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Posts from the ‘Triathlon Training’ Category

Spring Training (Or: Why You Want to Run a Marathon, Today)

I often start these posts talking about the weather.  Today is no exception.  This morning, I donned a rain jacket, capris, and a single, lovely, long-sleeved tech shirt for a nordic trek with a friend.  It was a crisp 40 degrees in Chicago, and the clouds never parted.  We got spit on, my shoes got wet, and two hours after the walk, my quads were still cool with the wet cold of a rainy morning. 

And I loved it.

Why? Because spring is here, and there were hundreds of people chugging along the lakefront path here in Chicago this morning, getting ready for their next (or first) big race.  The Chicago Endurance Sports group was out in force, training people for the upcoming 1/2 marathon in Door County.  The Chicago Area Runners Association groups were out, too, rumbling along on the path, prepping for their spring races.  And there were lots of couples out today – channeling the slightly frightened look of people who haven’t run outside all winter, and who just realized that the Shamrock Shuffle (an 8k with a whopping 40,000 registrants) is taking place next weekend, and that they maybe, just maybe, should get outside and try a few laps.

In short, it was exuberant, wet, sloppy fun today on the path, and just like when the pitchers and catchers report for spring training, there was a feeling in the air.   You can see it in the looks on the people you pass on days like today – a short nod, and an acknowledgement, that yes, the weather’s not perfect, but “LOOK AT ME! I’m out here! I”m running like a fool in the rain and AINT IT GRAND???” 

Of course, there’s some misery, too.   There was one poor girl in shorts (wind, honey, it will kill you on days like today), her legs red and raw.  And there were some hot, hot men out there, overdressed in thermal tights with rain jackets, winter hats, and gloves (not over 40 degrees, folks!)  But mostly, everyone looked determined, and excited.  Like they knew what was coming.

So what was I doing today?  Simple. I was catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in forever.  She joined me for a nice, hour + walk, dodging puddles and catching up.  We talked about the blossoming success of her new small business; the difficulty in getting yourself motivated to get out there when things are tough; and the people we had in common.  Oh, and dating.  The best part about walking or running with a friend is a roundup of your favorite dating activity (at least if you’re a girl) and at the end of our walk, we had some laugh-out-loud moments about what it takes to find a good guy – and how we might tackle that topic next weekend.

I’d imagine that things look somewhat different at the Cubs Spring Training camp in Mesa, but what do I know?  Maybe the pitchers spend all their time talking about hangnails and hammy pulls, and the catchers just talk about what they did with their knees in the offseason.  But I’d bet they also have that little kid excitement that we have when the weather turns – that sense that it’s spring, and anything can happen if we just set our minds to it.

I know that’s how I’ve been feeling lately, and today just confirmed it for me.  So, given that optimism, it’s a good time to share my events calendar for the year with you.  Sometimes, people wonder if I just talk a lot about running and walking and all these other sports – but alas, I’m the real deal – and this spring, I’ve set my sights on some great events to keep me motivated. 

As some of you may know, last year I developed a lovely case of “athletic pubalgia” – aka – sports hernia, among other things – after the Rock n’ Roll 1/2 marathon in Arizona in January.  I ran for awhile afterwards, thinking it would resolve on its own, and it didn’t. Shocking.  I turned to triathlon training late last year, and only in August, when I really couldn’t run without pain, did I finally give in and see the doc.  Since then, I’ve been (gasp) running-free.  I’ve done some PT, I’ve walked, I’ve snowshoed, swam, nordic walked, and done lots of core strengthening, but even now, I’m nursing a nagging injury to my left foot, and am going to take care of that before I start to run again.  In the meantime, I’ve booked a few things to keep me going. 

If you’re looking for an event, or are planning to do any of the events listed below, drop me a line! I’d love to meet up and see you in person!

Pirate’s Cove Trail Run (8k) –  March 20.  Golden Gate National Recreation Area, near San Francisco, CA.  March 20.  I’ll be hiking this 8k with my friend and her husband!  It’s my excuse to get to San Fran to do some exploring, and the course looks beautiful!

Door County Half Marathon & 5k  May 1.  (No, I’m not running the 1/2 marathon, just going to cheer, and to run/walk the 5k).  I’ll also be taking my bike and exploring the park on two wheels.  This will be my first run in 9 months, so I’m looking forward to it!

Little Red Riding Hood Ride – June 5.  Cache Valley, Utah.  One of my favorite readers, and a fine writer and inspirer to boot, Diane ( who’s an avid cyclist, told me about this ride.  She’s an organizer extraoridinaire and sang its praises, and who was I to judge?  The ride is non-competitive, takes place in Cache Valley in Utah, and it’s a women’s only, fully supported ride of a distance of your choosing (18, 35, 57, 80 and 100 mile options).  I’ll be riding with 3,000 other women in a gorgeous area, with “rollers” – no big climbs – to raise money for women’s cancer research.  And I’ll be completing my longest ride in about 4 years, which has me pretty excited.  I’m aiming for the 57 mile ride (I couldn’t do the 85 right now, I just know it) and my good friend Karen has committed to joining me for at least 30 miles.  Considering she last rode long on the hills of Italy, I’m prepared to get my butt kicked, but it should be good times.   I’m also looking forward to being part of such an amazing event in Utah, a state I’ve never spent any time in.  Look out, Utes!

Lifetime Fitness Triathlon - July 10 (TENTATIVE) – Minneapolis, MN.  This is a legacy race for me, and this year I’m considering adding it as my “A” triathlon (Olympic distance).  I’ll be one month removed from great bike shape, so this might be the perfect year for me.  I’m holding off on registration for one more month, but I love this course, so, worst-case scenario, I’ll be here, doing the Sprint. Best case: it will be the Olympic I didn’t get to do last year.  Lifetime’s also offering a Clydesdale/Athena category for the Olympic, so there’s a great chance to be compared against your peers!

The North Face Endurance Challenge, 10k Trail Run - September 18 – Kettle Moraine S.P., Wisconsin.  I watched my friend Jenny Hadfield run the Ultramarathon here last year, (though it was a month later) and I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the day and the cameraderie of the racers.  Sure, she made running over 30 miles look easy, but I was inspired, and I said to myself “next year, you’re doing this.”  “This” is “just” the 10k, which is a distance I think I’ll be pretty good at, come September.  The race last year was a great event, and I’m putting it on my calendar as my first-ever “real” trail run. 

