Out There: “It’s A Dry Heat”

Don’t let the weather stop you from lacing up your shoes and doing what you love to do. 

Phoenix, Arizona, is my city. I love everything about living here, from the amazing trails to the giant plates of authentic Mexican food which always hit the spot after a long training day.

Of course, I suppose there’s one little tiny issue: It is stupid hot outside.

Yes, Phoenix is hot. If anyone says “it’s a dry heat” in such a way that insinuates the heat is tolerable, you have my full permission to point out they are full of crap. In 100-degree heat, I sweat more than Paula Deen at a vegan restaurant. As the triple-digit temperatures set up shop for the year, my strange habits for coping with the heat have emerged once again.

Now that summer is approaching in Phoenix, I have to get up before the sun to have any sort of decent outdoor workout. My early-morning routine currently consists of pounding my rude alarm, shaking my fist angrily at the sky, and stumbling out the door for a dark run. Curse words are uttered no less than 17 times before finally starting my Garmin.

In the hottest months, I do what I once refused to even consider: I run without a shirt. In the past, I would quiet my need to be comfortable in favor of my desire to not have anything jiggly on display for the world to see. One day, shirt soaked with sweat post-run, I looked across the street to see my neighbor mowing his yard, shirtless, in all his 300-pound-hairy-backed glory. The next morning, the tech tees stayed in the drawer and Phoenix was introduced to my (very white) torso.

During peak training, when long runs require multiple hydration refills, I make friends with the clerks at all 7-Elevens within a 10-mile radius of my home. Not only do they let me refill my water bottles for free; they also understand that if I’m hiding behind their business, moaning “Oh, yeaaaaah…that’s what mama likes,” it’s because I just dumped a cup of ice in my sports bra.

Because Phoenix is in a drought-plagued area, residents are encouraged to conserve water whenever possible. I roll my eyes at houses with lush, full lawns instead of more environmentally-friendly desert landscaping…unless said lawns are being watered at mile 11 of my long run. In which case, god bless you, good homeowner, and thank you for not calling the cops when I ran through your sprinklers giggling.

When my run is finally over, I return home, exchange sweaty shirtless high-fives with my hairy-backed neighbor, and stumble into my living room. Dripping with sweat, 7-Eleven ice, and sprinkler water, I guzzle more water and collapse on the cool tile floor.

Yes, it’s stupid hot in Phoenix. But Milwaukee has crazy-cold winters, Seattle is constantly rained upon, and Louisiana has intense humidity — yet each city has a thriving community of endurance athletes who don’t let the weather stop them from lacing up their shoes and doing what they love. Get outside and enjoy this day.

And if you’re ever in Phoenix, let me know: I know a little place that serves the best post-run burritos. I’ll even put a shirt on for the occasion.


About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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