I did not hate myself 98% of the distance
Today's was the first run that I did not hate myself 98% of the distance. That's a good thing, I guess. Hopefully, I'm getting over the hump, and my runs will become fun and inspiring once again. I realise I've not mentioned the distance of any of my runs so far. That is in part due to the fact that the wristband broke on my GPS watch, and I'm procrastinating instead of getting it repaired. It's also due in part to the fact that I'm quite embarrassed by the short distances of my runs. I think by next week, I'm be more on track and, therefore, a bit more open about my mileage.
Kampala is hot these days. Really hot. So hot that friends are sending my messages admitting fears of melting. So hot that teachers are requesting amendments to the school's dress code to allow shorts. True to form, I did a little research, and this is what I found out about keeping cool in hot climates (click on the links to read the full source article).
- Loose, light (in both colour and weight), long-sleeved shirts will keep you cooler than T-shirts. And, in most climatic conditions, cooler than other short- (and non-) sleeved tops as well.
- In very hot weather, though, most of the heat that your body is trying to eliminate has been absorbed from its surroundings. Light-coloured garments that cover your skin will dramatically curtail that absorption, greatly reducing the heat that must be dissipated.
- Sure, lots of people in New Orleans wear short-sleeved shirts; people often wear what they believe will keep them cooler, rather than what actually will. But I was in New Delhi, where the temperature was 115°F (46°C) when I first wrote these paragraphs, and the great majority of local residents were wearing long-sleeved clothing.
- In order to promote the circulation of air necessary to the evaporation of perspiration, hot-weather clothing should additionally be both loose-fitting and porous (air-permeable). How porous? Enough so that air can pass through it without serious restriction. Here's a simple test. Make an "O" with your mouth about the size of a typical beverage bottle (1" / 2.5cm), and stretch a piece of the fabric in question over it. If you can breathe comfortably through your mouth (not your nose), the cloth is sufficiently porous for decent evaporation; otherwise, it isn't.
- All of this holds true for the lower part of your body as well. Long pants/skirts/dresses of an appropriate fabric will keep you cooler than shorts of any length.
- Heat is trapped by synthetic fibres, but cotton absorbs perspiration and its evaporation causes you to feel cooler. [So do linen!]
- Eat spicy food. Although this may be the last thing you fancy in hot weather, curries and chillies can stimulate heat receptors in the mouth, enhance circulation and cause sweating, which cools the body down.
- Eat small meals and eat more often. The larger the meal, the more metabolic heat your body creates breaking down the food. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
- Wet your wrists and other pulse points with cold water. Use a piece of ice wrapped in a face cloth, to continue after the coolness wears off. Constantly cooling off the wrists will also cool off the body. Never use just ice; make sure it is wrapped in a towel or something similar. Studies show that this will reduce your core body temperature by as much as 3 °F (1.5 ºC). The relief is almost immediate, and will last for up to one hour!
- Drink water, even if you are not thirsty! You must replace fluids lost in perspiration to prevent dehydration. Oral re-hydration may be accomplished by drinking an electrolyte-balanced beverage. The electrolytes help to make sure you don't lose vital minerals through sweating. Adding ice will also help cool you off. Avoid lemonade, iced tea, and other sugary drinks (see the Tips below). Ice does not actually help you cool off if it is in water you will drink. Cool water does, but the colder the water the more energy your body spends making it body temperature so that it can use it.
- Try a few minty products to cool your skin: slather on lotion with peppermint (avoid your face and eyes); shower with peppermint soap; use a minty foot soak. Mint refreshes the skin and leaves a nice cooling sensation.
Personally, I love the heat, and I love to sweat. I like imagine that the sweat pouring from my body during a good, long run is actually melted fat escaping my bulging belly, arms, thighs, back, etc.