Other than that, I’m not quite sure what’s on deck – but it’s a good start, right?

So, take a look at that schedule – and think about what you might want to do for yourself this spring – and summer.  Pick out a race for yourself, and make some goals.  Don’t be afraid to go all pitcher-catcher, and report for Spring. I  promise it will help keep you focused, and you’ll have a better 2010.

See you on the path!

Plan for Next Season – $99 Xterra Wetsuits

Well, it’s getting close to the end of the season, and that means one thing: we’re already thinking about next year.

If you’ve caught the tri bug this summer, you’re probably wondering what’s next.  Maybe you completed a Sprint this summer.  Maybe you caught the excitement of standing on a beach at dawn, waiting with hundreds, or thousands of other athletes, and realized “I’m one of them.”  Now you’re thinking about what it might take to keep playing.

As I’ve said here before, if you’re a plus-sized athlete (man or woman), finding gear can be hard.  And if you’re like me, until you know you’re in the sport to stay, you’re not going to invest in the gear.

So, assuming you’ve gone through one season of racing now (or maybe more than one) and are looking forward, you should take advantage of some late-season gear deals that you will NOT find for another year. 

Case in point: Xterra Wetsuits is offering a HUGE sale on their sleeved and sleeveless wetsuits.  But it only runs until September 1st.  So if you’re looking, now is the time to order.

Click HERE for more details and to order.

These prices are incredible. You can purchase a sleeveless Vortex 3 for $99.  This is simply because Xterra is not selling through retailers, and they can pass these savings on to us.

Can you afford NOT to buy a wetsuit for $99?  I can’t. I just bought a sleeveless AND a sleeved one, in sizes that will fit me, so I can continue swimming through the fall.  And I did it for under $275.

Sample pics and prices:

Sleeveless Vortex 3 - $99

Sleeveless Vortex 3 - $99

Sleeved Vortex 3 - $149

Sleeved Vortex 3 - $149

Vector Pro $250 Sleeveless

Vector Pro $250 Sleeveless

Vector Pro Sleeved $350

Vector Pro Sleeved $350

Wetsuit Rentals, After All.


I hate admitting I’m wrong, but sometimes, it has to be said. 

I thought that I could get through the entire training, and racing, of the Chicago Triathlon without a wetsuit.  Today, Mother Nature decided to deliver a beatdown to remind me just how wrong I was.

I met two friends from my training group this morning at 8 at the Ohio Street Beach here in Chicago.  We stared out at the water, thinking that surely those people who were just standing around, not swimming, were overreacting.

I mean, the water was a bit wavy, sure, but how cold could it be?  We had just swam on Wednesday night, and it was a balmy 65+ degrees.  They donned their wetsuits; I stripped to my bathingsuit. 

We got in.

It was the coldest water I’ve ever voluntarily swum in, save the Colorado River, which is fed from mountains, in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. There, at least, the heat of 110 in the Canyon balanced out the cold. Not so much here.

Add to that the waves – 3 feet at times – and we barely made it 100 yards before returning to shore, numb, shaking, and ready for a warm drink.

Did I mention it’s August?  That my race is 1 week away?  That I’ve trained all summer?  And that now, I didn’t think I could do 1 mile in that cold, without a wetsuit?

So yes, I started dialing for dollars.  I finally found nirvana at Element Multisport, a shop on Clybourn and Damen in Lincoln Park.  I know it mostly because it’s sandwiched between the Subway I hit up on my trips to Costco, and the Golfsmith where I gear up for that sport. 

From the outside, the store always looked intimidating.  It has $5,000 bikes in the window, and I wasn’t sure what I’d find inside.  But when I called to ask about the availability of an XXL wetsuit, they said they didn’t have any – but I thought they might have something else that worked.

From the minute I walked in the door, they helped me find the right suit.  In addition to purchasing a suit, they’re offering wetsuit rentals for the Chicago Triathlon, and they have men’s and women’s XLs.  After looking at a few options, and deciding nothing was likely to work, Chris (one of the gurus helping me out) pulled out a Zoot Fuzion, full-sleeved.  We looked at it, and thought it might fit.  It was an XL, but sure enough, after some Suit Juice (which helps to smooth the pulling-on part of that adventure), it went on like a dream.

When I walked out of the fitting room, sweating, and just a bit red, I looked at the three guys at the counter – Noel, Chris, and The Guy Whose Name I Didn’t Get.  Between the three of them, they were as surprised as I was, I think, that it fit – but it did!!!! 

I cannot express how relieved I am to have a suit for next weekend.  And I learned a really good lesson today – that going to a specialty retailer, like Element, who really only does this one thing, and does it well, can make a big difference in your season.

One other note: the Gang at Element was ready to search high and low for a suit that was going to fit me – calling around to anyone they could find on Monday.  In my real life, I work in the Client Service group for a large, large company.  If everyone who worked for us treated our clients as Chris and the gang treated me, we’d never lose a customer.  They were all the things we look for – patient, kind, knowledgeable, helpful, and efficient.

So if you’re in the need for some last minute help, advice, or gear, check out my new friends – your time will be well spent, I promise.

Element Multisport

Phone: 773-529-4TRI (4874)

Now, Discover Your Strengths

There’s a career book out there, written by two gurus from Gallup, which has a simple premise: instead of spending all your free time in your professional life trying to be better at what you suck at, focus instead on the things you do really well.  Then make sure that you’re choice of a job matches those strengths.

I found the book incredibly helpful when I was making a transition out of one type of consulting (and, turns out, into another) a few years ago.  But I thought of it again this week as I continued to train for the upcoming Chicago Triathlon.

After my recent escapades on the bike, and pacing the half marathon at RNR Chicago, I was thinking about how I’d rather be forced to sit in the Ghirardelli Chocolate shop and NOT eat chocolate than ride up a hill on a bike.  It’s about that bad.  My turnover gets lower as I start up the incline; my right hand madly shifts the gears on my uber-responsive bike; and yet I frequently find myself panting, heart redlining, as I approach the crest of a hill.

