Damp. Moist. Clammy. Those words describe me perfectly for hours after I run these day. August brings us dog days here in the south, and apparently, the dogs like it hot and humid. The kind of humid that means you’re never actually dry, no matter what time of day it is.
My man and I work about 10 days every month on the road together, much of those days spent outside, in convenience store/gas station parking lots. (We do compliance inspections for several companies around the state – long, boring story, but I do like the work.) He’s actually on the road without me another 10 or so days a month, so he’s in the heat all the time. I can stand the heat fairly well, and he does even better. Still, we’ve leaned that our aging bodies have to stay well hydrated when we sweat as much as we do, so we pour on the water, Nuun, and Powerade. We try to eat our water, too, although I’m better at that than he is. Probably because I have never met a meal I couldn’t learn to be friends with. I love the fruits of summer; watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes all help my rehydration process, so I eat them with abandon.
When I feel the worst is typically after a really hard week of work, runs, and playtime. Last week found me dragging by Friday, and my run that morning was unspectacular. It was short (two miles), and I was dragging and dripping at the end. I took a cold bath and drank lots of water with Nuun. Then, I took a nap. That’s how I knew I needed a rest day, so, even though my Saturday training plan called for my “long” run, I slept in, and took it easy all day. Well, I vacuumed. But, other than that, nada. Legs up, cool bath, lots of water with Nuun, some cukes and tomatoes, and, bingo. I was better by Sunday and had a very good, strong run.
Learning to listen when my body talks to me and know when its not lying has been a process. I still want to believe it when it tells me I’m too tired to run as my 5 am alarm goes off. More often than not, though, that’s a lie. I have to shut those voices down and make myself get up and head out the door. That’s when my strategy of having every item I’m putting on my body laid out the night before really comes in handy. If I have to dig for a sports bra, it ain’t happening.
My body grumbles for at least the first ten minutes, sometimes more on these hot, muggy mornings. Then, it punishes me afterward by not cooling off and making me sit in a puddle of sweat, even after a cold shower, drinking ice water, and with a fan. Like this morning. As I type this, sweat is sliding down my fingertips and causing me to have to stop and mop up the mess so my keyboard won’t stick, making the shower I took after my run an exercise in futility.
One thing I know, though. It will be cool again. Then, cold. And, my body will scream even more loudly when I make it get up and go run. I’ll cross that frosty bridge when I come to it.
For now, these dog days are making me stronger. I feel it in the way I’m moving, the way I feel after a run, the energy I have after a 12 hour day in the heat with my man. Got to love that. I don’t have it every day, but that’s how I can tell I’m due a rest day. And, maybe a cupcake.