I have now run in different countries and each one has had its own special skill requirement. In America it was running up hills – Big hills!!! In Mexico it was so dry and desolate that water was a huge issue. In Costa Rica it is humidity. I thought I had experienced humidity before but nothing compares to here. Today I am in Uvita and it is 30 degrees C with humidity of 77%. The Accuweather app says that it feels like 46 degrees C and I think I concur with them. I started my warm up walk at 8am this morning and before I had even started running I was sweating profusely. Within half an hour my shirt and shorts were dripping sweat and even my running shoes were starting to squelch. With the humidity and the sweating there come added problems.
WATER- I drink a lot of water every day and some days up to 5-6 litres just while running. When the sweating get this bad I need to carry even more water and that in turn adds weight. Recently I have been lucky and have had freezers each evening. This has allowed me to freeze 4 litres of water each night which then melt during the morning. In the humidity I need even more water and I need to take supplements to help with salt and mineral loss. I have to admit I am bad at this!!!!
CHAFFING – I have been pretty lucky with chaffing so far on this expedition but with my clothing so wet it is becoming more of an issue. The area between my legs is getting rubbed raw and apart from Vaseline there is little I can do to stop it while I am running. This adds a new mental dimension as I need to ignore the pain and just run through it. I have found that if I allow it to make me run differently then I get problems in my knees etc. Once I have stopped I can clean, dry and air it and it normally heals enough to start the process again the next morning.
LOSS OF APPETITE: We have all experienced the feeling of not being hungry when on holiday in hot countries. Normally this is great and we just eat less. However, when you are burning on average about 5000 kcals a day you need to make sure you are replacing them and giving your body the best chance of recovering for the next day.
LOSS OF ENERGY: In hot and humid climates we feel lethargic and that is definitely something I am experiencing. It is probably the result of most of the above but wow does it make the hills even more difficult. When you start running up a hill pushing a fully laden stroller with sweat cascading down your body and the sun beating down on your back the mental battle definitely gets harder!
SUN BURN: We all know we should wear sunscreen – Baz Luhrmann told us as much… But sunscreen, sweating and being alone does not make for perfect sun protection. If you apply sunscreen to your face it will end up in your eyes and your mouth and believe me it is not pleasant. At the moment I am relying on a hat to protect my face. Then there is the body. When it gets so hot that my top is soaked through and I want to take it off I have to be careful about sun burn as I can’t apply sunscreen myself and there is never anyone around to ask for help – not that they would want to run sunscreen onto my sweaty body!
All together it can be pretty challenging but when you are running through the beautiful tropics it all seems worthwhile!!!