday, which I still haven't done a post on, I decided to take Monday and Tuesday off. It seemed to be a good idea since my muscles were a little sore at times. Wednesday night I ran about 6 miles after dark with the temperature around 85 degrees and a lower humidity. I made it through this run without issue and only 20 ounces of water. Last night was a different story...I decided to bike for 30 minutes since I didn't want to wait until after dark to start working out so, I ventured to Hains Point for a few loops. Then I threw on my running shoes and headed towards The Mall. At this point, the sun had gone down but it was still 90 degrees with 70% humidity making it feel like 143 degrees for someone who is walking. ( I was pretty soaked by the third mile and had filled my water bottle once already and finished it. The plan was to run to the Lincoln Memorial and down The Mall to the front of the Capitol and back. This loop is around 4.25-4.5 miles if you run down Consitition until you get past the Washington Monument. By mile 4 my shoes were squishing wet and I needed a refill. I'm glad I decided to turn back before The Capitol since I finished my water again before the next water fountain.

After all was said and done I ran about 4.5 miles, walked .75 miles and drank maybe 60 ounces of water.

Pre-run weight: 252.8
Post-Run weight: wasn't even running for an hour.

With a 13, maybe 14 mile run tomorrow it'll be interesting to see how much weight I loose.

Monday, July 25, 2011


As everyone knows it’s hot outside and you need to stay hydrated, especially while running, biking and even swimming. The body cools itself by sweating and if you don’t know how this works, here you go...The maximum amount of sweat a person can produce is about 1 litre per hour. Sweat glands release water and salt in an attempt to cool the body by removing excess heat through heat vaporization. This heat energy increases the speed of the water molecules so that they can escape into the air. Typically, all of the sweat does not evaporate, but rather runs off your skin. In addition, not all heat energy produced by the body is lost through sweat. A major factor that influences the rate of evaporation is the relative humidity of the air around you. If the air is humid, then it already has water vapor in it, probably near saturation, and cannot take any more. Therefore, sweat does not evaporate and cool your body as efficiently as when the air is dry.

Another factor effecting the body during exercise is your heart rate. The body produces sweat when it starts to heat up from exercise. Blood is sent to the skin which increases your heart rate since your heart must work to pump the blood to the skin, muscles and brain. When it is hot out more blood will be sent to your skin than normal for sweating. Your heart will work harder to do this and will lead to a higher heart rate than normal. This means less blood is going to your muscles and to your brain, which is why you'll feel weak and dizzy or disoriented if you get too hot.

The whole thing gets worse if you don't drink enough water. Your body loses a lot of moisture through sweating, and if you don't have enough water coming in to replace that lost water, you'll get dehydrated. Once dehydrated, your body has less fluid available to produce more sweat, your body will get hotter still, and the whole thing escalates.
When you become deydrated your body will stop sweating and may lead to heat exhaustion. You skin might feel cool to the touch and you could become nauseated, have a headache or feel dizzy. If this happens, stop running, get into the shade and find some water.

It’s difficult to say how much water one needs while running in the heat since everyone is different. It’s a good idea to drink more than normal and try to exercise early in the morning or late at night. Don’t drink too much water or you’ll run into Hyponatremia which is the body being oversaturated and not having enough salt based on a water/salt ratio.

I have a little experience with dehydration while training. I weigh about 250 lbs and was running 18 miles last summer. I started at 6am and during the last 5 miles the heat index must have been over 100 degrees before 9am. I felt relatively fine but noticed my arms were completly dry and sweat had stopped dripping of the brim of my hat. I still had 3 miles to go. As soon as I noticed I stopped running and found a water fountain and filled up my camelbak. (I normally run with a camelbak on any run over over 6 or 8 miles depending on the temperature.) That day I had filled the 50-60oz reservior (still can’t figure out how much it actually holds) 2 times and had almost finished it when I stopped sweating. This was on top of the 25-30oz of gatorade I drank at the club’s water stop. I had been running for a little over 2.5 hours at this point, drank 120 ounces of water/gatorade and still stopped sweating. I managed to make it back to the start without any problems but, I think it took me until later that night to become properly hydrated again.

The best way to judge how much water your body loses is to weigh yourself before and after running. If you can keep track of how much water you drink you’ll be able to figure out how much water you’re losing during running. I don’t think it’s necessary to try drinking enough water during the run so that you weigh the same since you can recover the water in the hours following the run.

So, if you weighed 200 pounds before the run and weigh 197 pounds after your run and drank 32 ounces of water along the run, your body probably lost 5 pounds (80 ounces) of water during the run.

It’s a little more difficult to tell how much you’re actually sweating while biking since you generally have a nice breeze.

Sweating while swimming is probably overlooked by most people since it’s difficult to tell you’re sweating. Yeah, the water is generally cooler than your body temperature but, most pools (the ones I’ve been to) are kept at 82-84 degrees which can feel hot after 30-45 minutes of swimming. One of my friends swam at an outdoor pool for a master’s swim here in DC last week and the water temperature was around 90 degrees. He said people were getting out of the water, between sets, to cool down and even hugging metal poles since the poles were cool.