After the race in Minneapolis, I wrote Coach Mike and asked him for some advice.  I’m a big girl. I know that.  But I wanted to see if he had any magic bullets (or, better, hidden speed tips) to share with me about how to conquer the hills and make sure that I’m prepared for race day. 

Turns out, Coach Mike rolls like the Gallup guys do.  Essentially, he said, I could think of myself like a Tour de France rider – who creates speed with power and, um, other factors which are countered by how hard you have to work to overcome the weight you carry.  The higher your weight, the harder it is (relatively speaking) to bike.  I’m probably screwing up the sentiment, but Mike basically said this:  focus on keeping your effort light to get up the hills – don’t kill yourself.  Go over the crest with power.  And focus on your strengths.   In my case (and maybe in yours), that’s the flats, and the downhills.  

Turns out, Mike’s right.  Every time we’re out on a group ride, I slowly, but steadily, make my way up the uphill, usually getting passed by every Tom, Dick and Harry on two wheels.  But man, get me on a flat stretch or a part where there’s a downhill, and I can toast people – at least the ones on those Mary Poppins bikes.

So if you’re getting ready to ride your first race, and you’re nervous about the hills, don’t be.  Focus on what you do well – going downhill, and powering through those flat surfaces. A couple of other things that you might want to remember, too: if you’re clipped in, don’t wait till you can’t get your foot over the top of the crank to unclip – you’ll wind up as roadkill.   There’s a pretty, short, steep hill along the Mississippi on the Eastern edge of Illinois that probably still has a mark from the last time I made that mistake.

And don’t be afraid to walk that bike up a hill.  There is no shame in admitting that a crazy, steep, hill is not your thing.  Take a breath.  Enjoy the scenery.  Think about what you’re going to do when you get to the top.  But DO NOT beat yourself up for it.  Just accept it as part of your race, and keep moving.

Finally, ride your own race.  You are going to be surrounded by athletes, many who will be faster than you.  Some will be on a better bike.  Some will have fancy clothes.  None of them are you.  You have trained, and worked hard, to make sure you’re ready for your day – and if you find yourself gasping for breath in the first two miles of your bike ride, you will be miserable on the run.  So when you’re on the bike, hydrate, keep your breathing comfortably hard, and keep your chin up. 

That’s about it for my bike advice.   Remember your strengths….

See you on the path….

Falling for the Bike…Again…

I am not embarrassed to admit that I purchased my first road bike as a result of a bike crush.  That, and a need for speed.   When I first started doing triathlons, I did them on my old Trek Hybrid 700, which was fine, until the year I decided to do a 4 hour race.  I figured if I was going to spend hundreds of hours working out that summer, preparing to slog around an Olympic Tri course, I was going to take every advantage I could. 

That meant purchasing a gleaming, glistening, sexy, red and white Trek 1000.  I remember trying it out when my cousins were in town, riding it down an alley behind a local bike shop, trying to get over how different it felt to be on this spindly little thing – versus the Barcalounger that was my hybrid.  My hybrid bike had safe, thick tires, handlebars 8″ wider than my shoulders, and a seat that you could see under my cheeks.  This thing – this red and white, patriotic little thing – had teeny pedals, handlebars, and a seat that most surely would not be confused for “comfort”.

But I had an instant crush on this bike.  I adored that when I put my foot in the downstroke, the bike went for ten feet, instead of four.  I liked it so much, I bought it  – because it was “cheap” I told myself (at $550); and it was going to last me a long time.  It was an investment.  I could overlook its flaws (the handlebars were, in fact, too close together for my broad shoulders…the seat would have to be replaced…) – because I could fix it, right?

That bike and I lasted three years.  It was my first long-term relationship with an adult road bike, and it saw me through various triathlons, and a very long MS 150 (where I rode only 110 miles, but still, in two days, that felt like a lot).  Three years ago, spurred on by my friend Brian and the tales of the bike he was buying for his wife, I began to covet another.  I aimed within my means – no use lusting over a pricey bike I couldn’t afford – and found myself another Trek – a Pilot.  I told the man at the bike store that I wanted to feel less uncomfortable on it – that I wanted to be a bit more upright, a bit less of my weight on my hands – a bit less stretched out on the bike.  In short, I wanted to step into my new bike relationship and feel like I was dating the man I’d known for years.   He seemed to get it – (to be fair, I really said “no more pain”).   He gave me this bike to try – and I wept.  It has carbon stays (the things that hold the back tire to the bike) and a carbon seatpost, and carbon handlebars.  That carbon is the relationship equivalent of laughter.  It deadens the vibration from the road, so now, when I ride, and go over potholes and cracks in the pavement, and such, I dont’ feel like my teeth are going to vibrate out of my head (or like I’m going to cry that I have to ride 20 more miles.)    Of course, I had to get rid of the Trek 1000, but I found him a good home – a nice guy, who wanted to have a bike for his first race.  We bid a fond adieu in the alley one day, as I recouped 75% of my purchase price, to put down on the Pilot.  He lived to race another day.

The new bike and I had all sorts of adventures when I first bought it.  We went to Iowa when I took work trips.  We went riding on dates.  We took on the hills of Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine State Park.  But last year, I began falling out of love with it.    I took it out once or twice – when I was camping in Wisconsin – but other than that,  I couldn’t get on it.  I had mentally convinced myself that it was too good for me.  That I was unfit for it.   That I was too big, that it was too hard – that it was not comfortable.   I locked it away in the basement and didn’t take it out much at all.

The truth is, like any relationship, falling out of love isn’t about one thing – it’s usually about a lot of things.  In my case, it wasn’t the bike’s fault I had switched jobs, was commuting for four hours a day, and was pretty unhappy.  And as much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t see where getting on the bike was going to make me feel better.

This summer, I’m like a new person.  I left my old job in December, so I’ve had some time off.  That helps.  I also signed up for this BIG race, which is motivating.  But more than anything, I’m just happier.  Maybe it’s the exercise.  Maybe it’s this lovely community that’s starting to spring up around The Plus Runner.  Maybe it’s the new job, or the fact that I’m training with a group, or that I’ve stuck with my training plan (for the most part.)  But I’m finally starting to love the bike again.  It sits in my front hallway now, and I see it every day.  I make it easy to ride by keeping my gear in one place.  And we’re kind of starting to hang out together again. 

