22 June 2009

Middle East = Desert = Hot, but it's a dry heat...right?

Um, well...in a word, no.Yesterday the high was a respectable 42 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit). Which, if the dry heat myth held any truth, would be hot, but bearable, particularly in the shade. However, the humidity peaked at 62%, bringing the heat index to about 48 Celsius (120 Fahrenheit). To be fair, locations in the Southeastern and Midwestern US consistently display about a billion percent humidity during the summer, but the temps still do not come anywhere close to 120 degrees. But, as you can see from the picture above, there was a noticeable thickness to the air; similar to walking through settling pudding (or so I imagine).

And then there was a sandstorm.

Past the sun's zenith point, I stepped out of the apartment on Wednesday around 5:30pm with every intention of beating the heat. Still well over 100 degrees, this first experience running outdoors in Kuwait was, well...hot.In effort to maintain my pre-Kuwait level of fitness and runner's physique, I have been working diligently to establish a 5 day running week (with 2 nonconsecutive rest days). Thus far, the greatest challenge has been finding the a good run time that avoids the intense heat (finding runnable roads coming in a close second [tons of vehicles, gigantic construction projects, sandstorms, requirements to stay off green space, etc.; see photos]). With an afternoon teaching schedule, there should be little to prevent me from logging early morning miles. Standing in front of the air conditioned classroom during the heat of the day is probably the best way to guarantee my outdoor presence during more runnable hours.
Thirty mind numbing treadmill minutes inaugurated my new training regimen. Considering that the temperature inside the apartment building's faintly air conditioned ground floor exercise room was around 95 degrees Fahrenheit with zero airflow, I made the bold decision to move my runs out of doors and into the Kuwaiti heat. Stepping into the sunshine at 7:30am this morning (markedly better than recent attempts at 5:30pm and 9:45am), I thought the uber-intense heat would still be a few hours away. Returning to the apartment 52 minutes later and having depleted my supply of sweat (I literally ran out of moisture for my body to perspire; hair, dry like a wire brush and skin sticky like a gecko's feet with running clothing crispy and salty like potato chips). I decided that runs should probably start a bit earlier. The perspiration in this photo did not occur until I began re-hydrating in the apartment. Silly runner.