Hello, loyal friends and blog readers of the world! I hope you are all enjoying a fun, relaxing weekend!
This is my last weekend in Los Angeles before I head back up to San Francisco next Saturday, and I will write the words that I never imagined writing: I will miss this place. My experience in LA has been so different this summer, and I have really been having a blast. I will not miss sitting in traffic for hours at a time, a smoggy skyline, and the distinct absence of parks. I will, however, dearly miss the friends I have made down here and some of the more beautiful parts of LA. I will definitely come back to visit soon!
My weekend started a little prematurely with a lovely trip to Santa Monica on Thursday afternoon. After I finished my classes for the day, I hopped on to the 10 heading east (see what an LA girl I’ve become?!) and found myself in beautiful Santa Monica. I enjoyed a relaxing walk on Ocean Avenue with a friend and took in the gorgeous scenery. After a long day in a building with no windows, it was the perfect adventure!
Palm trees on Ocean Avenue
Roses from the rose garden on Ocean Ave
Santa Monica beach!
After my walk, I returned to my car feeling rejuvenated and relaxed.
And then I proceeded to spend 90 minutes driving from Santa Monica back to my neighborhood. Upbeat mood: shattered. Stomach: grumbling. Note to self: do not take Wilshire Boulevard heading east during rush hour. Lesson: learned!
About a week ago, a heat wave hit Los Angeles, and it is still going strong! It has been in the 90s in my neighborhood and downtown where I go to school. I used to be a cold-weather girl through and through, but I have to say that I am loving the heat this summer. Ever since I lost weight, I have had some major body temperature issues, and I now tend to be freezing all the time. The heat down here in LA is perfect for me! There has been one challenge that I had not anticipated, though: adjusting to running in this kind of weather.
I have been learning lessons the hard way a lot recently! On Friday, I came home from school around 3 and quickly changed my clothes and headed outside for a run. I had been looking forward to it all day and I was determined to get in a good 5 or 6 miles. After about .25 mile, however, I realized that I was in for a doozy. The temperature was in the 90s, and I was completely unprepared. As I dragged myself through the exposed, unshaded streets of LA, I mentally created a list of tips and tricks for running in the heat. With that in mind, I give you…
A Foggy Girl’s Guide to Running in Hot Weather
1. Wear a hat! I have extremely curly hair, and while some “curly girls” can definitely pull off hats and look stunning, I have never been one of them. Vanities aside, a hat–preferably a running hat with ventilation and mesh–is a must-have on hot days. After my run on Friday, I popped into Big 5 Sporting Goods and bought an UnderArmour running hat. I may look silly, but it made a huge difference during Saturday’s run!
Me in my sweet new running hat
2. Bring water! Even if you’re just planning for a few miles, it’s very important to stay well-hydrated on hot days. I run with my Camelbak backpack, and I try to steal sips of water whenever I’m waiting for the light to turn. Some runners prefer hand-held water bottles or hydration packs, and some clever ones hide water bottles along their running route. Find a good hydration method for you!
My Camelbak backpack
3. Stay in the shade! Back home in San Francisco, it’s usually so chilly out that I always try to run on the sunny side of the street. Here in LA, I’ve found that running in the shade is the way to go. Try to stay off of exposed, unshaded streets, as being in direct sunlight can quickly zap your energy.
4. Wear breathable clothing and sunscreen! In San Francisco, I am not particular about what I wear when I run, but proper clothing is essential for hot-weather running. Many big-name brands like Adidas, Nike, Russell, etc. make shirts and shorts of great wicking materials that absorb moisture and keep your body cool. During my trip to Big 5 on Friday, I also purchased a wicking Russell t-shirt and some clima-cool Nike running shorts. I was cool and comfortable during my next hot run. Sunscreen is also incredibly important! I wear an oil-free, sweatproof kind that I apply to my face and neck before every run.
New, breathable t-shirt and shorts
Another wicking t-shirt and shorts
5. Be kind to yourself! During Friday’s run, I felt absolutely horrible–slow, exhausted, and drained. I told myself that I would make it through the run no matter what, but I changed my expectations for myself. I had planned to do 5 or 6 miles, so I decided to only do 5. I didn’t focus on my pace as much as I usually do and I just let my body do whatever it felt most comfortable doing. The results actually weren’t too shabby:
Friday's run stats
By being kind to my body by scaling back my mileage and not pushing myself with my pacing, I was able to feel good about the run afterwards.
The bottom line about running in the heat is this: when it gets hot outside, stay safe and do what feels right to you! Running in the heat isn’t impossible–it’s just another challenge to work through. I know these tips sound simple, but they really helped me on my second hot run on Saturday. I wore my new breathable clothing and running hat, brought my Camelbak backpack, and tried to stay out of the sun as much as possible during my run. I was able to run faster and farther than I did on Friday; more importantly, though, I felt much stronger and more comfortable than I had the previous day. When it comes to running in the heat, little things can make a big difference!
The whole ensemble for Saturday's run
Saturday's running stats
As soon as I return home to San Francisco, I will most likely need to create A Foggy Girl’s Guide to Running in Cold, Foggy, Dreary Weather! For now, though, I’m doing my best to embrace the hot weather and enjoy what’s left of my summertime in LA.