For the past two days, I’ve headed out for a run with Looper, our new Vizsla, around 11AM. On both occasions, this seemed like a perfectly reasonable time of day. However, Iowa finally decided it was summer (after skipping spring all together), so it’s been getting rather warm rather quickly. Now, I will never claim to be a fan of heat, but I can usually put up with it. However, we are still getting way more rain than we really need, which means it has also been wicked humid. This is a bad combination!
After two years living without a leash, Looper is slowly learning to run next to me and not pull too much. She still wants to be in the lead, and she is still skittish around large trucks, bikes, and trains, but is otherwise settling in nicely. Interestingly, running with a new dog gives you a new awareness of your surroundings, and most certainly a new awareness of the heat! She is proving to be an excellent barometer for how far we should be running, when we should be hydrating, and is giving me a refreshed awareness of my surroundings. These past two days have left me with a few moments of clarity in an otherwise foggy, heat-saturated brain. I’ve found myself remembering:
- 10AM- 2PM is not necessarily the best time to run- when the sun is at its peak, it might be best to stay inside, at least during the hot summer months. This may end up being more difficult considering my schedule, but I have a feeling it will lead to much more comfortable runs for both of us!
- Shade is your friend…unless it’s humid- On both days, I headed for local parks and trails, in search of shade that might provide us with some reprieve. Unfortunately, with the shade we found the humidity increasing as well, so it was definitely a trade-off in terms of comfort.
- Slowing your pace matters- I’ve been very focused on pacing during my training, and seem to have forgotten that I should be slowing my pace in the heat…oops! When Looper suddenly pulls up to flop down on the ground and cool off, it’s a nice reminder to slow down. Alas, she picks up right where she left off when we start running again!
- Drinking every 1/2 mile isn’t overkill- I normally try to hydrate every mile, and I’ve gotten accustomed to carrying a water bottle on every run. However, in this heat, setting my watch to remind me to drink every 1/2 mile is quite helpful!
- I sweat ALOT- I’m fairly certain that I’m one of the 1 in 4 that sweats more than the average person. This fact was reinforced over the past two days, and I’m on a continual quest to find the best sweat-management techniques. If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears!
- Dogs hijacking your pace = trouble- Looper is a very willful dog, and when she wants to stop, she does. On the flip side, she pushes onward with seemingly no effort whatsoever, and the result has been a much faster pace than I had intended. I think we are going to need to talk about who is pacing whom!
- Ice cubes sooth an overheated Vizsla- I always make sure there is a nice big bowl of water waiting for her when we get back. On a whim, I gave her an ice cube to see if she wanted to chew on it. It slid around in my hand, and I realized she loved them. At one point, she was lying on her side, on the dining room floor, with several ice cubes placed on her belly…ridiculous!