Drink up

Monday, July 18, 2011

STL and The Big Shark Tri


Since my g/f lives in St. Louis and I was going to see her this past weekend, I figured I’d see if there was a triathlon…and there was. It’s sort of in between a sprint and an oly…1k Swim, 20 mi bike, 4 mi run.

I took a flight to STL a few days before and decided to use my Garmin on the plane. It was pretty interesting. On the way there we were around 500 MPH at 29,500 feet and 560 MPH at 36,000 feet on the way back. For some reason it didn’t save the flight there but here are some pictures from the flight back.


I didn’t feel like packing up my bike or shipping it there when I could rent a bike from the Trek Store for $40. Seemed like a great deal for a Madone 5.3…a bike worth $2,000 more than mine. After riding it, I definitely regret not shelling out more for a bike. I took the bike out for a spin the night before the race to see how everything was working. It turned out to be a very good decision since the crank arm was not tight and it came loose and I slammed my foot into the ground. This would have been horrible if it happened during the race.

After fixing the bike and keeping myself from throwing the bike through the store’s window in the middle of the night we were off to the race the next morning. It’s an interesting place to have a race, it’s in the middle of a giant neighborhood that’s supposed to be like a little town. Inside the neighborhood there are shops, restaurants, churches, pools and even a town hall and of course the lake/pond we were swimming in.

We got there about an hour before the race and I listened to the annoying announcer while I set up transition. “Why do we have to do this?” “Because we said so. That’s the only answer you need.” Although I was happy they were threatening to give out 2 minute penalties to anyone having someone accompany them into the transition area.

I hung around with the g/f for awhile before the race and then got in line for the numbers in order time trial start. The numbers were by age group, unless you signed up late, then you’d be at the back. The start went very quickly with 3 seconds between each person. I’d hate to be the guy saying “3..2..1..go!” 750 times. That would get old.

The swim was surprisingly easy. I never ran into anyone but I seemed to get passed by a decent number of people. Everyone seemed to be swimming 50 feet or so from the buoys so I just swam right in line unimpeded the whole way.

I’m in the white cap.


The swim took me 22 minutes which was a little longer than I though it would take and T1 was slow as usual.

The bike was the best part of the race for me. I could easily hold 22-25 mph on the flat course until the last 4 or 5 miles when there was a wicked headwind. The course was 20 miles and I finished in about 58 minutes. There isn’t much to say about the course other than I passed a lot of people, a few people passed me…only one woman.


Only bike pic.


The run was the worst part of the race. When I got off the bike the computer said 89 degrees but it probably felt like 105. I managed to keep a 9:45 pace for the 1st mile but after that it was run walk. I was in heaven when I reached the cold sponges. It’s not like it mattered since they only helped for about 10 seconds. A lot of people had sprinklers spraying in the street, that was a nice treat…It’s too bad the whole neighborhood didn’t do it.


The rest of the race involved me grabbing two sponges at each water station and putting one in my hat and one down my back. P7100044\

This was the last turn before the finish…notice the sponge in the back. I’m really glad I kept it. I spent 5 minutes at the finish line dunking the sponge in the water and pressing it on my head. It took forever to cool down.

There was a great buffet at the finish, sandwiches, cookies and pasta salad. I spent about 30 minutes eating and drinking packed up transition and walked back to the car. We were going to stick around for the awards but, after thinking about sitting in the hot sun for another 30 minutes it was an easy decision to turn the AC on in the car and head home.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

No Red and Fireworks

Saturday was the second time I’ve made it to the long runs with the Marathon Training program. It went much better than last week. Even though I still felt fine after I was urinating blood, the smart thing to do was stop…so I did. This weekend was much better, no red after the run. I’m still not sure about the distance, Mr. Garmin says just under 13 miles but mapmyrun and gmap both say 14 miles for the identical route. It was through a lot of trails so it’s possible it lost it’s signal and didn’t adjust the distance. Some of my miles are a little slow but they did involve walking up some steep hills.

For the 4th the G/F and I decided to ride down to the Potomac and watch fireworks! This turned out to be a great idea since the roads were packed. The Mt Vernon Trail from Crystal City to the 14th St or George Mason Bridge…(did you know this is the actual name of the bridge? A little trivia) was PACKED! I don’t remember the last time I’ve said “on your left" that many times. It was about a 3.5 mile ride with the ride back being even worse. We had to walk for a bit since no one was willing to move. The show only lasted 15 minutes, good thing we didn’t drive. It would have taken an hour at the least to get home.


I also noticed this in Men’s Health…I was reading the new one and my roommate happened to have a copy from 2009 in one of the bathrooms…

7 days8 Days

First pic is 2009, second is the current issue. I guess they figured out 7 days isn’t enough time to see results.

This weekend is the King Orthopedic Big Shark Triathlon outside of St. Louis, MO. Strangely, I’ll be renting a better bike than I currently own. Hopefully I’ll be able to refrain from buying a new bike when I get home.