Let me be clear: two weeks ago, when I completed the Lifetime Tri in Minneapolis, we had a little tiff.  The hills made me angry, (it couldn’t have been my fault that I had skipped a few bike workouts, could it?)   But this past week, I rode twice with a new riding buddy.  And yesterday, when it was 94 degrees here, when I could have stayed inside and skipped the workout, I went out at 5:00 and rode 20 miles in the Forrest Preserve.  It was wet, and muggy, and dim – and it was deserted.  I had the path to myself as I rode North, and it was lovely!  (There aren’t many times when you can ride alone in Chicago on a weekend….this is one of them.)   And the bike didn’t say “I told you so” or “see, you don’t look fat in those bike shorts” – it just let me glide up and down the hills, ride through the trees, and enjoy the day.

I don’t know what happened yesterday.  Maybe it was all the training.  Maybe it was mental.  But I think I’m falling in love again with the bike.  So tonight, I’m going to go give the bike a little attention.  I’m going to oil the chain, clean off all the grit and grime.  I’ll tighten the cleats on my riding shoes.  And make sure my gear is clean for Tuesday, when I’ll head out to ride again.   Nothing like a rekindled relationship to make a girl happy, right?

See you on the path….

Faster would be nice.

One of the first things new triathletes start worrying about is surviving the swim.  Once they figure out they can actually survive it, they want to get faster.

I was thinking of this tonight as I did the first open water mile swim of the season.  I should have done it long before now, as my race is a mere 4 weeks away; but between a crazy schedule, bad weather, and a general “you can’t make me” feeling, I just haven’t.

So I showed up tonight for our group swim, chanting my mantra:

“Nice and easy.  So slow you’re never out of breath.”

If I could talk underwater (and I almost do, as I hum for the entire mile to get myself to breathe out…) you could have had a nice conversation with me – that’s how slow I was going.  In running parlance, it’s a LSD – long, slow, distance swim, which I did tonight.

I’d feel better about that if it wasn’t SOOOOO slow.  For my mile, I could have watched almost en entire episode of The Closer – with most of the commercials (55:38).  Now, to be fair, there was a significant chop in the water tonight.  Some folks didn’t even make it through the swim.  And it was a bit cold.  And I almost flashed a guy when my bathingsuit got a little too drag-er-ific for my liking.  But I never once put my feet down to stand, and I didn’t stop. 

So, as I see it, the upside is this:  come August 30, I know without a doubt that I will confidently, without panic, complete the 1KM swim in the Chicago Triathlon. 

The downside is this:  I’m not sure if I should be trying harder.

The thing is, I’ve gotten so used to the fact that I can’t push myself right now, because I am so overweight, that I would just like to finish this year – just finish – and that would be enough.  But on nights like tonight, I’m torn between wanting to finish, and wanting to do much better….

As always, I know that the answer is somewhere in the middle.  I can’t push myself to swim at a “race pace” during all of my training – I’ll never make it, and that’s not what training is desgined for.  But on race day, I think I need to not be afraid to push myself just a little harder, too.   Because I have to believe that this body, which took me through 13 miles on Sunday, has more to offer than a 55 minute mile.

Well, as I’m back on the wagon, tomorrow’s bike ride dawns early, so I’m off to bed.  Sleep well!

See you on the path -

The Motivation Vending Machine

I’m one of the few people I know who has no excuses about working out.   I have plenty of time.  I’m not injured.  The weather’s fine.  And yet, since my return from the Minneapolis race ten days ago, I’ve swam three times, run once,  and not done a whole lot else.

Sure, I had company.  Yes, I was working.  But we all have these things – these daily pressures that start to get in our way, make us tired, make us less willing to take care of ourselves.

So what is it that forces you to focus?  For me, it’s the spectre of an upcoming, long, race, with my name etched on a timesheet somewhere.  I’d really like my name to not be last.  (No, really – I’ve been looking at the times from last year’s race, and it’s a distinct possibility.)  For you, it may be the desire to chase your kids around a park.  Or the thought that you want to ride your bike with your boyfriend or girlfriend.  Or climb the stairs to the train without sweating through your new shirt (not that I’d know anything about that…)

We all have different motivations, and I think we shouldn’t be afraid to line them up and use them like a Motivation Vending Machine when we need them.  Today, when I’m just a tad more achey and sore from yesterday’s round of golf than a fit person should be, my only goal is to get outside and walk to my errands.  Why?  Because my overdue library books are costing me cash, and I need Diet Coke.  These, my friends, (Caffeine and Cash) are today’s motivators, because a cranky Plus Runner who is low on reading material is NOT a nice Plus Runner.

Tomorrow, I’m getting in an early bike.  Why? Becuase I’m headed off to work as a contractor and I’d like to keep off the 5 pounds I’ve lost in the past month.  And maybe take some more off.  Tomorrow’s Vending Machine Motivation is Dance In the Pants That Brung You (also known as “keep losing weight and you can fit in your old work clothes).

The rest of the week, it’s about keeping fitness up for the Rock n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon, which takes place next Sunday.  I’ll be focusing on just steady workouts, making sure I feel strong, and fit, leading into Sunday.   And also making sure that I don’t let down the people I’ve promised to walk with, to make sure that they get through their 13.1 miles with a smile on their faces.   I suppose you could call that motivation Keep Your Promises and Don’t Get Hurt Doing It.

So, I suppose my advice for today is this: hit up the Motivation Vending Machine for whatever you need.  If it’s the Fear Of Splitting Your Pants, order it up.  Maybe it’s the Desire For a Date This Year.  Or the Ability to Eat Ice Cream This Week.  Do what it takes, but get your butt out the door.  I promise you (PROMISE YOU) you will feel better than if you hit up the cabinets, and you’ll sleep better too. 

I’d love to hear what motivates you….if you have some time, drop me a post, and let me know what your Motivation Vending Machine is serving up this week!

See you on the path!

Lifetime Fitness Race Report

So last weekend I completed the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis, MN.  If you’re new to “racing” or just “participating” in a half marathon, triathlon, or even a 5k, you’ll find that the running community encourages Race Reports – RRs for short – to let people share, inspire, or just plain brag about what they did.

