Heat Wave? What Heat Wave? Two Ways to Beat the Hot Summer Weather into Submission

Relaxing by the pool isn't for everyone,
though it sure is nice!
It's been hot. Like, of the record breaking variety. It's the type of penetrating heat you can feel in your bones. You've walked a block in the sun and you're gasping for air, clinging to every inch of available shade. It's been really, really hot.

Though relaxing poolside is nice, it's not always an available luxury, especially in Philadelphia. I had two awesome opportunities to get out and play despite the heat last week, and though I sweat more than I've ever sweat before, both were great ways to get my mind of how uncomfortable the weather was. They were great reminders that attitude is everything, and if you're adequately prepared (read: hydrated), playing outside in the heat can actually be fun! Of course, then our air conditioning broke, but that's an entirely different story.

Trail Running in the Wissahickon

The Wissahickon on a beautiful, cool fall day...
not at all like what we dealt with!
The first came in the form of an activity I usually don't have much affinity for - running. Joe Petrusky, head coach at Crossfit Love, took us out to the Wissahickon for a trail run and MovNat sort of workout on one of last week's hottest most humid days. We've focused on a bunch of unique and fun ways to take the strength, endurance and agility we're all developing at Crossfit Love out into the world, including rock climbing, and a trail run was the perfect fun endurance workout.

Temperatures topped 100ºF at 6:30pm, but a group of us jumped, ran, picked up logs, climbed over and under obstacles, and nimbly bounced our way through the Wissahickon woods for an hour anyway. I felt more free, more liberated, than I have in a long time. It's incredible what a little bit of fun running around outside will do for a cranky disposition, particularly if said disposition has been stuck inside!

We parked in the small lot at the intersection of Forbidden Drive and Lincoln Drive, then took off running. Head coach Joe Petrusky and endurance coach Justin Doran led us up rocky mountain bike trails, across giant concrete pipes, and down steep hills all the while mixing in Crossfit movements. I downed at least a liter of water afterward in the parking lot, but it was the most fun I've had exercising in ages.

Kayaking the Batsto River

Our crew near the end of the journey on Batsto Lake.
My second opportunity to get out despite the heat was on a recreational kayaking trip with TerraMar Adventures. I'm all for running rapids and being in white water (though I've never tried), but there's something to be said for sitting in a boat on a gently meandering river without a care in the world.

Fellow guide Lauren planned a fun day for us on the beautiful Batsto River in the Wharton State Forest, one of New Jersey's best kept secrets. Our group of ten rented kayaks from Bel Haven Paddlesports, loaded them onto a trailer attached to an old school bus and were off on old forest service roads to our put-in at Quaker Bridge. My last visit there was on a backpacking trip!

It took our group a little over four hours to get back to Batsto between taking breaks to swim, eat and hang out along the river. Having the option to bail out of the boat every time the sun got a bit too oppressive was amazing. The trip wasn't physically challenging, but was the perfect way to spend an incredibly hot day. Finishing it off with a pint of gelato didn't hurt either!

The bottom line - really hot weather doesn't have to keep you from doing the things you love to do as long as you're prepared. I almost didn't go on the trail run because of the temperatures, but by making sure I was adequately hydrated and by listening to my body, I was able to go and really enjoy it. Of course, it's important to make sure you're well versed in the signs of dehydration, heat stroke and other related issues. But the heat doesn't have to stop you!

What are some of your favorite ways to beat the heat?