April 09, 2008


I leave for Tempe tomorrow. In four days I'll be racing Ironman Arizona. There's a lot of nonsense bouncing off the walls of my cranium. Here are a few samples...

1. The weather: This morning I went to Accuweather.com and typed in "Tempe, Arizona" only to learn that on Sunday, the day I'm racing Ironman Arizona, the day I'll be traveling 140.6 miles under little-to-no shade, Tempe will be suffering from a 24 hour heat wave. Though temperatures this week are in the 80s and temperatures next week are expected to be in the 80s, temperatures on Sunday are supposed to reach 98 degrees.

2. Chicago Marathon: Due to unusually hot weather, one person died and 50 people were sent to the hospital at the most recent Chicago Marathon. It was only 88 degrees.

3. Sweat: Here's a little known fact for you, sodium melts at 98 degrees. When we sweat, we lose salt from our body. When you lose too much salt, you can suffer from hyponatremia. At it's most extreme, some of the symptoms of hyponatremia are seizures, coma or death, all three of which I'd rather not experience on my trip to Tempe. I've done a lot of online research and can't seem to find anywhere that lists a symptom as "Ironman PR". That said, if sodium is melting at 98 degrees and the air temperature outside is 98 degrees, that means the moment the sweat comes out of our pores, the salt dissolves. I suppose it's the heat equivalent of peeing outside in sub-zero weather. I'm not sure what it all means, but if the words "coma" and "death" are involved, I'm pretty sure it can't be good.

4. Fever: The average temperature of the human body is 98 degrees Fahrenheit. A change by more than about 1 degree indicates ill health. Again, I'm not sure what this means during the Ironman race, but it's probably not going to be listed in the "positive" column.

5. Calves, not the 'moo' kind: My doctor told me to apply heat to my calves before doing any exercise. That will loosen up the muscles, he said, and reduce the risk of injury. I'm hoping that the ridiculously hot outdoor temperature will be the equivalent of continuous heat on my calves, in which case, my fear of not being able to run the marathon just ratcheted down a notch. Let's put that one in the 'positive' column.

More to report when I get to Tempe.


Urban said...

Best of Luck on Sunday!!

I'm excited to read any reports you might have of the events leading up to the race, or about the race itself.

A said...

greetings from tempe! i just recently stumbled across your blog. its been funny and touching all at once. wanted to wish you the best of luck this sunday. all of us here in tempe are cheering for you!

jbmmommy said...

If the weathermen there are the same as they are here, bring a jacket in case it's cold. Hope the heat wave isn't as bad as they predict.

Best of luck for a successful race.

buff_tri_girl said...

In '06, I raced my first Half Ironman . As I ran through town (somewhere around mile 9), the bank thermometer said 95 degrees. Also realize that I was up north in the Finger Lakes region so the humidity was think enough to cut with a knife.
Did I mention Enduralytes?
If you have never used them and stick to the "don't try anything new on race day" rule. Screw it. Enduralytes.
At this same race, my friend had calf cramps and became nauseous in the water. He wasn't sure he could ride. For the first time ever, he used Enduralytes. He beat me.

Good Luck on Sunday!!

stronger said...

Good Luck! Don't think I'd recognize you out there but we'll be cheering nonetheless...in 98 degrees!

IM Able said...


Heat smeat.

You'll be fine. Drink your weight in something (really, anything will work...oj, guava juice, motor oil), praise the gods of natremia before hand (remember: face north), and throw a little salt over your shoulder for good luck before hand.

It's as easy as that.

TriGirl Kate O said...

Best of luck! You'll do great.

Megan said...

so i sort of wish i read this before the race, especially the salt and the calves part - those were my biggest problems. but, at least we didn't die, right?