I’ve only written one race report before – in full.  It was for the Wendy’s Triathlon  in 2004, and I was cleaning recently when I found it.  “A ha!” I thought.  “This is why people keep journals!”  It was funny, and full of details I’d forgotten – or would surely forget in another 10 years, by which point they’d be funny again. 

But since then, I’ve not really done much Race Reporting.  Here, then, is my version of a Race Report.  Settle in with a big cup of coffee – this could take awhile….

Saturday Morning

Wake-Up Call: 4:30 a.m.

Sleep: approximately 4 hours, thirty minutes.

Get up.  No, really, get up.  Grab the key.  Go back downstairs to your room, where all the race stuff is. No, wait. Shower here.  Then go downstairs.  (Because you just HAD to be moved to the other side of the hotel last night at MIDNIGHT, didn’t you, because of that noise from the block party down the street. How is it that you’re 28 floors up in a Marriott and you can’t sleep through a block party?  Your earplugs SUCK, lady.)

Shower, wash hair.  Ooh! Nice hotel robe!  Hm.  Bare feet.  Oh well. Back down the elevator, to your real room.  Strip.  Body glide. Sunscreen.  Deodorant. Sportsbra. Flip Flops. Danskin shorts.  Throw on that long-sleeved shirt. No – take the short sleeved one instead.  That pink Nike one that says “ATHLETE” in big letters.  Maybe they’ll let you in the gates then.  Is that bad form?  Should you have to brag that you’re an ATHLETE?  Oh shut up and put your contacts in.  OW OW OW  OW  OW.  Contacts HURT.  Cry a little. Think about something sad.  Like how totally tired you are.  Okay, try again.  Better. 

Where’s Val?  Oh, seems to be okay.  Alright.  Backpack (fully packed – NO – DON’T check it – you packed it last night, leave it alone!).  Grab your phone, directions to the place.  Call the front desk, tell them you’re coming down for the bikes. CRAP. How did it get to be 5:05 already?  Fill up the water bottles.  And the Gatorade.  Grab that extra bottle for washing your feet in Transition.  Fill it now, you won’t have a chance later.  Where’s the Feed Bag? Peanut butter, plain bagels, check, check.  CRAP.  We’re not going to be out of here by 5:15.  Be patient. Let’s go.

Lobby. Bikes got moved across the room last night.  Here’s hoping they’re in one piece.  Over the river and through the woods, damn this is a long way to the garage.  Val’s bike on the back rack. My bike.  Okay, let’s go.  

Easy getting there.  Why are people backed up?  Just go park, you people!  Park. Bikes off.  Ride down the hill to the site.  Transition – there’s Lisa and her husband Joe, all set up.  Go get set up.  Huh. “Your stuff has to be on the side where your bike tires touch down” says the mini girl in front of you, conveniently located at the end of the race.  Wha? “Is that a new USAT rule?”  She’s bluffing, wants more space. Whatever.  I move down the rack, like 5 bikes.  Oh, cute guy approaching on the other side, and she’s got room for him now?  Bite me, lady. It’s early, and I haven’t had a Diet Coke yet. 

Time to get out of Transition.  Explain to Lisa and Val that they have to take wetsuits with  them, but not WEAR them at 6:30 for their 8:30 start.  Joe seems to have hit the nail on the head.  A lot of these people are…well…assholes.  A lot of them are nice, but some?  So gear and space and checklist obsessed.  Just let it go, it’s only a race…

Okay, you can’t leave Transition yet.  Scope out the Swim In. Shit, that’s like 200 yards away from my bike!  Okay, it is what it is.  Ah, but the bike is really close to Bike Out – and Run Out.  Shit. Bike In is also on the opposite side.  Oh well.  Sharp left from the swim tunnel, all the way down the first alley, right at the trees, and the rack after the one with the blue chalk in front of it. 

Body marking, sitting around.  Eat some bagel with peanut butter (dipped. Hm. Knife would be nice.)  Look for swim gear check. Woops.  They don’t have a swim gear check here – only Gear West, which is not Gear Check, just an outfitter from the Minneapolis area.  Woops.

Walk over to the water. Hm.  The swim course changed.  Wonder why.  Oh, there’s Val’s fam – let’s move over there.  Meet the fam.  Val’s brother Ken heads off for the Olympic.  Then her brother Ed.  Then, oh  wow – oh my god, random stranger down – he’s siezing.  Get up, go find a marshall, get a medic – these people are calling for a medic, but there’s not one within 100 yards.  Run – the pros are coming in, you have to get to the Pro area before they get in.  Yell. “WE NEED A MEDIC OVER HERE WE HAVE A MAN DOWN!”.  Yep, heads are turning.  Put two hands in the air, so that Marshall can get on her walky and get someone.  There’s the sherriff/medic.  He’s grabbing his kit out of  the car. Hurry up, dude.  Shit. How’s he going to hop that fence?  He’s sighting – keep hands up.  Coming at me, they’re breaking apart the fencing, pulling up the fabric to let him under.  We run to the guy, in his bermuda shirt, spectator apparel, he’s not an athlete…he’s stopped siezing, there’s already some red shirts there.  Oh thank God he’s breathing.  The sherriff/EMT pulls some O2 out of nowhere.  Are the kids okay?  Val’s niece and nephew are there – are they scared by this?  Where’s the ambulance?  What? That golf cart is the ambulance?  Okay, he’s on a backboard, they’re loading him up.  He seems okay, but not really conscious.  Wow.

And those waves are still going off. 

Is it time to go yet?  Checking the watch.  Work out logistics with Joe, poor Joe, who will be my pack mule for the morning, carrying my extra sunscreen and peanut butter and keys and phone and that shirt I’m about to strip off. Thanks, Joe!  Checking the watch.  Okay, I’m going.  Yes, you’re going to have to take that shirt off now and just go down to the water in your sportsbra and shorts.  Just rip it off like a bandaid.  Shirt off.  See ya!  Down the sand bank, into the water to warm up.

