Humid Running in Charlotte, NC
I knew I was in for a special kind of run when I stepped out of the airport in Charlotte, NC and instantly began to sweat. Clouds were in the sky and the sun could not be seen. It was maybe 65 degrees out. This seems like a runners dream come true right? Well did I mention it was basically a thousand percent humidity!!!!
Ok, maybe it wasn't a thousand percent, but it might as well have been. I could almost taste the air it was so thick. I just came from New York where everyone is still wearing winter jackets and snow shoes, and here I was looking at people in sandals, shorts and tank tops. I was excited and nervous all at the same time.
So my first tip for running in North Carolina, especially as the months get warmers, is to be prepared for some sticky air and slower than usual runs in the beginning until your body is able to adjust to the new humidity and temperature levels. I was only here for a few days, so I did not have time to adjust, but this did not stop me from getting my runs in.
Because of my work Schedule, I had no choice but to get my runs in in the night time. The air is actually thinner and cooler in the early morning times so if you are able to get morning runs in while here, I definitely recommend doing so. Running in the middle of the day would probably lead me to question your sanity. So night time was the right time for me.
My favorite night time run though was actually a 7 mile run that I ended up getting a little bit lost on. Keep in mind that I was actually about 10 miles outside of Charlotte so it's not like I was surrounded by buildings and street lights. About 2.5 miles into my run I discovered that the street lights were getting further and further a part form each other until eventually, All street lights were no where to be found.
I stopped to collect my thoughts only to discover a creepy and random log cabin on the side of the road. Now in retrospect, it was nearly 10pm at night and I am sure in the daylight, this cabin would appear as normal as any other. but I didn't know where I was, it was pitch black, and this cabin looked like something straight out of a horror movie. So what did I do...Well I walked up to it and took a selfie of course.
The clouds had cleared and the moonlight was shining bright. My eyes had adjusted to the dark, so I was able to continue my run. I wasn't going to let a scary old cabin ruin my run that night. After all, I had gotten myself into this "lost running" mess, so I was going to get myself out of it. So a couple of stretches later, and I was on my ray running down the road again.
The street I was running on was rather quiet with very few cars driving by. I did however have the luxury of a very wide sidewalk path to run on. Aside from the cabin, I never got that scared feeling like I was in an unsafe situation. In fact As I approached the 3.5 mile mark I eventually saw signs of life again as I came across a baseball field that still had its lights on! I was actually surprised to see this as it was so late at night and not a single person was on the field. Yet here it was, looking like it was ready to be played on.
I couldn't help myself, I walked down to the field and had an "If you build it, they will come moment". If you don't understand this movie reference...Well...you need to catch up on some movies!
Keep in mind I was not running at any kind of crazy pace. But you can see that I am covered in sweat, again simply because of the humidity in the air, even at the late hour. I can proudly say thought that I likely lost about 3 pounds in water weight during my two days of running.
After some pictures, and a few deep breath moments, I decided to find my way back to my hotel. This of course meant running past that creepy cabin again, but it was a necessary evil. I picked up the pace on my way back, which was basically a flat course the entire run. My body never got use to the humidity so the 7:20 pace I was running felt like It was a 5 minutes pace.
I made it back to my hotel alive and in one piece. I imagine the front desk person at he hotel questioned my sanity as I walked in at nearly 11pm at night covered in sweat. But who is he to judge my running needs. A true runner always finds time to run, even if it means finding random cabins, getting lost, reminiscing of old movies, and losing 3 pounds of water weight. A run is a run. In the end, I do recommend Charlotte and the surrounding areas for running as the public seems to be very accommodating and the pathways seem to be wide and clear.