Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summertime, and the Livin's Sweaty

It's been a record-breaking, hot, humid mess on the East Coast lately. The Washington Post had an article this past weekend (when temperatures hit the triple digits) where half the people complained incessantly and half the people told everyone to suck it up and deal with it. The latter people even eschewed air conditioning. A fair warning: if you are one of the latter people, you can skip this post, because I consider myself strongly in the former category. I will admit I've gotten better over the years, but I hate being hot. It's the old standby, you can always put more clothes on, but you can't keep stripping layers off. Of course there are some good things about summer that I try my hardest to remember, because I'm sure I'll miss them when winter rolls around.

Pros and Cons of Summer Running:

1. Sunlight. Extra hours of sunlight makes running before work or after work so much more pleasant in the summer. Winter mornings are miserable and dark, and force you to wear ridiculous things like headlamps.

2. Cold water. It's obviously available year-round, but it's so much more delicious in the summer. There is absolutely nothing better than cold water after a hot workout. Splashed on your face, poured down your throat, it's simple and amazing. In that moment it's the best thing ever created. (Even better than Diet Coke.)

Summer breakfast = delicious!
3. Fruit. This isn't entirely running related, except that I started caring a lot more about eating healthy when I started running. And one aspect of that was eating more fruit, which isn't hard because fruit is delicious. All year long, my post run breakfast is yogurt with fruit on top, but in the winter I have to settle for frozen berries. In the summer it's fruit heaven. I go to the Farmer's Market near my apartment and load up. I could eat yogurt topped with fresh fruit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it's so delicious.

1. Sweat. I'm a heavy sweater; you only have to go on one run with me (in any season!) and I'll prove that. When I start running, the sweat goes flying off my body in every direction. (I will say that sweating while running is much more enjoyable then just standing around sweating waiting for the bus or in line at the Farmer's Market loading up on fruit. When there's a purpose to it, and an excuse for it, it's not as bad.) I arrive home from even a relatively easy run completely soaked, and there's always a moment where I seriously wonder if I will ever cool down again.

2. Sunlight. I'm a mix of Irish, English, and Scottish ancestry, a.k.a. pale as a ghost. When summer rolls around there are three options: (1) Stay inside, (2) look like a tomato (the one fruit I don't like), or (3) apply layer after layer of sunscreen. Sunscreen and running don't mix well, but it's a must. Once the sweat starts (immediately), it mixes with the sunscreen into a pasty white (even more pasty white than my skin) goop that makes you feel even hotter and sweatier and more ready for the shower. It's completely unpleasant and makes you ache for cooler days with less punishing UV rays. (Completely unsponsored product plug: Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunblock Spray is clear and light and not as bad as other sunscreens. The one problem is I always feel like I have half a bottle left but can't get any more out. So it's a bit of a rip-off, but worth it.) 

3. Weekend mornings. To most people weekends are for sleeping in. To runners, weekends are for long runs. When really long runs get combined with really hot days, it can mean getting up and getting the miles started earlier than you would on a weekday. You wake up that early, and guess what? It's still hot. I'm not running those kind of miles at the moment (I'm skipping a fall marathon this year), so perhaps that's why I'm not complaining as much as past years. (Hey, this list could be a lot longer.)

There is one common thread between running in winter or summer. (Spring and fall, ideal running seasons, don't fit in this debate.) If you run in the extreme cold, or even moderate cold that DC feels, people think you're crazy. If you run in the extreme heat, or the humidity fest that DC feels, people think you're crazy. Even before headlamps and sunscreen goop dripping everywhere gets factored in. The thing is, hot or cold, I kind of like being a crazy runner. 

Dream big and stay cool,


  1. It is not all that bad. Are you running a winter or early spring marathon?

  2. Yea, this summer has been pretty okay until last weekend. I'm hoping to do a spring marathon.