Except – wow! It’s like bathwater!  Woo hoo!!!!!!  Swim, swim, swim all the way out.  Nice and steady.  Five minute warmup, please!  Huh.  This is okay.  Except now I don’t want to get out. It’s cold out there.  It’s warm in here.  What’s he saying?  Yo, dude with the bullhorn, what wave are we on?  (I like that bullhorn to the folks in the water, by the way, nice touch – let’s me know when to get out…).  Oh, that’s now.  Go, go go.  Oh, wait, they’re only on the 24 year old women.  Get back in.  Gab with the 40-45 year old women about how we love it when people swim over us.  I love the swim.  Get out again. C-c-c-c-cold.  Line up for the wave. What? Line up?  By number?  I’ve NEVER done this.  Interesting.  “SALLIE!” I hear.  Who is that?  OH! There’s Sarah, and Becky!!  Wave, smiling, totally wishing I hadn’t seen them in this lovely state of semi-public nudity. Oh well!  They’re super nice to be here supprorting!!!  Is that a Zach or Sofia there?  (Damn those kids are cute!)

Okay, back to the line. It’s moving.  Tighten that strap – that chip is loose.  Nope, you didn’t quite get it.  Tighten it again.  Take a step.  Tighten it one more time.  Step. No, that’s TOO tight!  Loosen it.  These women behind me must love looking at my ass right now.  Hm.  Getting close.  Stepping up.  Three second intervals, that should be fine. 

GO.  Run, it’ shallow.  High step into the water.  Few more steps.  SHIT, who is that behind me already?  Slow down, people!  Face in the water.  Stroke, get into a rhythm.  Find a bouy.  Get inside that woman in front of you.  Just stay on the inside line.  Bouys on the right.  Stay tight.  Crap, who’s that on my left?  Okay, breathe, just get some strokes in.  Good, stick with that rhythm.  Nice.  Ow, that hurt. “Sorry!” yells the woman next to you.  Just keep swimming.  But isn’t that nice that people apologize in Minnesota?  Turn bouy coming up.  Cut it close.  Dude, you are two waves behind me.  You can get in line for cutting that bouy…sorry.  Okay, why can’t I stay next to this line?  8 strokes, and I keep going left.  ARGH.  Get in the line.  One bouy at a time.  ARGH.  There must be a current here.  Keep working it, stay calm.  Turn bouy.  Line it up.  Site on the shore.  Good clean line.  Huh.  No guards around, and he’s clinging to that bouy.  “Are you okay?” He looks alright, but if you can’t even float, that’s not so good.  “Yeah, I’m fine” he says back.  Okay, keep moving.  Sight, stroke.  Nice and steady.  Okay, you’re getting close.  Swim as long as you can.  Upright!  Oh, god there are ALL those people, lining both sides of that chute!  You’ve GOT to get a better swim top.  Breathe.  Take off the cap. Start jogging up the sandy hill.  Oh, who are you kidding. Just walk.  Okay, faster.  Look up.  You’re doing a good thing, look up.  “Way to go!” they’re saying.  Yes, you know they mean you.  Just smile and keep going.  “SALLIE!” look up.  There’s Myrna and Sarah – and Becky? Jen? The kids?  They’re right by the exit – oh, so good to see them!!!  You can run now! You’re at the top! Go! STOP.  Crossing the Pro’s run path.  Marshall holds you back.  Oh please, it’s not like those two seconds mattered (for me).  Okay, RUN! 

Well, maybe, walk.  Walk, walk, walk the long trek to the bike.  Pat down hair, throw on shirt, socks.  CRAP.  I love these Nike socks, but they’re too tight to just “slip on” in Transition.  Should have worn the Balagas.  UGH.  Take a drink.  Put that Clif Shot in the pocket.  Bike shoes on, helmet on, sunglasses on.  GO GO GO. 

Out of Transition, on the bike, two women in front of me on their bike before the Mount point got stopped. Amateurs :) Okay, get the legs moving, put on the bike gloves, get going.  Hey, pretty.  Hm.  I remember this road.  CRAP. Pothole.  Hm. Another one.  Cobblestones?  Oof.  That hurt.  Wow, I’m going to be lucky not to flat.  Keep going.  Why is this so hard?  Oh, it’s got to be uphill partly.  But gradual?  Damn, my right butt cheek hurts.  What is that?  A Hammy?  that’s pulling up on the pedal. Gotta be uphill at least a little bit. 

What is with these hills?  Wow, volunteers are good.  “Thank you” you keep shouting at them.  “Thanks for coming out” because they ARE good volunteers – they’re almost ALL cheering, even though they don’t have to.  Very cool.  I love this race.  Damn hills.  I love this race.  Damn hills.  Why didn’t I replace the battery on my bike computer?   I haven’t made the turn yet to go over the Mississippi River, so I know I’m not at 6 miles yet, but come ON.  Am I that slow???

Hey, turn time – Oh. My. God.  This is just amazing.  What is it about water?  The river is gorgeous.  HEY.  Keep up that cadence. Get up that hill.  Woo hoo! Downhill!!!!  Right hand turn….hey, think that the next 4 miles will be downhill???

Ha! No such luck.  Guy and a girl up ahead.  Both off their bikes.  They’re walking…uphill.  “You okay?” “Yeah, just old” says the guy.  “That’s okay, I’m fat, but we’re still out here!”  They laugh.  You gotta come up with another line.  Maybe “I’m slow” is nicer to say. 

Man, these houses in Minneapolis are gorgeous.  I could live here – beautiful victorians next to the lakes?  What’s not to love?  Curving again….heading back to transition.  Gotta be getting close.  Power down those flats.  Hm.  Woops.  I still have to go up THAT?  Oh, crap, I have another mile at least.  Woops.  Climb.  Power down.  Turn Left.  Left again, down that road.  Don’t slow down.  Oh, they want me to slow down?  There’s Sarah and Jen and Myrna and Becky and the kids!  And there’s Joe!  He looks confused to see me.  Hm.

Go, off the bike.  Run!  Wait! Take off your bike shoes, you can’t run 200 yards in those!  Okay, now run!  Or walk.  Get to the rack.  Run shoes. CES visor. Fuel belt. GO.

Oh my god, does my right foot hurt.  Where the HELL did that come from?  Stupid, idiotic, dumb plantar fasciitis.  Where have you been for three weeks?  Seriously?  There is no way I’m running this interval.  Keep running.  RUN.  Re-set the watch from 4-2 intervals.  Try a 2-1.  Keep your speed up.  Let your legs loosen up.  Cadence.  You can do this.  Chin UP!  Okay, let’s do this interval. 

