Running quote of the week

“I love track running. There’s something about that red 400-meter circle that lets my brain switch off—no roads to cross, no bikes to watch out for.” – Kate Carter

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bugs, sun, hiking and running

Mislead by the map, much more to the east
Yesterday's activity (Stillwell Woods hike): 2.2 miles
Today's run (street): 4.4 miles

Surprise! It's hot in July
Despite the popular idiom, it really is the heat (but the humidity doesn't help). People talk about the heat like it's some sort of unusual phenomenon, but every July it's just like this. Today's temperature should get close to 100° F, so I got outside relatively early. Even at 7:50 AM, the thermometer was edging towards 80°.

Yesterday was equally hot, so after a morning of working from home, my son and I headed over to Stillwell Woods for a hike. A midday hike on a hot summer's day may sound like torture, but we knew that the tree canopy would keep the sun off our heads. For the most part, that was true, but we didn't count on the clouds of bugs that we encountered as we moved deeper into woods.

Despite the heat, gnats and occasional hard climbs, we had a great time looking for the elusive Ewok Forest section on Stillwell. I used Endomondo to record our hike and I referred to its real-time map a few times to help locate our position. The simple graphics on the map led me to believe that we were further east into the woods than we really were, so we never reached our intended destination.

My son did a great job tracking our direction and, when were ready to go, his compass skills led us straight back to our stating point. We headed home and cooled off in the pool with my wife and daughter. Our serenity was interrupted when a town worker in a lift truck surprised us by swinging over the tree line to trim around some adjacent telephone lines. Surprise!

I took it very easy on this morning's run. I briefly considered turning off the GPS so that I wouldn't track my pace. I tend to be self-competitive when I know I'm being recorded and I didn't want to move too fast in increasingly warm conditions. I ended up recording it, but I didn't look at my time until the end.

I needed to keep reminding myself that pace didn't matter, and that this workout was just about maintenance miles on an extremely hot and humid morning. The run never felt hard but I was glad to end it. I'm pleased that I put in a few miles today and I'll look forward to some easier activities in the pool this afternoon. Before too long, the T-storms will be here to finally cool things off.

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