I’ve been practicing the art of sweating.
Yes, the first thing I am going to admit to everyone is that I am a sweater, and I could only wish I meant the knit kind. There has been an over-abundance of sweat this week. Almost as if I were wearing a knit-sweater while I ran.
Spring slammed into the San Francisco Bay Area faster than I could consider trekking to Kaiser* to pick up allergy medication, so there has been sneezing to contend with along with my body re-acclimating to spring-time sweat. Perhaps sweat is not the most flattering topic for a first post, but it came up yesterday in a conversation with Kristin, my perpetual running buddy, and it seemed appropriate, topical and universal to the every day runner.
The sweat from a runner is different than any other kind. My internal cooling system kicks into gear before I have finished lacing my running shoes, priming my body for the journey ahead. Less than half a mile in, my forehead and underarms glisten. By mile two, the nape of my neck drizzles at a steady pace, and somewhere between miles three and four, there is a roaring river flowing down my chest. After that, all parts of my anatomy are fair game – legs, elbows, feet, hips – I’m pretty sure I frighten children and little old ladies as a jog by. Runners sweat everywhere.
The thing is, Kristin commented that she noticed she sweats more now than she used to (as we were running up a fairly steep hill).
Me: How long ago does ‘used to’ mean?
K: Almost a year now.
Me: Hm. When did you start running?
K: Almost a year ago.
Ah-ha. Kristin, like myself and the masses of people who pick up any sort of fitness, discovered the frustrating and unlucky truth about running and sweat:
The more physically fit you are, the more you sweat.
A little Google research brought me to About.com. According to About:
“An athlete who has adapted to keep the body core cool during exercise will shunt blood to the skin’s surface more quickly and release heat from the body. At the same time, the sweat glands increase their output and thus cool the body during sweat evaporation. While fit people produce more sweat than sedentary folks, they lose less sodium, because more of it is reabsorbed by the body. The result is a more efficient cooler.”
No About, the result is looking like a melting snowman and knowing no person has felt as unsexy as you do right in that moment.
Of course, the re-surfacing of spring just means the low-cloud coverage Kristin and I were used to running in has made way for blue skies, muggy air, and about 50% more of that personal snow melt. Global warming, schmobal warming. This runner is warming at a much more alarming rate.
*I’d pay a pretty penny to have the Kaiser Thrive marketing campaign’s spokesperson, Allison Janney, speak commandingly yet calmly convincingly into my iPod while I run. Best. Marketing. Campaign. Ever. Besides Budweiser’s Real Men of Genius.