Friday, July 10, 2009

Lazy hazy hot & humid days of summer

Here in Houston we are knee deep in relentlessly hot weather. Even after nearly 20 years here, it is still disconcerting to walk out of the back door at 0700A in the morning, smack into a sauna-like 80F with 85% relative humidity. Today's weather forecast looks pretty ominous, but we're almost used to it: "Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 100. Heat index values as high as 109. South wind between 5 and 15 mph."

So what do runners do in weather like this? Go for a run, of course. Which is what Kathleen and I did last night, doing 4 X 800 meter 'Yasso' repeats, with an easy 400 meter in between, at Reagan High School in the Heights, with a few Houston Strider club mates. Complete with 1 mile warm up (hah!) and 1 mile 'cool down' (as if). I was pretty inconsistent, completing the 800's in 3:42, 3:35, 3:32 and 3:22, respectively. Of course seasoned runners know about Bart Yasso's theory that if you can do 10 X 800 meters (each) in 3 minutes and 30 seconds on the trot, with 400 meter recovery intervals, then you should be able to run a 3hr 30 minute marathon. Or if you can do 10 Yasso 800's in 4 minutes each, a 4 hr marathon would be a reasonable target time. And so on. Of course you would have to do the appropriate marathon buildup with long runs, relatively high weekly mileage, etc.

For the time being, running marathons is just a fading memory for me. We're all about the 5K right now and my next goal is to go sub 21 minutes. It likely won't happen until the Fall, when cooler air makes it down here from Canada. Right now that seems so far in the future I don't even want to think about it. For the longer term, thinking about a sub-20 minute 5K is probably quixotic, in fact I think it definitely is. Like winning the lottery, nice to think about fleetingly but then you remember that you still have to pick up after the dogs.

PS: All went well with the dermatologist. No big lectures or anything, just a reminder to use some sunscreen on the very top of the old noggin, which is nowadays more like scorched earth than lush meadow.


Billy Burger said...

YOWZA. I can't imagine trying to just function in that kinda weather, let alone run track intervals!

Keep chasing that sub-21 Bert. I know you've got it in ya.

Vava said...

Wow, that is HOT! Nice repeats nonetheless. I figure you can probably shave 10-20s off of those splits due to the heat. And the idea of a "cool down" is hilarious!

And also thanks for the comment/question on my blog. I neglected to post the HR stats in the post (using the IPhone makes posts shorter and more to the point), but after looking at these the average HR for the tempo portion of my run ended up at 161.5bpm. Based on my theoretical max of 185bpm (given that I'm 35 years old) this translates to 87% of max. I am not sure how to calculate Heart Rate Reserve, but I think I was on target with this run even if the last few clicks shot my average up a bit. It was also getting warm out while I was running, but nothing like what you have to cope with down in Houston, and that had something to do with me feeling a bit gassed towards the end.


Amy said...

Glad the dermatologist went well - phew! And phew to the heat, too - my mom in Dallas is getting scorched too. Even getting up early to run doesn't really help. I am blessed with the Belgian weather right now!