Monday, August 11, 2014

I Apologize For Making All Those Jokes About Texas Heat

Today was a two-run day.  Throughout the trip I have been running in the morning, and have been trying to do the most scenic route I can find.  Friday was along the horse trails at the top of Bryce Canyon. Saturday was along the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon, just after dawn, and I had to skirt around a female elk contentedly chewing on the grass at the rim.

My first run today was in Kingman, AZ, a major stop on the longest remaining portion of Route 66.  I didn’t see Elvis or any classic cars.

Our first stop was the Hoover Dam.  Rain made our stop short and gray, but the water was still its vivid turquoise color.  

We cut through Las Vegas on a sleepy Sunday morning, although it was probably still technically Saturday night for the city.  The last time I was here, several months after the Beijing Olympics, I ran into Michael Phelps at a nightclub in Caesar’s Palace just after 3 am in the morning.

Onward and hotter.

Down and down the valley goes, temperatures creeping up slowly but surely.  At 190 feet below sea level, Furnace Creek was 115, the perfect temperature for a run.

Yes, I have been notified by people close to me that I am “crazy” and “insanely stupid.”  I ran for 20 mins and that was enough and fairly enjoyable.  However, I can deduce by extrapolation that the Badwater Ultramarathon, which starts 17 miles from Furnace Creek and goes 135 miles to top of a mountain in the northern reaches of the park, would not be.

Totally cliche, but the heat really is a dry one.  Despite how hot it was, my sweat rate didn’t overcome the incredibly fast rate of evaporation until about 7 min in.  After about 10 minutes, I noticed that my feet were really hot.  I wasn’t doing myself any favors running in old racing flats.  The weirdest thing was that for the first few minutes my breath felt cool on my face when I exhaled.

After Furnace Creek you have a 90 mile drive out the west side of the park.  It's recommended you do it without A/C to protect your engine from the dual work load of cooling and climbing two mountain passes.

In Stovepipe Wells, The Tour Bus thanked us.

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