We are in Oklahoma for a family reunion. Most of my husband’s family lives west of the Mississippi with many of them in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Arkansas. (My in-laws were from Cherokee, OK.)
I knew it tends to be hotter out here in the plains states than it is in the midwest — the reunion we attended in Kansas a few years back was toasty! But it has been averaging a high of about 110 degrees the last few days. I don’t know if I have ever been outside in 110-degree heat before.
Though I am in the middle of half-marathon training, I knew I would not be able to do my long-slow mileage this weekend. I just could not see walking by myself for a few hours when we are here to visit family.
Yesterday, I decided to head out a little early. We have been up late visiting each night, so there was a limit to how early I could reasonably get up. So about 8:00 I was out on the trail with a water bottle strapped to my back with a plan to walk for at least 30 min straight out.
|This hill felt like a mountain after 28 min
walking in the Oklahoma heat.
This park really is beautiful. The paved trail goes on forever through thick trees, beside the golf course and past the riding stables toward the main road. There are plenty of side loops around campgrounds, so you could easily do 20 miles here if needed.
It was a little warm, but I tolerate heat a bit better than many of my walking friends. I was not worried. As I approached the golf course, two different herds of deer ran across the trail in front of me. Beautiful!
But, there was no shade near the golf course and it started to feel hot quickly. My goal was 30 min before turning around. As I progressed, there was shade and no shade, little tiny hills that started to feel like mountains and almost no breeze. After only 20 min I wanted to quit! Let me just point out that it has been years since walking only 20 min could make me so exhausted. Even though I know it doesn’t help, I kept looking at my watch every 30 seconds. With 2 min to go, I was at the bottom of a mountain (in reality a slight incline) and nearly stopped — 2 min, I thought, I can go up this mountain for 2 min! I made it to the top!
So proud of myself, I turned around to head back. It was getting hotter by the minute. And as I walked it felt as if there was less and less shade! I started crossing back and forth on the trail to get even a couple of steps in shade. About 10 min from the turnaround, I could not even keep my arms bent anymore — they just hung limply at my sides. There was no attempt to even fake racewalking form, I just needed to finish.
My water was nearly gone as I passed the golf course again and reached a section with tons of trees and lots of shade. By the time I rounded the tennis courts and walked toward the doors of the lodge, I was exhausted! It took 35 min to come back, but it felt as if it took a lot longer than that!
It was not nearly 110 degrees when I finished but it was in the upper 90s. From this trip I learned that Ohio heat is nothing compared to Oklahoma heat.
Note to self: In the future, when traveling to Oklahoma, walk early — VERY early!