Run with a Mask or No?

I debated with myself a bit yesterday about how I would approach the morning. I needed to complete two runs by Sunday to stay on track with RunBet but the air and the heat this week have been unusually challenging. The sky has been red–the sun blocked by haze and smoke. I posted before and after my run on FB:

Today I will be running with a mask. Or, I guess I should call it, jogga-waddling. I’ll be moving as fast as I can for about 40 minutes. Then coming inside and washing the remains of someone’s worldly possessions off of my skin. 😬 It has to be done. The jog and the wash. I will be testing the theory that you should not run with a mask on. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

ON Facebook
Smoke occludes the morning sun in Sacramento, California, due to ongoing fires

#StrangeObsession #NotMinimizingIt #CaliforniaBurning

When I was out there, I had time to think. It wasn’t as bad I thought, getting outside about 40 minutes before sunrise. I did check the AQI and was well hydrated. And I got my run done. As promised, I reported the mask experiment on social media.

The morning run is done. What I learned: masks while running suck. Even lightweight medical office masks. About 5 minutes in, I had to take mine off. I felt like I was suffocating. I’d rather get a whiff of faint campfire than slowly choke on my own exhaust. Two, it’s wonderful to run in my neighborhood before dawn. No one was out. It was me and a canopy of trees. Divine. And three, the level of commitment I seem to have recently made to running is nothing short of surprising. I wasn’t able to talk myself out of it this morning. Now to dissect why that is and apply it in other areas of life. I think the key here is #commitment. In any event, hope your Friday is good and that you are safe wherever you are.


A friend of mine commented that he “wussed out” on his run today. I responded — barely recognizing myself. Who have I become? It’s mind-boggling.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought. If you keep an eye on the AQI and go when it’s clearing a little do to dew in the air, you should be fine. Depending on how long you’re going for, though! Plus give yourself permission to go slow and to tap out if you need to. I feel MUCH better now that I got ‘er done!

Final Facebook post for the day

Lesson for the day: #KeepOnRunnin

All I need is the air that I breathe…

After a couple of sleepless nights and a day off from running, I decided I had better get out there and run. I’m particularly a super committed runner, but when I have a #RunBet going (and I do at the moment) it is enough to make me push my limits. I knew it was going to be challenging with the record-breaking heat in the area, and now the smoky, ashy air quality. 

A little after dawn, I laced up and got out there. The air was still and generally thick, as it has been, but the sky was a goldish reddish color that reminded me of the Wine Country fires in Napa County in October 2017. We were there then, and it was not anything but stressful and frightening. 2017 had been my first up close and personal experience with fire.

I knew I was going to be slow, but as long as I got my minimum pace for the challenge, and my minimum time, I was good to go.

Few people were out. Even fewer than the recent hot days. We’ve had at least 5 days in a row of over 100 degree Fahrenheit heat. That’s not too big a deal if you know Sacramento and the valley. But the heat has been humid, with thunder and lightning (the lightning out of nowhere caused many of the fires) and that has been new.

I took it easy, but my adult daughter was out on the street looking for me. She had a bandana over her mouth and nose. She tells me, “It was bothering me, and I figure if I had trouble with the ash and air, you would.”

Surprisingly I wasn’t too troubled. I actually didn’t even notice the cars coated with white and gray ash until I came back from nearly 40 minutes of a slower zennish jog.

Here is my FB post shortly after I got back, with the photo above.

The car was clean, actually, yesterday. This is ash from the fires. And yes, I ran in it. Really slowly, but I got ‘er done this morning.

It’s amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it. My mind was set on running. Now I’m wondering if I did any damage. I hope not. But as there are no N95 masks to be had, I guess the damage is already done.

I’ll probably wait another day before I go out again. But I know that I will want to get my scheduled runs for this week done, as soon as I can, as best as I can.

I made a commitment. 


Outdoor Running in Record Heat

This morning at about 5 AM Pacific, I posted the following worry on Facebook :

OK, so water, a bit of black coffee, water. A bit of salt…I should be fine out there, right? I mean, I used to run in this kind of weather in Texas, in Basic, when I was in my 20s…and I only had heat stroke twice…at least we don’t have huge cockroaches like they do in Texas. Yeah, that’s how my mind is thinking this morning. You’re welcome.

It generated lots of comments from other runners, but the kick-self-out-the-door comment was this one:

Oh…and lightning was striking within a mile of us as well. Go.

Some observations from my not-so-fast jaunt for about 30 minutes of sweat were:

I didn’t see any lightning, but I did get out there. The air was thick and still. And already hot. We don’t usually get high humidity in my part of town, but now we evidently do. I didn’t get any rain, but I wanted some. I actually like running in the rain. Perhaps I’m odd that way.

Not a lot of people on the road, outside or in vehicles. I attribute some of that to the early hour. The sun dawned right before I got out there.

There were a very few joggers outside. Most moving slowly, like me, as if running through a sauna.

I ran by a house with a large pile of what I thought was discarded furniture in front of it. Turns out it was the entire HVAC, pipes and all, extracted from the house and on the street. I pity whoever did that work over the weekend. But hopefully the homeowners got a working system in.

No children, except one man pushing a running baby carriage. 

Anyone who was out there got a bit of respect from me. These are the serious, the fanatics, the “I can’t go a day without running” people. Surprisingly, I’ve become one of them. You figure it out. You hydrate. You salt up. And you #KeepOnRunnin

Stay cool out there, friends.

The Heat is On!

So this morning, I opened the door to check the local temperature and possibly open windows to air out the house. It’s already 82 degrees. At just barely 6 AM. It’s dark outside, and it feels like the dark hell you experience on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I didn’t find that part entertaining, and I don’t find it entertaining today. The air conditioner (thank goodness we have a decent one) is already on.

My concerns this morning are: rolling blackouts when they turn off power in some areas to protect the grid in others, and… my scheduled runs this week. Today, thankfully is a rest day. But my biggest worry is actually going and running in heat like this. It’s supposed to be this hot through Wednesday–even hotter actually. Some weather sites are predicting 110 degrees Fahrenheit! And I’m worried about getting my morning run in. I don’t even recognize myself. 😶☀️👟

It’s just a few words

I live in a great neighborhood. I laced up for my 5th run of the week and headed out. I was running on the street, crossing intersections. Usually there’s not much traffic but today there were a few folks turning left in front of me. An old battered truck not using a turn signal. And then a little red car.  The truck zoomed in front of me and I must have made a face as I continued across the road. I heard a woman’s voice come out of the red car, as it waited for me to cross.

“You’re doing great!” the woman shouted.

At first I was puzzled. Do I look like I need encouragement? And then I realized that the cheer did feel good, and maybe I should stop thinking about the person’s motivation in cheering me on. Thank you for the cheer. It was a nice thing to do.

And by the way, if you’re out there running or walking or biking or just moving more than you did before…you’re doing great!  Keep it up!

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