You ever watch the Indianapolis 500 and see Jim Nabors belt out “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the start? It’s very powerful, I get choked up every time I hear him sing it and I’m from Iowa! But I think Ol’ Gomer should have named the song “Back Home SWEATING Again in Indiana”, because that’s what you do in Indiana this time of year.
On my first morning in Indiana I woke up to 70% humidity and hot temperatures…then it got worse. By Monday the temperature was 99° and 68% humidity making the heat index 116°. Oh sure, we have 116° days in Arizona but in Indiana it’s miserable, really miserable. It feels like you can cut the air with a knife the humidity is so thick. But I have a training schedule to follow so off I went down the gravel road. I was soaked in less than a mile. I don’t mean sweaty, I mean really soaked, as in dipped in a swimming pool soaked. As I poured water into my body it came out through my skin just as fast.
When I finished I stood on the patio and the sweat ran out of my shorts and shirt. This picture was take after standing for just a few minutes. After 15 minutes the sweat was puddled under me twice this size but had been reduced to a fast drip, I was either cooling down or running dry, I wasn’t sure which and didn’t care.
The humidity and high temperatures weren’t the only fun I had in Indiana. After being told they hadn’t had any wood ticks yet this summer I found one on my leg within 5 minutes of my arrival from the airport. For the week I ended up with 6 wood ticks, 5 crawling up my leg and one I didn’t catch crawling up my leg and found on my butt when I showered after my only trail run of the week (all my other runs were done on gravel roads). And wood ticks weren’t the only bug problems I had.
On Wednesday I drove to Shakamak State Park to run on the wooded trails. Shakamak is a beautiful piece of property. Fueled on 3 helpings of homemade ice cream and 2 slices of farm fresh from the oven peach pie the night before I was excited to burn some calories in the woods. It started out great, then 1.5 miles into the trail the park ranger must have run out of mower gas. The trail went from 6′ wide and clear to 2′ high in overgrown weeds. Not one to let a little poison ivy threat stop me from running I charged forward through the woods. This might be a good time to tell you that being the first person (in more than several days I’m sure) to run on a wooded trail in Indiana is an invitation to run through a labyrinth of massive cobwebs. I didn’t see a single one but ran straight into them about every 50 yards or more for over 8 miles. Ugh… Anyway, I finished my run through the weeds thinking I’d be covered in poison ivy by the next day. After telling my mother-in-law she immediately handed me the bleach and told me to go outside and cover my legs with it. So I stood on the patio splashing bleach water on my legs and arms then letting it dry in my feeble attempt to kill the poison ivy. The next day my legs itched so bad it was driving me crazy but there were no signs of poison ivy. After not sleeping well because of it that night I woke up to spots all over my legs and on top of my feet. But it wasn’t poison ivy, now I’m told I have chigger bites. The only thing I can do is cover them with nail polish to kill the chiggers. That was Thursday morning, I still have nail polish on my legs on Sunday that I can’t get off. And of course it didn’t help because it wasn’t chiggers!? I’m now down to thinking the 20+ bites that itch like crazy are spider bites. Some have swelled and blistered (under the nail polish of course).
There were good things that came out of my running experiences in Indiana. I got to bed at 12:30 a.m. this morning from our flight home late last night then woke up at 4:00 a.m. to run. I honestly think the desert has never looked more beautiful to me than it did today. And the 83° temperature I wasn’t enjoying when I left last week now felt like a cold winter day compared to what I endured for the week in Indiana.
To update my last post, my leg still shows signs of swelling in the left calf muscles but I have no pain at all so it isn’t a problem. My weekly mileage is good at the moment but I’ve struggled getting in my long runs on the weekends. Right now that’s the only thing I’m going to concentrate on, making sure I get my long run miles up to the 25+ mile range over the next couple weeks. Those are the most important runs I do so I have to make them the highest priority from here on out.
Until the next time have fun and be safe.