Run Monster

Ice packs and AZ.

I’ve been in Arizona for the past few days and I have just one thing to say: Running here is SO DIFFERENT from running in Pennsylvania. There are pros and cons to running in each locale. Here are my observations:

First and foremost, humidity really bogs me down. I hadn’t noticed just how rough it had been running in 50+ percent humidity back in PA until I did a hill workout here in AZ. At 85 degrees and 10 percent humidity, I didn’t feel hot at any point during the workout. I also didn’t end the run looking as if I had jumped into a pool of my own sweat. I felt fast and powerful and energized, so +1 AZ for being dry.

On the other hand, a lack of shade and/or breeze on long runs in AZ is brutal, especially when there is no cloud cover. For every bit as awesome as my hill workout was that first day, my long run yesterday was the opposite. This time around it was 98 degrees, and the Peavine Trail, where I chose to do my 13 miles, meandered through some large, beautiful red rocks that provided absolutely no shade and blocked out all wind. The thing is, I can’t think of any other trail or loop in my area that would have been much shadier (I live in a rather ‘shrubby’ area), and it just hasn’t been very breezy anywhere.

The Peavine Trail, Prescott, AZ Photo credit:

The Peavine Trail, Prescott, AZ
Photo credit:

So, I felt like a chocolate chip cookie in an oven. Things started out okay, but less than halfway through the run I realized I didn’t have enough water with me to outlast the heat. There was no escaping it, and with no opportunity to refill my water belt, I had to turn around at 5 miles and call it a day after only doing 10 of the 13 requisite miles. I still haven’t fully rehydrated yet, nearly a full day later. For having trees and shade, +1 PA.

If I’m being honest though, I’m not enjoying summer running very much in either place. The shorter runs have been great (mostly), but every run over 6 miles has been miserable. In the future I may give up on training for fall marathons and use the summers to focus on getting faster in the shorter distances.

I’m now faced with the conundrum of whether to ‘make up’ my missed miles or cut my losses. After this weekend, I am 7 miles in the hole. I was considering just going out again today and doing all 7 of them, but I think I need a day off. Or maybe I’ll do 4 and then tack on a mile or two on each run for the rest of the week. Gah.

On a more positive note, I had success last week with making my own homemade ice packs! Due to my leg and foot problems, I was going through ice like crazy. I was constantly refilling my ice trays, and the ice mold I have produces large cubes that didn’t always fit nicely along my foot. I saw on Pinterest a few months ago a ‘recipe’ for homemade ice packs and I finally got around to making them! Let me share:

Homemade Ice Packs:

4 1-quart Zip Lock Freezer bags

1.5 c rubbing alcohol

1 c Dawn dish soap

4.5 c water


Directions: Mix the liquid ingredients together in a bowl until well-combined. Put half of the mixture into one zip lock, and the other half into a second zip lock. Be sure to zip the bags shut with as little air inside as possible. The bags should be about 3/4 full of the liquid, so that when they are laid on a counter, they are about 1 in thick.

Put each of the filled bags zipper first into the remaining zip locks, making sure to get as much air out from the bag as possible before zipping it shut. Put into the freezer until frozen all the way through, then enjoy!

CAUTION: These ice packs get VERY cold, and it is essential that you have a layer or two of fabric between you and the ice pack when you use them (unlike in the picture!). You will find that they are pleasantly malleable though, which is great!


-Run Monster


2 comments on “Ice packs and AZ.

  1. Lina
    July 8, 2013

    First of all, *BIG HUG* – I’m sorry you had such a crappy run. But as you well realize, 10 miles is a ridiculously long run in and of itself, and running that in a supersunny, shade-less environment is HELL.

    But, I’ve been thinking of a comment to leave here ever since I read this entry earlier today at work.

    Okay, I know it’s super cheesy, but I kept coming back to this quote (/idea) that I read in Haruki Murakami’s novel What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (amazing read btw), which I read (and LOVED) a few years ago:

    “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

    I think, at least for me, this has been one of those thoughts that has helped change how I’ve perceived running (and/or any) pain. Like I was telling you the other day, sometimes I just have to make Pain this “other thing” that’s *over there,* and I’m *here*, and I sort of like, remove it from me and my body, so it doesn’t take over my mind. And obviously, we all have bad runs, and sometimes they come two or three (or four) in a row, and it freakin SUCKS, and you convince yourself you’re damaged somehow, permanently…but a bad run(s) will NOT undo all the hard work you’ve put in beforehan. And unless it’s an injury or indigestion or dehydration, running pain usually means you’re doing something right! Can’t wait for our next long run together!!


    • runmonster
      July 8, 2013

      Thank you for reminding me of this and for the quote. I really like it, and I’m going to think about it from now on. I can’t wait for our next run (long or otherwise!) together!

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