May 2008

I just don’t know what to say about this. I plan to shield young Conal from the likes of this video, lest he think that high heels and shrunken satin are the way to go.


*This post is part of the Runners Lounge Take it and Run Thursdays series.

I have a love/hate relationship with running in the heat. My other relationships are more straightforward: It’s all love/love with running in the cool, the crisp and the warm; same for running hills. And races? Monster crush.

On the other hand, it is hate/hate with running in the cold and the rainy.

But this post is about running in the heat for Runners Lounge TIART. So, what about the heat? For me, since I hate running in the cold, the heat is preferable. My muscles warm up easily so I can get into the groove of a run quicker than I can on cooler days. And once you get used to running in the heat, it isn’t as bad as you might think. But problems can arise if you are not prepared for the heat. I learned this the hard way back when I was a novice (read: pretty dumb) runner in the mid-1990s.

I was living in the Big Apple and had recently started running again after not doing much of anything physical since college. A co-worker talked me into running in the Corporate Challenge. As it happened, the race took place in the middle of the summer on the hottest evening ever. Being NYC and all, there were a million runners in the race and all the body heat raised the temperature on the race route a good, I don’t know, let’s say 30-40 degrees. So, not only was it the hottest evening ever, but the race route was on fire!

And, I was a novice. I ran and ran and tried to pass people I thought I should run faster than and I didn’t take water at the water stops — I just kept running until I started to get the chills right before the third mile. Feeling a little funky, I kept on running, figuring it was just that I was pushing hard. I was a speed demon! And then I looked at my arms and they were covered in goose-bumps. But I pushed on — I was flying! And then the chills got worse. Soon enough, I didn’t think I could really feel my legs.

I gave in and started to walk. I walked until I could see the finish line and then I ran again, so I wouldn’t feel like a complete jerk for not being able to run the 3.5 mile race. Once across the line, I booked it toward the refreshments and sucked down water and, if I remember correctly, some oranges.

While the worst of the bad feelings passed fairly quickly after re-hydrating, I felt awful for the rest of the night and still felt off the next morning. Looking back, I think I felt so bad because I realized just how stupid I had been for a) obviously not training enough for the race, b) running beyond my abilities and c) not respecting the heat.

OK, so what have I learned about running in the heat and humidity? A few things:

  1. Don’t run a race that you aren’t prepared for. That’s probably not a good idea in any conditions but it is definitely something not to do on hot days.
  2. Don’t let your loose muscles lure you into running too fast — whether you are on a training run, in a race or just out for some easy miles.
  3. Respect the heat! Sure, you can go out for a run in warm weather and feel great and start to motor. But, the heat will get you if you run too hard, too fast and without properly hydrating. That’s not to say you shouldn’t run fast in the heat; you should go for it if you’ve trained for it. Just don’t run outside your abilities. Take it from someone who has done just that and suffered the consequences.
  4. Wicking works! Invest in clothing that wicks moisture away from your body and steer clear of cottons.

If I hadn’t had the bad race experience, my relationship with running in the heat would probably be love/love. But, that memory remains. Hopefully, I never forget it or the lessons learned.

Conal’s been climbing up the stairs for what seems like ages. This morning, he climbed down. He actually learned how to do this on our neighbor’s deck this past weekend but this morning was the first time he climbed down on our stairs.

And that is just about all the excitement I have to report. I’m a busy mama today with an actual writing assignment (!) to do. So, I should probably spend Conal’s nap time working, rather than updating my blog!

I’ll leave you with a little peek-a-boo:

Yesterday, Bridget and Janis took me out for lunch to celebrate my upcoming birthday. We were joined by our kids and, let me tell you, Conal had a blast. Maddie and Ava are about two years older than Conal and they are both very sweet and gentle with him.

In fact, the girls had no problem indulging their moms when they suggested giving Conal a kiss:

And holding his hand:

The girls even took to scratching Conal’s back for a bit:

Yup! Conal just loves the attention — especially from the cute little ladies!

An almost one-year-old doesn’t look at your just planted pansies and think, “My beloved mother spent an hour carefully planting these delicate flowers in the ground, therefore, I should not step on them as I awkwardly try to grasp the innermost leaves of the hosta. Moreover, I should not move my foot in a grinding motion, thereby mashing the flowers and tearing the petals from their stems.” No. You might, for some reason, believe that an almost one-year-old — especially an almost one-year-old boy — would think with such logic.

Unfortunately, what I learned today would prove you quite wrong. See, I learned that these almost one-year-olds do not look at the pretty little pansies that happen to be planted right where they need to step and think anything at all. Anything, that is, other than, “Let me get at that hosta. I need to pull the leaves of that hosta!” So, telling them not to step on the pansies doesn’t work. First, they don’t know what pansies are, so you should use a different word. Second, they are determined to get at those hosta leaves and all of your chattering about not stepping on the pansies is just noise. Noise to be tuned out. Don’t bother repeating yourself. It is still just noise.

So, that’s a little something I learned today and in the spirit of motherhood, I’m passing the lesson along.

Everyone should enjoy a nice sunny window as much as Chili does:

I am reading Diaper-Free Before 3 by Dr. Jill Lekovic, a book about how to get your kid out of diapers earlier than you would using the readiness theory. The idea is that you introduce “the potty” between 9 and 15 months and after the child becomes comfortable with it, you begin practicing. The author claims that by introducing the potty before the child enters the stubborn stage, you can make the potty part of the routine and the child will start to expect to use it. She also talks about how disposable diapers make toilet training tougher (because the child doesn’t feel the wetness) so she recommends cotton training pants once the child starts understanding how to use the potty.

The concepts make sense to me so I’ve started introducing the potty to Conal. It is very low-key right now; I just sit him on it in the morning, after lunch and before bed. So far, so good. In fact, on Thursday, he actually peed in the potty. Granted, he didn’t know he was doing it, but still! He was interested in the result. He checked it out, watched me pour it in the toilet and then helped pull the handle for the flush. He thought that was pretty darn funny.

So, maybe we’re on our way. Since I use cloth diapers now anyway, I’m hoping that will help with the whole process. We’ll see. I know it will be long and probably yucky. I just want to make sure it is as stress-free as possible and if starting early helps with that, then I’m all for trying it out!

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