“Nice job.”  “Keep it up.”  “Way to go!” They’re all saying it as they pass you.  They must think you’re new.  Little do they know you’re NOT!  Just slow.  Who cares?  It’s nice of them!  And this is why you like this sport.  Okay, this interval is working.  Nice pace.  Hey, look at that, Mile 1 ahead of your target pace!  Keep going…okay, this is an out and back portion.  Is that Lisa coming at you on the out?  Hands up!!!  SHOUT IT OUT SISTAH!  Lisa looks fabulous in her first race – happy and good, and easy!  “I could have finished the bike much faster but I was busy gawking at the houses!” she says as she passes you…SO CUTE!  Okay, pick it up, make her chase you a little (as if.)  Hand’s up – there’s Val, not far behind her!  High fives all around, she looks AWESOME!  Who’s that guy coming at you?  I don’t know him, do I?  He’s heading for me.  “I don’t know who you are, but you just made me start running again” he says.  AWWWW.  He’s big like me!!!  Look at that!  Was it my glorious chest?  My waving to Val?  The fact that I’m a Big Girl?  I don’t care!!! 

Okay, settle down.  You’re not picking him up on the course.  But he’s with Team In Training. I bet I could find out who he is.  STOP RACE STALKING.  Okay, there’s footsteps.  Hey, it’s Lisa!  Damn, she’s fast.  She’s doing awesome. Sooooo good.  And she likes the sport – yay! Another convert!  Okay, get her moving – she needs to finish strong!  More footsteps….Mile 2.  There’s Val!  Oh yeah, a camera….how nice is she? She’s going to walk an interval with me….so sweet…okay, shoo her off, too.  See you at the finish!  Okay, coming around the bend…there’s the gang again, and Sarah is RUNNING at me with the kids.  Zach on one arm, Sofia on the other, Myrna, Becky and Jen all laughing as the kids plow towards me with Sarah yelling “We’re going to run with Sallie!”  How cute is THAT!!! Smile!!!  Grab Sofia’s hand, and start jogging.  “Sofia’s faster than I am!” you yell.  Well, she is.  Is there an Under Four division?  She’s strong!  Okay, say goodbye, and head off, smiling.  I have amazing friends.  I have amazing friends. I have amazing friends. 

Cross the bridge, hear the finish line.  Volunteers saying “it’s just around the corner!”  See that line…start to kick..bit early, but now you can go.  There’s Lisa, cheering!  Go, go, GO!!!  Yep, still have a lot left in the tank.  Could have gone faster.  Oh well.  Chin up – finish strong!  Through the line, and smile for those cameras!  (But keep the arms down!)

And then it’s done!  Val’s mom is in the premiere seating watching us come in, and she’s smiling and waving…I see Joe at the finish, and all the friends and fam are around.  Grab a cold wet towel, some water, some grub, and reunite with the gang.

What a great day.  Talk about lucky.  When do we do this again?


Triathlon Results – Short Course
Finish Time: 2:21:45.8
Category Place: 70 out of 71 Women 35 to 39 finishers
Overall Place: 962 out of 996 Short Course finishers
Gender Overall Plc: 486 out of 510 Female finishers
Triathlon Splits
Swim  .4 mile
Time: 19:46.1
Pace: 3:04 /100m
Category Place: 56
Overall Place: 803
Gender Overall Plc: 401
Transition #1
Time: 5:53.7
Category Place: 64
Overall Place: 907
Gender Overall Plc: 458
Bike  15 miles
Time: 1:03:00.0
Pace: 14.3MPH
Category Place: 64
Overall Place: 898
Gender Overall Plc: 436
Transition #2
Time: 3:32.9
Category Place: 62
Overall Place: 889
Gender Overall Plc: 444
Run  3 mile
Time: 49:32.9
Pace: 16:31/M
Category Place: 71
Overall Place: 989
Gender Overall Plc: 505

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

My friend Sarah and I used to joke that we had reverse body dysmorphia.  We never thought we looked so bad with some extra weight – until we saw a picture of ourselves.  I’m particularly good at rationalizing my way into looking fine from the Front View.  The Rear View?  Who needs it? 

Alas, I was reminded of this again today when I pulled up the photos from this weekend’s race.  I had a wonderful time in Minneapolis, and my friends and I really enjoyed the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon (Sprint Edition).  It was a sunny day, low 70s, and the course was gorgeous.  We started in Lake Nokomis, biked around the lake and along the Mississippi River, and then ran around the lake for a loop before finishing to cheering crowds.  The volunteers were extraordinary, the race was really well-organized, and I didn’t finish last (which is always a good feeling).  In fact, I felt wonderful on the swim, challenged a bit by the hills on the bike, and even managed to feel good on the run.  And my finishing times, while not what I’d hoped for, were still good enough that I was feeling okay heading into Chicago in August.

And then, today, I saw those damn pictures.  Without going into details, the picture of the woman who appears to be running that race is NOT the picture I have in my mind of how I look when out on the run.  Or on the bike.  Or DEFINITELY coming out of the water.   She looks like she swallowed the Charmin Man, and then had a snack.  Sheesh.

Fortunately for me, there are plenty of other positives to consider.  First, I can honestly say that I’m consistently exercising 5 days a week, which I was not doing 4 months ago.  Second, I felt really, really good when I finished that race – far better than I felt after my last half marathon, and better than I expected to feel in general. Third, I am paying more attention to what I’m putting in my mouth, and focusing on eating healthier – admitting that I’m still losing the battle of chocolate addiction, but still…

In all, I’ve come away from the weekend feeling pretty good about where training is heading.  I’m VERY glad to say that a few key lessons (increasing my running turnover/cadence, and reducing my running interval times) helped a lot.  I’m also glad that no children were harmed in the viewing of this body while running (which could have been possible).

In the end, I benefited from a really great crew of friends being on the course on race day.  My friends Lisa and Val completed (and dusted me!) in their first-ever sprint triathlons, and at least one of them is a new convert! And my other friends Sarah and Jen brought family to cheer us on – AND I eve got to run with their two little kids on the course (now I know why parents do that with their children – what a great feeling!).  And in six weeks, I’ll try to double my fun with the Chicago race. 

