We've had an up and down summer weather-wise here in Chicago. First spring did not want to leave--and a cold spring at that with me wearing a fleece and being cold in June. Then it would rain or be gray. Or everytime I'd think we'd start to have a nice-weather streak that rain, cold or sun-less sky would return (and more often than not ruin my morning bike ride). But finally come August and we're having a peek at what we hoped June through September would have been all along with sun-filled days, clouds and rain at a minimum, temps that have you wanting to dip in the lake and more. Or at least sometimes during the month (it's been hovering in the 60s for the past few days).
A few weeks ago we had our first taste at 90-degree weather with a heat index in the 100s--something we apparently hadn't seen in Chicago in a couple of years. With that weather comes the reminder to stay hydrated, especially when working out. I'm a heavy sweater so the minute the temps heat up I start losing fluids. And if I don't drink enough I worry about starting to suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which often can be sparked by being dehydrated. The simple answer to avoid these maladies is to keep outdoor time at a minimum on these hot days and enjoy the air conditioning, but the last thing I want to do is have the weather messing with my workouts and fun outdoors. I think there are others out there who are thinking the same thing, right?
I let the hot weather get in the way of part of my workout on that hot weekend, but I wasn't going to let it rule out an outdoor workout altogether. When our first heat wave struck, the plan was to ride the Cenar Century out in Barrington
the date had been set a month before and my Spinning instructor organized the logistics and participantand we were all looking forward to distance, hills and a good challenge. But with rain predicted in the morning then clearing to high winds and high temps, we held off riding until the next day. Unfortunately that didn't sound any better, which had me fearing I'd get heat exhaustion while out on the ride, or would end up sweating off too much weight.
I bailed on that ride for that fear of overheating and having to battle strong winds, but I wasn't letting my choice keep me from doing something outdoors and opted to go mountain biking instead. It started off as a good idea
shade from the trees, not having to work quite as hard going at my own pace instead of keeping up with others, maybe even a little cooler without the direct sunlightbut ended up being just as hot. Thank goodness for the water I was carrying with me is all I have to say. I couldn't stop hydrating during rest breaks nor could I stop sweating (which made me want to drink even more). Seeing the sweat was a gentle reminder to continue drinking and then post-ride when my clothes were soaked through I knew I needed even more fluids. Let's just say that water was like my best friend that afternoon: finishing off my Camelbak, refueling at 7-Eleven, drinking glass after glass upon getting home. And then I was still thirsty the next morning! But at least I didn't get those pounding headaches, lightheadedness or even nausea that often comes with heat sickness.
Funny how now I'm thinking about that day and wishing there was another on the horizon--60ish degrees in August is no fun. While I don't have to worry as much about staying hydrated (I'm not losing as many fluids) those warm days are some of my favorites parts of summer.