I've had many a summer run, and if you're bothering to read this you probably have, too. You know, those days when the humidity is crushing and it just feels hard to breathe out there. I'm fond of saying that on days like that it feels like I should be running in scuba gear.
That just wasn't going to cut it today. Today was more like this:
I've had (by my modest standards) a great summer of running so far. I had eight 10-mile runs in June and 3 of 10 or more in July in just this first week of July. I had zero runs of 10 or more miles between the first week of May last year (Broad Street Run) and October. But, this is the first summer where I'm training for the Philly Marathon rather than the half, so for the first time in my "career" I'll need to get longer runs than that in July, August, and September. (My total mileage might not increase much, since I'm going try to follow the mileage plan a little more strictly than I followed my last one, where I on average ran one fewer time per week than called for but lengthened all my midweek runs.) 10 miles won't cut it.
I never felt like I had it, whatever it is, today and crashed after 7 miles out of an intended 10. I'm not too worried. Weather.com said there's an air quality warning today, and I did feel like my breathing was as good as usual. Also, I was long overdue for a bad run. I do think I need to try something new to make these summer runs more enjoyable. I really like running at night, but the volume of bugs in the air at night makes that seem gross in the summer, and it's not that much cooler or less humid than it is in the morning, so it's probably not worth it to eat a pound of bugs.
I'm already pushing my limits of getting up early, but perhaps getting up a little earlier and doing at least my long runs on the rail trail, where there's some shade and maybe more of a breeze (maybe?) will make these summer runs a little more bearable. Maybe bringing the Shuffle back will at least distract me from how gross I am.
Or, I'll just have to grin and bear it and hope it pays off in November.
After getting several recommendations to try a visor for sun protection w/o the heat of running in a hat, I bought a white Reebok Playdry visor from Dick's Sporting goods, where it was labeled as being on sale for $7.49 and then rung up as costing less than $4.00. (Original price: $16.00) I believe it was so heavily discounted because it was the 2010 model. It seemed to be identical to a 2011-labeled visor, which was also discounted but not as deeply. They had Reebok visors available in black and reflective yellow, although I think only the one I grabbed was marked down as much. I love baseball caps, but visors aren't a good look for me, so I wasn't too worried about aesthetics. Lightweight, light-colored, supposedly moisture-wicking, and not too expensive were my selection criteria. That said, I own many pieces of goofy-looking running gear, and I don't think my new visor is among them.
I wore it on my run today and it didn't make things worse. That may not sound like a glowing endorsement, but from someone who hates running in the heat as much as I do and (sorry to be gross) sweats as much as I do from my head, that is pretty high praise for headwear. It certainly didn't make me feel less disgusting, but it was definitely an improvement over running with sunglasses, which always make my face feel much hotter. Hopefully the visor will let me get my face and eyes some sun protection without making me feel hotter. We'll see how it does on a less hazy day with brighter sunshine.
I've been meaning to occasionally do some product reviews here in hopes that I'll eventually get some free gear to test (at least I'm honest, right?), so if the visor performs especially well or turns out to be a cheap piece of crap that doesn't last a week, I'll be sure note that here. If it helps, it's one of the best bargains I've ever gotten and probably would have been worthwhile at $16. If it doesn't, at least I didn't pay full price!