In the meantime, I’m going to buy just one of those pictures, and put it on my fridge for a little motivation. 

See you on the path!

Hot Runnin’

Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, I learned to deal with heat and humidity.  For the better part of my youth, summers were spent in sticky, sweltering conditions, created by the Seven Hills surrounding the Really Muddy Ohio River.  Cincinnati summers felt like waking up to a wet kiss every morning (once we went outside, at least.)

As a kid, I played soccer, went to the pool, rode my bike, helped with the lawn mowing.  I spent the summers out and about, with tanned legs and bleached blonde hair.  I tortured my little sister on trips to and from the swimming pool, where we would go all day to play (and then I’d try to dust her while riding home – wasn’t I nice?)  We played at the beach, and even then, as a little girl a twinge on the chunky side of life, (and with some seriously BAD hair), I had fun.  For proof, see the slightly dorky picture below of me and my little sister, Liz. (She’s so adorable.)

Ta Da! I may have bad hair and a worse swimsuit, but Liz and I know how Splash Dance.

Ta Da! Even with bad hair and a worse swimsuit, Liz and I knew how Splash Dance.

But if you asked me to run, I’d ask “what for?”  Laps around the soccer field were punishment – given when you talked during drill instructions, or worse, when (ahem) you sometimes got mouthy with Dad, the coach.

So I missed a few key years (approximately 15) of feeling what it was like to work out in real heat.  Except for summer walks during my college years with my cousin Jessica (which we did on the only flat part of real estate near us – by the River) I pretty much missed learning How to Deal With Heat as A Biped.

Enter my early thirties, and not only do I run more, but I walk around the city more.  I also do it with some extra fat.  Thinking back to grade school biology, I’m pretty sure that means I stay warm longer – and get warm faster – than the average bear.  (And the average bear has it hard, according to the most recent Runners World article about heat and the body’s response.) So, over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to make sure that I stay cool while I run or walk.  Take them or leave them, but they work for me…

1) Wear a hat, or a visor.  As I’ve said before, I resemble a large albino (courtesy of my hearty German and Irish heritage), so keeping the sun off my Skin Cancer Magnet (i.e. Nose) is important.  I like the visor because it’s cooler – the heat doesn’t get trapped beneath the cap – but the visor has a downside, too, and that’s an increased skin cancer risk for your head.  I say do whatever works for you. 

2) Hydrate before you go out for a run, during, and after.  And carry a fuel belt.  The amount of hydration you need varies, and there are a lot of suggestions that over-hydrating can be a problem.  But when the heat and humidity rises, you simply need more fluids (and more salt, if you’re going to be out for more than an hour).  If you’re training for a long race (i.e. a half marathon) make sure you speak to your coach, or do some research about how much fluid to take with you.  I typically drink 8 ounces about an hour before a run, and hydrate every 5 minutes on the run with a sip from my water bottle.  If I’m out for a long time, sometimes I’ll drink more, but I always have fluids with me.  Yes, even though that belt looks craptastic around my Michelin-sized waistline.

I once ran the Indy Mini and one of the folks I knew, who hadn’t completed the training, but came out on race day, was running next to us at a point, without any fluids.  She was going pretty fast (compared to her usual pace), and she said she had downed a few ibuprofen before the race to prevent any issues on the course.  I didn’t see her until a year later, when she mentioned that after Indy, she had woken up the next morning with 15 pounds of water weight in swelling…and that her kidneys had essentially shut down during the race.  The doctors weren’t sure if it was the ibuprofen before the race, or the lack of fluids, or the heat, but whatever the cause, she was out of running for a year.  Make it easier on yourself, and control what you can by carrying your own fuel belt.  

3) Wear plenty of sunscreen.  I don’t know the science behind it, but it seems obvious to me that if your skin is blistering in the heat, it’s probably not going to do as good a job as your number one biological cooling mechanism.  I generally wear between an SPF 15 and an SPF 45 outside.  I pay special attention to shoulders, arms, and the back of the neck, not to mention face and ears.

4) Wear slightly loose, light clothing which wicks sweat.  I’ve talked about this a lot, but wicking fabric is a must.  And if you’re looking for a good shirt, something that claims to have “extra vents” on the side panels will help with ventilation.  Great stuff for summer.

5) Expect the run to suck the first time you go out Hot.  Research says it takes about 15 days for your body to adjust to Hot Running.  So the first few times you go out, expect it to be hard.  Dial it down a notch.

6) Know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion – for you, and your friends.  The New York Times has a great article about NOT listening to the athlete who may be exhausted, so know how to check on your friends.  For heat exhaustion information and heat stroke info, also review these guidelines, from the CDC, or check out the symptoms below for a refresher.

This German-Irish girl takes care to make sure that most of these things never happen – but if I start feeling queasy, or lightheaded, (which has happened), I do something simple: I walk. I take a drink. I slow down.  You can do it, too, and no one will care…

For more information, check out Jeff Galloway’s tips in Runner’s World. 

Take care of yourselves – and I’ll see you on the path.

Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion 101: From the Centers for Disease Control

What is heat stroke? 
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. 

What are the warning signs of a heat stroke?

Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

What should I do if I see someone with any of the warning signs of heat stroke? 

If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Do the following:

  • Get the victim to a shady area.
  • Cool the victim rapidly, using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously. 
  • Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.
  • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
  • Do not give the victim alcohol to drink.
  • Get medical assistance as soon as possible.

What is heat exhaustion? 

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, those with high blood pressure, and those working or exercising in a hot environment. 

What are the warning signs of heat exhaustion? 

The warning signs of heat exhaustion include the following:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache 
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

The skin may be cool and moist. The pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. See medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour.

What steps can be taken to cool the body during heat exhaustion? 

  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages.
  • Rest.
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
  • Seek an air-conditioned environment.
  • Wear lightweight clothing.

What are heat cramps and who is affected? 
Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms – usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs – that may occur in association with strenuous activity. People who sweat a lot during strenuous activity are prone to heat cramps. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion. If you have heart problems or are on a low-sodium diet, seek medical attention for heat cramps.


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