- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 26, 2009

The temperatures turned fast, from morning chills to the 90s.

The late Michael Conrad, aka Sgt. Phil Esterhaus of “Hill Street Blues” fame, said it right: “Let’s be careful out there.”

This is the time to hydrate - before you are thirsty. My high school track coach’s motto was: Every time you see a water fountain, drink from it whether you are thirsty or not.

It would be best not to run in the heat of the day and under direct sunlight. There are hundreds of excellent shaded parks in the area. Learn where they are and use them. Temperatures can be five to 10 degrees cooler in the shade, and softer surfaces are better on the body.

Learn the difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke, two major heat-related illnesses that occur when your body can’t keep itself cool. Sweat helps cool your body as the air temperature rises. But on hot, humid days, the evaporation of sweat is slowed by the increased moisture in the air. If you do not sweat enough to cool your body, your body temperature rises sometimes to dangerous levels and can fry your brain.

With heat exhaustion, you may feel weak, dizzy or worried. You also may have a headache or a fast heartbeat. Heat stroke can follow, and can kill. Not only can you suffer from the same symptoms as heat exhaustion, but add muscle weakness or cramps, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting, confusion, fever, seizures or a possible coma.

If you stop sweating, stop running immediately and get help fast.

National in the news - The Running USA Road Running Information Center annual marathon report mentioned the National Marathon as one of the fastest marathons in the nation by median finish times. Race organizers at the National deserve credit for putting time limits on their event, with the 2008 edition having a 3:58:01 median time.

National had one of the highest percentages of male finishers for a marathon at 69 percent.

National also was mentioned in a study by Potomac Runners founder and mentor Phil Davis, whose analysis of the best races by value is posted at tinyurl.com/dyy4uq.

The National Marathon costs entrants just $3.24 a mile ($85/26.2), making it one of the lowest-cost area races. Compare that with Sunday’s GW Parkway 5K at $11.29 a mile ($35/3.1) and Race for the Cure at $12.90 a mile ($40/3.1).

Boston notes - Michael Wardian usually tops area finishers at the Boston Marathon, held last week, but not this year. That distinction goes to 23-year-old Daniel Nally of Warrenton, Va., in 2:29:08.

Wardian ended in 2:30:50. His half-marathon splits were 1:10:40 and 1:20:10, and while the first 59 Boston male finishers ran the tougher second half slower than the fairly downhill first half, Wardian’s slide was particularly severe.

“I was struggling today,” Wardian said. “I always think I’ll do so well because I do so well in so many races leading up to Boston, but maybe I’m tired. Maybe I wasn’t as recovered as much as I could have been, but that’s who I am.”

Wardian ran three marathons in March, two of them between 2:22 and 2:23, and an eighth-place, top-American finish at the four-day, 125-mile Marathon des Sables in Morocco a couple of weeks before.

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