Mile Markers: Running Through a Haze

Mile Markers: Running Through a Haze

Last week’s workouts were done in a literal haze. This week, smoke from the wildfires in Canada and Eastern Washington descended upon the Seattle metro area, filling the normal blue skies of summer with a thick haze and significantly lowering the air quality. By mid-week, our air quality registered worse than that of Beijing – certainly not good conditions for running. I’ll run in a lot of conditions – cold, humidity, rain, snow – but not unhealthy air quality. 

I’m incredibly grateful that we aren’t affected by wildfires like we were last summer – or like California currently is. Wildfires are absolutely devastating. Sure, they aren’t fun to train through, but what upsets me the most is knowing how many peoples lives are being completely thrown into upheaval. 

Monday: 7 miles easy

 I ran Ollie for 7 miles along our normal easy day route, thanks to a cooler mornings. At first, I thought it was simply foggy out, until I caught a glimpse of a red sun peeking through the clouds. Sure enough, more and more haze descended upon the area throughout the day.

Mile Markers: Running Through a Haze

Tuesday: 6 x 3 minute intervals (7 miles total) & strength training

The wildfire haze was worse on Tuesday morning. Haze blanketed the skies and the smell of smoke tickled the nose. However, the air quality was within the moderate zone, and it still wasn’t as bad as last year when ash rained down upon our cars overnight. It certainly wasn’t ideal running conditions, but it wasn’t in the dangerous zone yet. 

With the wildfire haze came stagnant air and high humidity, but at least the temperature was reasonably mild. I knew I could complete my workout outdoors just fine, especially if I focused on the hard work and not the weather conditions. After a 15 minute warm-up, I ran my 3-minute repeats on a half-mile loop. My intervals were all within the 6:22-6:28/mile range, covering 0.46-0.47 mile. The workout flew by, even with the oppressive haze! 

Mile Markers: Running Through a Haze

The gym was packed when Ryan and I went to strength train, so I adjusted my workout based on the equipment available.  I ended up with a pretty good strength workout, even though I couldn’t do all of the exercises I wanted. I finally progressed the height of my box jumps, even with fatigued legs.

3 sets of 10 kettlebell swings (35 lb)
2 sets of 8 kettlebell single leg deadlifts (I intended to do 3 sets, but a barbell rack opened and I seized the opportunity)
3 sets of 8 barbell push presses (45 lb)
4 sets of 5 barbell back squats (65 lb)
3 sets of 10 TRX inverted rows
3 sets of 5 box jumps 
3 sets of 10 deadbugs

Wednesday: Rest day

The air quality has worsened to the unhealthy zone, so I opted to rest on Wednesday in hopes that it improved after another day. 

Mile Markers: Running Through a Haze

Thursday: 6 miles easy

A thick haze still lingered over the sky early in the morning and I wasn’t sure if it was fog or smoke, so I ran on the treadmill just to be safe. Surprisingly, the treadmill wasn’t that bad. I set the display to show moving scenery and the incline to vary automatically. 

Friday: 12 mile long run

Sometimes a less-than-ideal long run happens. I had planned on 13 miles with the last 3 at half marathon pace. I chose a route with a few steep climbs and by the time it came to pick up the pace, I just couldn’t sustain it at the appropriate effort. I called it a day at 12 miles and figured I would try again next week. 

Saturday: 5 mile run

A brief respite from the smoke meant that we could take Ollie out on a run. The poor guy had been cooped up for most of the week and had excessive levels of energy that our apartment could not sustain for too much longer. Ryan, Ollie, and I enjoyed a run along the river, giving us all an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors before more smoke rolled in on Sunday. 

Sunday: Pilates

With wildfires spreading throughout the Cascades, we opted not to hike. Instead, I did a 20-minute Pilates workout, which felt so rejuvenating after the week of running. We spend the rest of day cleaning out our garage and watching movies as more smoke rolled back in.

Mile Markers: Running Through a Haze

[Tweet “A week of half marathon training through hazy weather via @thisrunrecipes #runchat #weeklywrap “]

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13 Responses

  1. Sorry to hear about the wildfires! I’m glad you’re not directly affected but it doesn’t sound like ideal running conditions at all. We have had lots of thunderstorms here this summer but luckily they haven’t come through during the times i would run in the mornings too often.

  2. It’s so scary how many wildfires happen and the extent of the damage. I’ve seen the smoke haze while visiting my brothers in Idaho and Oregon and I thought it was fog at first too. Hopefully there will be some relief soon.

  3. I can’t imagine how bad it was where you are since the smoke and haze reached all the way here to Connecticut!! It’s insane and, as you said, just horrific for the people who are suffering through or fighting the blaze. For us it’s an inconvenience but for the them it’s life-changing.
    I’m glad you were able to power though or hit the treadmill and so glad you called the long run quits. Sometimes it’s just not working but I know it’s hard to stop instead of just being stubborn and push though so good for you! Hope this week is better for you and the fires!

    1. My mom told me it reached all the way to St. Louis, I can’t believe all the way to Connecticut – it really is bad! Hopefully it calms down this week, especially for those stuck in the middle of it all.

  4. It’s nice that you were able to adapt your workouts depending on the conditions outdoors! Our air quality hasn’t been affected by the wildfires, but we do have haze from them.

    1. That’s crazy the haze is reaching all the way your way! I used to think Lake Michigan winters were bad, but at least you can be outside and I find myself wishing for those winters now – it’s so bad here that we can’t spend long outdoors.

  5. The haze here had mostly stayed in the upper atmosphere until this weekend – now we have unhealthy air conditions as well. I will generally run as long as conditions aren’t dangerous, so of course smoke is out, as is ice.

  6. Great sensible work there: glad you got a nice lot in. And 12 miles is 12 miles, right? Hope the smoke clears both for the poor people experiencing the fires and all the people trying to live their outdoor life under the path of the smoke.

  7. Sorry to hear about your pool air quality. At least your were able to spend time outdoors on Saturday even though you couldn’t hike on Sunday. Do you notice the dogs acting differently when the air is bad? We’ve never had to worry about air quality from fires. The one thing I don’t like is running in is lightning. I’ve been caught out in it a few miles from home before and it is really scary! Thanks for linking!

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