Friday, June 20, 2008

Heat training: at last

Yes, 99 Farenheit, at last! This is a strange situation: I am not particularly found of heat, I actually prefer cold weather and my skin is not handling the sun very well. I am also very concerned with Global Warming. But, these days, I was hoping the temperatures would rise as high as possible to give me a chance to get acclimated to the heat before Western States.

I went for a run at lunch time on Monday but the temperature was around 75F (24C). Ran at the track with Bob on Tuesday morning, at dawn, then at Rancho again later in the day when the temperature had raised to 85F (29C). Had lunches on Wednesday and Thursday and ran again at Rancho on Friday, finally in a decent heat (96F / 36C), and no breeze. With two layers of my warmest winter gear and black running tights on, that started looking like running in the Western States canyons.

On Saturday, record temperatures were forecast again. I went at Rancho with Max at mid day and the temperature got to 100F (38C) which provided some insight to Max for what to expect after Foresthill on the way down to the river (Max will pace me from Foresthill to Rucky Chucky). Again, two layers of black and warm running gear provided another good sweat and prepared my body and mind for next Saturday.

At last, above 99F (37.2C), the title of the French movie Betty Blue, hence the above picture...

I cannot believe how lucky we are we the weather here: I wished for some heat and here it comes, just in time. Gone during the night so we can still have a good sleep. And gone this Sunday when I'm done with running and all set for a good week of tapering. The Bay Area is such a unique place!

While I'm on the heat training topic, Scott (Dunlap) was telling me the other day at Mount Diablo about other techniques he had heard about:
  • Hal Korner jogging in place for one hour in a sauna;
  • Graham Cooper racing Mount Diablo last year with several black layers on and a hat;
  • Turning the heat on while driving your car.
I tried the second technique this year, plus the spa often (104F) and not putting the air conditioning on in the car even when temperatures got above 100F; we will see how it works and goes. I realize that last year was exceptional at Western Sates with no snow and reasonable temperatures in the canyons (in the 90s). I'm not sure what to expect this year but I feel much better acclimated to heat than I was in the middle of the winter when running the Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica.

See the lucky ones enrolled in Western States this Thursday (raising of the flag) and Friday (check-up and briefing). 'Till then, have a great tapering. And, for the others, see you on the Western States webcast (bib #44) for near real-time tracking!

Farther, Faster...

PS: and you think I am crazy? Check out what runners will do this July again for the Badwater 135-mile. My ultraholic buddy Alan (Giraldi) was training there this weekend in 120F (49C)! No shade, no breeze, just the sole of your shoes melting on the black road. Yes, there is always something further in ultra (and more insane, I concede...).


Scott Dunlap said...

Sounds like you are ready to roll. I was in NYC last week, running down the hot city streets in full black garb. You know when New Yorkers give you a funny look, you must be REALLY odd.

Let's hope it helps! See you at the start...


Dave - Atlanta Trails said...


I want to wish you the best of luck at WS! You are going to do great! I'll be following along

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Aside from the heat training, I think you're far better prepared than last year, plus the experience of having run it once. I think you could be the fast underestimated top comepetitor. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Dear Western States Runners,

It is with deep regret that we announce today that the 35th running of the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run has been cancelled, due to the unprecedented amount of wildfires that have struck northern California in recent days and the health risks that have been associated with these wildfires.