The Morning Slog

homer_running-754097.jpgIt’s August in Alabama, and that means triple digit heat indexes all across the state over the next few weeks. It’s sauna city the instant you step out the door, and then just try doing anything. The gurus at Nike haven’t even conceived of wicking fabric that can pump away the gallons of sweat produced on a typical Deep South “dog days of summer” afternoon.

That makes exercise in this stuff particularly tricky. Do I go for a morning run and deal with 90% + humidity and less heat, or do I wait until the evening when there’s typically less humidity but the temperatures often stay in 90s up until the time the sun sets?

I usually go with the morning slog. But that produces it’s own problems as I try to stop sweating after I’m done. That usually takes a ride to work with the AC turned on full blast and Number One complaining (we’ve been carpooling to our respective jobs this summer) about how I’m freezing his skinny little butt off.

But at least my morning slog is not complicated very much by a more insidious respiratory threat–smog.

As this NYT article shows, don’t expect too many world record performances in the distance events of the track and field competition at this year’s Summer Games in Beijing. The air quality there is horrendously bad; so bad, in fact, that US athletes are training in a more relatively smog-free city in the same time zone and not making an appearance in Beijing until the last minute.

Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, the current world record-holder in the marathon and probably the most versatile distance runner of all time, has opted out of this year’s marathon and will compete only in the 10K instead out of health concerns related to his asthma.

I remember walking around in Washington DC and marveling at how large the EPA building was and thinking, geez, what a bloated bureaucracy that one must be.

I have an idea: We could reduce our EPA by 50% and send China the other half–sounds like they could use one.

But enough of that–it’s time for the morning slog. See ya down the road, Homer.

  1. Mike the Eyeguy

    I’m betting that Ocular Fusion will be among the internet sites blocked in Beijing this year. Just you wait.

  2. Hal

    Two things shock me about this post:

    1. The world record holder in the marathon has asthma. Wow!! His record time is just 12 minutes longer than my half-marathon time. Wow!!

    2. You – a political moderate and Obama supporter – would like to reduce the EPA by 50%. That is such a liberterian idea. I like it!

  3. Hal

    OK, before you mention this I have already realized the ignorance of my second statement. As a moderate, by definition, you can select ideas from any of the more “extreme” viewpoints and support them as you wish.

    I can’t imagine Obama would support that idea, though. The only federal program that I’ve heard him mention he would like to cut back is defense.

    As one who tends to lean liberterian and conservative I certainly like your idea of cutting way back on any of the federal bureauracracies.

  4. Mike the Eyeguy

    2:04 in the marathon (4:45 per mile) is obscene. Number One and I were talking about that on the way to work this morning and wondering if either of us could keep up with him past, say, 200 meters or so.

    Long time readers are well aware of my libertarian proclivities. I can think of another federal agency which could afford to trim off a layer or two of middle managers.

  5. Mike the Eyeguy

    Oh, and Hal: !Viva la revolucion!

    Inside joke, folks, sorry.

  6. JRB

    Hal, seriously, Obama has not talked about cutting the DoD. That’s just silly.

    Now, I’ve been faciliating between the night and the morning runs. I’m nocturnal by nature, so I prefer the night, but by dint of convenience, I’ve been running more in the morning. Slog it is, and none, none, of my wicking gear can handle it. They’re made to wick, not to evaporate a full on baptismal soaking. It takes me 20 -30 minutes to stop sweating after my shower. At 7:00 Saturday night, I took both girls on a 3.5 miler in the jogging stroller, combined weight of 95+ pounds. Even they were sweating through their shirts.

  7. kristiS

    It’s august here in Arkansas too, and I’ve been taking the easy way out and running on the treadmill in the gym. And yes, it’s still hot indoors.

  8. Mike the Eyeguy

    I’ve noticed the same thing on the elliptical trainer. I usually do an hour on that puppy on Saturday mornings, and I’m one smelly dawg when I’m done.

    By the way, is it just me or does sweat-soaked wicking fabric smell worse than sweat-soaked cotton tees after a work out?

    Even Gracie the Wonderdog, who’s no sweet-smelling flower herself, runs for cover when I come through the door after a workout.

  9. JRB


    No offense, of course, but unless you live in the Delta or south of Pine Bluff, then Arkansas can’t compete with the likes of the Heart of Dixie and the Magnolia State. Of course, we all thank our stars that we don’t live in Louisiana, the sweatiest place in this quarter of the planet.

  10. JRB

    Yes, wicking fabric is putrid.

  11. Mike the Eyeguy

    Oh snap! Double digit comments!

  12. Hal

    I think I know exactly which agency you’re thinking of. Can you say goodbye VISN level?

    I agree with you and JRB. You should try backpacking for several days with wicking fabric. When I get home and open my laundry bag my entire family runs for cover.

  13. Mike the Eyeguy

    Hal, one time one of “those guys” was hanging around our office for a few days, drinking coffee, chit-chatting, that kind of thing.

    I finally asked him, “So tell me, what exactly is it that you do?

    Very chirpily he replied, “Why, I’m an ‘idea man!'”

    Hey idea man, why don’t you help me do some of these frame adjustments.

  14. Hal

    Perfect! I suspect that you didn’t actually ask for his help, though.

  15. Mike the Eyeguy


  16. Stoogelover

    One of the things I do not miss at all about Alabama, my beloved state, is that humidity. It’s worse than anything in Florida (and that’s really bad) and anything I’ve experienced living out here in the desert. Fortunately, I don’t run so I’m not as affected!

  17. kristiS

    No offense taken, but it gets so hot that it stops mattering if anywhere is hotter. And by the way, 105 and 99% humidity is competitive. But I agree with you: I’m real thankful I’m not in Louisiana where they manage to have 150% humidity.

  18. mmlace

    Kristi’s right. Yesterday here in LR, the high was 99 w/a heat index of 106.

    It’s been a pretty intense past couple of days. My parents came up to visit me this past weekend, and my dad wanted to go do a little car shopping, or at least looking, on Saturday afternoon.

    It was just too hot to do so. I think we spent about 15 minutes walking around the lot. But I had already begun sweating, nearly as soon as I stepped outta the car.

    In looking back at the weather channel, it says our high on Saturday was 105 with a heat index of 114!


    Lord, have mercy!

  19. Mike the Eyeguy

    Yeah, let’s all get together and dump on Louisiana! I am so in!

    Let’s call it like it is; Southerners are tough–and sweaty.

  20. Mike the Eyeguy

    Can we make this a 20 comment post?

    Yes. We. Can!

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