Cesar Gamez: Take care of yourself when running in high humidity

This is my third writing, and it seems that time is passing by really fast. In my last diary, I mentioned my vacation days, where I traveled to a place where temperature and humidity were extremely high.

I did my race simulation July 15, and as expected, the temperature was over 95 degrees and humidity over 95 percent. After Mile 6 (on my way back), I tried the 7:30 pace, and I was not able to breathe due to the conditions. I had to walk for a while and went back on easy pace, kind of frustrated and soaking in sweat.

My next run was an easy one in the same weather conditions. I ran six miles at 8-minute-per-mile pace. I finished tired; however, I felt better and was happy to have my body acclimated to the weather. I was even happier when one of the hotel employees saw me and told me, “You were running fast. I saw you far away while riding the bus, and now you are here.”

I felt happy and motivated when someone makes comments of people when they see them making an effort to accomplish something. When I got back home, I was reading a sport magazine, and I realized the mistake I made in high heat and humidity.

Many of us are 10 percent slower in such conditions, so all that extra effort made my body fall apart.

Something that I also learned from reading about running under extreme conditions is that we need to be careful about the humidity. Since high humidity does not let our body cool down, our body starts heating up until we are in trouble, and our brain starts shutting down some systems like sending blood to the skin to try to cool down instead of sending it to the muscle in order to protect our body from overheating. This action causes our muscles to suffer the consequences by getting cramps or slowing down trying to protect from injuring ourselves.

Once I resumed my training at home, the running in extreme conditions paid off. My speedwork started, and I felt good. I was able to make my speedwork as scheduled, along with the tempos. I like to have my runs after work around 6 p.m. The temperature and humidity in Columbus is still high, but not as high as in my vacation place, so I was able to do my runs.

There is some left knee pain that has been bothering me, but when I feel a pain over 3 on a 10-level scale, I apply ice to feel better. I like to rate the pain in numbers and write it down in my running diary. A rating of 10 is when I am not able to run due to the pain. This rating is the way I have learned to keep myself from injures.

I have had three major injures that I do not want to repeat. The main injury was on my left hamstring when running a 10K in Charleston, South Carolina. I was running the Cooper River Bridge run, a beautiful race crossing the big Cooper River Bridge. I was running this race with a team from work that I put together and helped train. By Mile 5, I felt a pain on my left hamstring, but the pride of having the team and wanting to finish with them pushed me to keep running until the finish line, where I realized that I had pulled my hamstring muscle and had to rest for over a month without being able to run or walk normal.

Recovery from this injury was painful and frustrating. This is the reason why I listen to my body during and after every run, and make adjustments to my pace, even taking days off or doing easy runs instead of speed or tempos.

Running under extreme conditions during vacation paid off. I was able to do my long run of 18 miles in 2 hours, 26 minutes. My GPS broke during my run, and I think I ran some miles under my desired pace of 8 minutes because by Mile 15, I had to walk for a few minutes to recover my breath. During this run, I was happy to hear two people cheering me after recognizing my face. The first person told me “I am feeling motivated by reading your diary,” and the second one, “Good job on writing your comments on your diary.”

I have also received comments from colleagues at work. After my 18-mile run, I decided to take an ice bath from my waist down for 20 minutes, since it accelerates your recovery. It felt unbearable at the beginning, but after a couple of minutes, my body got acclimated, and afterward, it felt so good.

My long run is on Saturdays around 8 a.m., and I run from home to 25th street and get on the people trails to CEP (Cummins Engine Plant), which adds up to 12 miles. Then to get to 18 miles, I head north on U.S. 31. If you ever see a crazy guy running on U.S. 31 during sunny days, that might just be me.

As mentioned before, Columbus is still hot and humid, and I had to adjust my training on my hard tempo. On July 20, the temperature in the evening was still 95 degrees and high humidity. I was able to run only 6.5 miles instead of 8 miles. I had to get back by Mile 3, when I felt the heat, humidity and sunny day overheating my body. I had to remember to listen to my body, and I decided to get back on an easy pace.

I was scared a little bit after my run since I felt dizzy and my body sweating a lot so I decided to get in cold water to recover. We need to be careful running these days under these extremely hot conditions. Your body can overheat very quickly, and your health could be compromised. Please be careful out there during these hot days.

At a glance

This week’s training schedule for Cesar Gamez:

Monday: Easy run, 45 minutes

Tuesday: Eight repeat quarter-miles at 6:30 pace

Wednesday: Cross training

Thursday: Tempo hard 25 minutes at 7:15 pace

Saturday: Race simulation, six miles at 8:00 pace and eight miles at 7:30 pace

Sunday: Cross training