Wednesday, 30 March 2011

It's getting hot in here!

It was round 2 in the Environmental Chamber at Northumbria University this afternoon following last week's "baseline" test. PhD students Jamie and Chris were on hand to oversee proceedings and take the usual set of stats and readings.

On the agenda this week was the same 4 cycle,  40 minute session that I'd done last week on the treadmill. This time however it would be done at 37 Degrees Celsius and 70% humidity!

As soon as I walked into the Environmental Chamber, the wall of heat hit me. It was like a sauna in there! I must say, though, that my first impressions were ones of great relief after having run so many miles during this very cold Winter. Remember Newcastle to Jedburgh dressed as Santa wearing 6 layers?

The first 2 cycles on the treadmill felt pretty comfortable despite the hot and humid conditions. I did notice that my heart rate was far higher than last week though. The effort I was putting in didn't seem to warrant that high heart rate.

The part of the test where I put the mask on was suffocating what with the temperature being so high. During the third cycle, as the speed increased, I could feel my head getting hotter and hotter. By the end of the cycle I felt quite light headed and decided to stop for 5 minutes. I actually tried to resume the test a little later but the same thing happened. 

There I was…..defeated and with confidence knocked. I traditionally enjoy running in high temperatures. Although today was a record high for me. I remember that there were some days in the high 20's during the John O'Groats to Lands End run back in 2007. I also enjoyed running 50 miles in Egypt 2 years ago. As remembered here.

Today's test was at a higher temperature and probably, more importantly, at a higher humidity than that which I'll be experiencing in the USA. Having just re-read my Egypt report, it is evident that the long runs over there took a bit of building up to. After a long and very cold Winter of running I was straight into the deep end today. What a shock to my system!

Next week is a test at an altitude of 11,300 ft. I suspect that particular test will go better than today. If all goes to plan, I'll be having another crack at this 37 degrees test the following week. I have that "beast" well and truly in my sights and will be working extra hard in training, between now and then, to get through it.

I can't finish off this blog post without giving a final mention to Chris (pictured) who appeared to be sweating more than I was in the Environmental Chamber. It must have been hard work taking those readings!

Thanks once again to Jamie and Chris for overseeing the session and for giving me a guided tour of the superb facilities at the Uni's Sport Central facility. The sprint track looked mightily impressive as did the climbing wall, the very grand main arena, the fitness suite and the many labs with hi-tech equipment installed.