It happens every Summer. A Heat Wave sweeps through the City and people act as though they’ve never seen the likes of 90-100 degree temperatures in July. Many residents escape to nearby towns on the water and the rest of us left in the concrete jungle are left to sweat it out and pray we don’t have another blackout.
In August of 2003, I walked home to Brooklyn from 57th St. & 6th Ave. over the Brooklyn Bridge in a Heat Wave producing 80-90 degree temperatures that didn’t quit when the sun went down.
It happened again in August 2006 in Queens, most notably in Astoria, where I used to live. And the power stayed off for NINE DAYS during a Heat Wave.
Those two events were awful.
Now that we’re again in the grips of a Heat Wave that feels like you step out of the A/C and into your oven, Facebook and Twitter are alight with complaints day and night about how it’s too hot to go outside, let alone run.
You know what I say?
It’s not a popular suggestion in this heat, but if you are healthy, experienced, smart, plan ahead, healthy, know your body and your limits, stay in populated areas, and HEALTHY–why the hell not?
I may complain here and there about the ridiculousness of the temperatures but, seriously? That’s my biggest problem? That it’s HOT IN JULY? I’m gonna go right ahead and get over myself. This Heat Wave has been an important reminder to me that I can run.
There’s a Heat Wave so I get up early, wait for the sun to go down, find a shady route (even if it means 5 laps around the 1.67 mile Bridle Path) and I run.
There’s a Heat Wave so I wear light…or little clothing, I bring a water bottle full of Nuun, I go with friends, I slow down and I run.
There’s a Heat Wave so I go for time instead of distance, I take walk breaks if I need them, I throw my pace out the window and I run.
Early last week, I took to Twitter to get up on my soap box about all the bitching and complaining everyone who is out running has been doing about the conditions. Guess what? It’s not going to be 50 degrees, sunny and with a tailwind on most of your runs.
It’s time to be grateful you can run. A lot of people who love to run can’t and would give anything to hit the pavement for a sweaty 5-miler in this Heat Wave.
The Heat Wave is not the problem. It’s the attitude. Are you going to PR in a Heat Wave? Unlikely. Are you going to feel awesome running during a Heat Wave? Not likely. Is it ideal weather for running/living? Not in my book.
But if you can, you should. Embrace the Heat Wave (responsibly) and instead of hashtagging #toodamnhot, try #gratefulrun. Allow this Heat Wave to remind you that you are physically able to run, walk, cycle, skateboard, kayak, swim, or whatever else you can do outside.
Doesn’t being able to run at all, even in a Heat Wave beat the hell out of the alternative? I think so.
And get over it. It’s Summer.
Now go out and run.
Disclaimer: You should always consult a physician before undertaking any physical activity. Running in excessively hot temperatures can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke. To learn about the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, please see the Mayo Clinic’s website. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek shelter and medical attention immediately. Elderly individuals, children, and those in otherwise less than optimal health should abide by the recommended heat precautions by the New York State Department of Health and Human Services.