When I ended up taking not one but two days off from exercise this weekend (in honor of my dad visiting, and also because our hot water was out and I didn't relish the idea of taking any more ffffreezing cold showers than I had to), I decided not to stress about it. The eating disordered side of me all set to flip over my apparent laziness, but I calmed the inner beast down. I knew what I was doing, after all -- I was gearing up for a run.
I haven't done much running since completing my first triathlon at the end of August 2009. At the tail end of my tri training I began to experience pain in my right hip, so I stopped running and tried to stay low impact with my workouts. Now that summer weather has finally decided to show its face here in western Montana, I've been itching to get sweaty out of doors. The dogs and I have gone on at least one serious hike per week, but the runner in me wanted more. So today, after two days off of exercise to get my joints and muscles extra fresh, I ran.
I'd like to say that the run was the most fun I've ever had in sneakers, or that it was pure bliss. The only thing I can say for sure, though, is that it was hard. I shouldn't be surprised. I ran a couple of weekends ago, and it was slow going. Today's four mile run was a bit faster as I averaged a 9:44/mile split, which is rather depressing compared to my running stats from last summer, but I'm not worrying about that too much. I am easing back into it and can't compare one of my first runs to one of the runs I've done while in top shape. Besides, there's no way I'd be able to run 5+ miles at a nine-minute-or-less pace straight off the bench (who could?), so I'm practicing feeling good about today's run. (Yes, practicing -- I've noticed that, even while I'm in recovery from anorexia, I must still continue to practice healthy behaviors.)
However, there is one not-so-nice aspect of today's run that I am not eager to repeat -- the heat. Silly me went out for an 11:00 AM run around a marshy trail loop that is more exposed to the blistering late morning sun than I remembered. A digital billboard displaying the temperature that I passed on the drive home informed me that it was 77*F. Oops. I think it's time to return to early morning exercise!
That said, I passed other runners who appear to be as crazy as me while driving home. By that time it was noon, and even hotter than when I began my jaunt. Do people like running in the pounding heat? The heat seriously hinders my performance, even when I am in peak physical condition. But maybe there are folks who seek out high temperature exercise. The Best Husband Ever, for example, would go out dressed in long sleeved black shirts and black pants back when he used to run.
I'll put the question to you -- what time of the day do you prefer to exercise, especially if you go for outdoor sweat sessions? Does the summer heat help or hinder you? What do you do to stay safe, hydrated, and sun stroke-free?