Thursday, July 06, 2006

Six Pounds Soaking Wet

Hot and humid again today, and the roads were awash with swarms of giant flying bugs on the prowl, looking for unsuspecting mouth-breathing runners. Up at 4, coffee at 4:12, out the door at 4:45 and back by 6:45. 16 miles were the order of the day and I left myself no time for dawdling. It's nice to get one of these runs out of the way with no stops for restrooms or water, and even my spontaneously self-healed Garmin read a tidy 0:00:00 for "rest time" at the end of my journey.

These humid days are difficult for me. From the sloshing sound of my shorts rubbing against my legs with each step to the occasional wringing out of what used to be a hydrophobic "technical" running shirt, runs on these days tend to drag on. I find my thoughts drifting back to January, when I would run down along the Rillito River with numb hands and ears, as the temperature dropped below 30 just before the sun came up. I would stop for water at the fountain along the path only to find it frozen. Good times.

Summer running in Tucson does take some fortitude and a lot of water. I've been testing out a formula over the past few weeks and the results are consistent enough for me to mention it. While still sopping wet after pulling off my soggy running clothes, I stepped on the scale and saw the expected "162" on the LCD. I've been holding steady at 168 (weighed myself before the run), so I dropped 6 pounds of (mostly) liquid during today's nearly 2 hour jaunt. After 22 miles on Sunday, which took around 2:40 or so, I had lost 8 pounds. What I've noticed is that if I run 90 minutes or more, I lose about 3 pounds of liquid per hour, or a pound every 20 minutes.

I can skew this a little if I stop half-way through a run and down an entire water bottle (which I've done), but even then the results are only off by a pound at the most (and sometimes not at all). The point is I really need to pay attention to hydration during the summer months, and too often I come back into the house and only have one glass of water before jumping into the normal routine with the kids. I know drinking enough is old news, but if it helps me recover faster and better it's still worth mentioning.

As far as family matters go, Finn is now a bonafide walker and has all but given up crawling. Some kids are pretty cautious and really have to be coaxed into walking, whereas Finn just jumped right into it. Being higher up offers him much more in the way of leverage when it comes to doing his favorite things, like pulling his sister's hair.

Training: 16 miles, 7:14 pace, legs a little tired at the start


angie's pink fuzzy said...

six pounds, that's a lot! the most I've been down (that I know of, I don't weigh myself every time) is three pounds.

Yay for walking Finn!!!

Greg said...

It gets humid in Arizona? I never knew that (it's a dry heat..blah blah blah).

Mike said...

You calling me a liar Greg?? Kidding. During the summer monsoon season (which started this week and will last into late August), things get downright sultry around here. Check this out-

06 Jul 4:55 am, 74 degrees, 67 dewpoint, and 79% humidity according to the National Weather Service log.

It's dry the rest of the time though so I shouldn't complain too much. Oh, and you can wear shorts every day.

Mark said...

humidity is what we have here! uughh dripping "high tech" fabrics on all the long runs.

Your mention of water loss peaks my interest to run a test on my own, that's interesting stuff--keep it coming.

Love2Run said...

6lb! Doesn't sound like you carry water or stash drinks on your longer runs. I sometimes lose 3-4 on my long runs up here in Canada and that's with 30-50oz of drinks as well. Don't know how you survive!

Dusty said...

You should be a wrestler dropping weight like that :)

Humidity.. you have my sympathy.. 91% yesterday (lovely Texas). I miss the dry heat of Arizona. I remember monsoon season.. they say it rains about 30 days out of the year in AZ.. pretty much the entire month of August.

Good job on the run. We'll have to remind you about today when it gets to January and you are frustrated by the frozen water fountain. hee hee!

Thomas said...

6lb! Now that's a massive amount of water. Doesn't that have a big impact on your performance? Now where was that article again?

Found it at

Have a look.

Mike said...

Thanks Thomas, I could not remember where I read that before about the dip in performance, I should have known it was Pfitzy! From the article: "It is not unusual to lose 3-4 pounds of water per hour when running on a warm day. At this rate, after 2 hours a 150 pound runner would lose 6-8 pounds, representing a 4-5% loss in bodyweight and a 10-15% decrement in performance. That's about an extra 1 minute per mile. Losing more than 4-5% of your bodyweight, however, could do even more serious damage to your body."

So yesterday's 7:14's were really 6:15's? Now I feel much better. Kidding. Let me make it abundantly clear- while I don't eat breakfast anymore, I do drink at the minimum 40 ounces of water before a two-hour run and often a little more. I don't go out there trying to kill myself or anything.