Just inland from Vancouver, BC, we have had a continued heatwave and growing drought. Here is a photo I took last week when running around campus.
This is how lawns are starting to look. One of the big differences between here and places I’ve lived in the US is that people save water and generally do not spend it watering lawns. Being a new runner, period, and now new also to summer running, my options are to adapt slowly but not go overboard. Other than one run on the treadmill a couple weeks ago, I’ve been getting up at 5:30 or so to run in order to beat the heat as much as possible. I get up, hydrate, and eat a light breakfast, then digest and wash up. I’m usually on the trail or path by 6:00 or 6:30 three times a week–looking forward to the normal summer weather that’s only in the high teens or low twenties, not this high 20/low 30s ongoing, rainless journey!
Despite these temperatures (which surely aren’t desert-comparable nor as humid as some fellow runners I know deal with), the early mornings are pleasant enough in the shade and until about 7:00 AM or so, when it starts getting a bit unbearable. By going early, hydrating enough, and all that, I was able to finish my 10K training plan on Wednesday morning, and have been continually breaking personal pace records in the past three or four weeks of heat. Still, other than a few hour-long runs on the last month’s weekends, I’m only doing 2-3 miles at a time, which is less than what I was doing in the spring. I am not really looking forward to getting up early tomorrow either. Also, like on Wednesday–a holiday–and on the past couple weekends, my husband and I (he’s on a binge of doing the “Coquitlam Crunch”), have run early and then walked another 5K or so to do various errands.
This walking is a result from a heart-to-heart we had a while back one night, sitting out on the balcony, drinking wine, and ruing the fact we have to drive at all. Fortunately, for us, even though we live on a quiet street with a view of Mt. Baker out front and a pad of cedars out back, along with a jungle of just now blooming blackberries and pink and purple thistles, it is only about a three block walk to the nearest main street and another kilometer from there to get to the start of a shopping centre as well as the local train and bus loop. Usually by the time we’ve done various errands (bank, haircut, fruit market, regular market, etc.) it’s about 5K walking tacked on to our earlier runs, which is a good way to get some exercise whilst also saving gas. So we can walk nearly everywhere we need to go. And though we currently have no direct access to the normal skytrain (we have a West Coast Express that goes downtown during rush hour on the weekdays only–nice that they also ran on the weekend of the Sun Run), the loop there is putting in an Evergreen line that will connect to the regular lines. This is supposed to be done in 2017. So in the future we will transit to work. Right now we carpool to the halfway point, where I head off to my job and where he takes the skytrain to the downtown area where he works. Not ideal, but things are looking up! (Not without the weird fact that the public is not supporting a small tax to help fund the transit system here.)
The heat does have its pluses. I love the heat, except for running and sleeping, and sitting outside in the evening is really enjoyable. Remember that people around here just really do not have air- I’m finally able to dry some green beans out on the balcony without the threat of rain (this is for making shucky beans, a southern tradition–google it–best beans ever). We also have company coming next weekend and have a rain-free forecast, good for some hiking and nearby swimming as well as dry nights for stargazing and sitting out on the deck with wine or beer, getting lost in the kind of family talks we have, reminiscent of our times back at the old house when Dad was alive, which I’ve blogged about a few times.
Anyway, now that I’m done with the 10K training I will do what I can in the heat–more of the same. By fall I will run the next 10K in November. We are building our Blue Dot Run Team and will raise money for solar energy projects in the Great Climate Race. By then, hopefully with a strong 10K under my belt, I would love to train for a half. I think the fall and winter will be just perfect for that! Can’t wait to run in cool weather again. By the way, it is hard to build a race team. Many of our friends do not run at all, and the first race we’re doing is inaugural and has a kind of high entry fee. However, my job, which has been full-time but temporary for almost three years, finally was regularized and is now permanent–and I have been talking with people on campus who run, along with a green team I volunteer with, so hopefully the running team will build over time! If you are reading this and want to run for the environment in the lower mainland, BC, just visit the FB page linked above or contact me otherwise.