Who’s the drama queen you are probably asking. In the past I would vehemently deny any accusation of being a Drama Queen. But, I have to admit it. Drama Queen? Yes that would be me!
Usually I take no notice of all at the weather when planning my exercise sessions. 4.30 am in winter – no problem. 3pm in a summer heat wave – no problem. Rain – it’s only water, and once you’re wet, you’re wet. My mindset is to do what I have to do at the time that suits me. Usually that’s early early morning before work or after work. Yesterday, as I set off walking, my mind was focusing for the first time ever that this was the day that exercising could actually cause my death. I seem to spend my whole life justifying to others why I exercise. And particularly why it’s such a big part of my life. The simple answer is that I love it, I need it, I would be lost without it. And couldn’t function properly without it and yes, it will always be part of my life. Probably even when I’m on a walking frame. So for these reasons, until today, I’ve never been inconvenienced by weather conditions.
But yesterday Miss Drama Queen was on my shoulder when I went for my Camino de Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage training walk. First of all, I have to say that I had worked all day for 7 hours. On my feet all day. In a hot kitchen. Busy, busy. Happy. Chirpy. I knew that to keep to my Camino training plan, I would have to walk 20k. On a day when the temperature was 40 degrees here in sunny old Bendigo! Also I needed to carry a weighted back pack.
So at the hottest part of the day, off I set, lugging the training backpack on my back, containing 5k gym weights. Already, hot, bothered, and tired, I can’t really say that excitement was what I was feeling. The feeling was more along the lines of – lets get this done and quickly.
In no time at all, I was dripping sweat along the walking path, heaving, and feeling like I might die. My thoughts went to a young friend who died about 15 years ago, while out jogging. She was super, super fit, a fitness freak, experienced jogger, and only 30 years old. But she chose to jog on an extremely hot day. And it killed her! Firstly I told myself I’m not superfit and I was walking not jogging. But it was extremely hot! . My heart rate was sitting on 160 bpm and didnt want to drop. Being of “older years”, 160 is my maximum heart rate. I know that it isn’t a good idea to sit on your maximum for an extended period of time. Its ok to spike it but generally it is safest to exercise at 60-75% of your maximum heart rate.
I finished the 20k in a slow, slow time of 4 hours. I cannot tell you how happy I was when I turned into my street and saw my house! Staggered inside, wrapped wet towels around my neck, drank what seemed like litres of water and waited. Waited to die right there and then. After having a little Drama Queen moment, I realised that my heart rate was falling very quickly and only took a few minutes to come down to normal. This tells me that whatever Im doing, it must be right, as the fitter a person is the quicker their heart rate will drop back. That thought calmed me down, and actually pleased me.
Not bad for an old girl – soon to be a senior citizen
**Please note: I should also say please don’t do what I did. Ít wasn’t clever of me and I felt dreadful while out there in the sun. It’s definitely not the best idea to exercise in the heat & I won’t be going out again in extreme heat like this to train.’Next time I will organise my training times a little better.