Tropical Sun Ain't Nothin' to Phơ Wit

Before I left for Thailand, I mentioned to Bonnie - who’s been here multiple times - that I was bringing my running shoes. “You’re going running? In Thailand?”, she asked, incredulous.

“Sure.”, I countered, “I’m living there. I’ll have to. Running is a thing I do.”

“Maybe in the early morning,” she offered, “But it’s gonna be hot.”

I’m guilty of magical exceptional thinking on a regular basis. You know, the kind that goes, “yeah, sure, that happens to people, but it won’t happen to me.” I’m from the desert. When I visited my sister and nieces before heading out, I went for runs, mid-day, literally through saguaro-filled desert. Ok, Thailand was hot. I’d be fine. I like heat.

I headed out for my run, just as a thunderstorm was clearing up. I’d found a theoretical little loop of about 5k, mostly non-major roads. Piece of cake. I can run 5k in my sleep.

Not in Thailand, I can’t.

For the first three miles, I was just oh so grateful I’d spent my last six months in Portland training in parkour. There wasn’t a single level step in any of those miles. Jump up to sidewalk, jump down to gully, duck a tree, jump over puddles, jump over grates, hold balance on a thin line of slippery mud between traffic and a ditch. Without parkour, I would have fallen flat on my face into a giant muddy puddle more than just the one amazing splat.

But the terrain wasn’t the challenge.

By mile four, (those who are doing the math in their heads will correctly note that four miles is rather more than 5k), I’d met the real challenge: that promised tropical sun. I’ve never been anywhere, anyway that hot. My core temperature was way too high, and I could feel those familiar pin-pricks of goosebumps - the first warning signs of heat stroke. I stopped in the shade, but somehow, that was even hotter - the heat left my body, and with no moving air, just stayed there. I was drenched in sweat, but it didn’t cool me even a little. The only way to get any relief was to just keep running, keep the air moving relative to me.

I made it home, immediately got in a cold cold shower, then, when even that didn’t work, headed out and climbed into the nearby pool until the water and I were the same temperature.

Lesson learned. The sun here is not the same. I know we’re all on the same little ball in space, but that is not the same star as we have in North America. Next time, more water. Maybe even early mornings. Turns out, it’s hot.

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