Dealing with the Heat

One of the questions I get asked is: How hot is it going to be?  Usually followed by: I’m sorry, you said how hot?  How are you going to cope with it?

By July, we should be seeing temperatures of 110 to 120 degrees (just checked the weather for Badwater, where we’re starting, and by Friday, May 4, it will hit 105 and pretty much stay there for as long as AccuWeather projects out).  Here in St. Louis, by contrast, it will be about 85 degrees, which is warm for running, but a bit shy of the temps I’ll be experiencing.  If you saw my Twitter pic, you’ll know that I’ve started heat training.  In fact, I just finished 5 days of it, spending 100 minutes a day getting ready.

Since we can’t do much about the air temperature, I need to get my core body temperature up.  I’ve done that by dragging a heater into my exercise room and getting the temp up as high as I can.  The combination of cooler mornings and a very small heater means that so far, I’ve only topped out at 82 degrees for a high, but it’s enough for now.  I then put on my “fun pants” which are neoprene wetsuit pants, and a winter compression shirt on top.  Over that, I’ve started to add another layer on top, and then the always fashionable and extremely comfortable silver PVC suit (top and bottoms, no tie) over that.  Then it’s just a matter of getting on the treadmill and not passing out for an hour and 40 minutes while drinking about 40 ounces of sports drink.

I’m only going about 3 miles an hour at this point on a 3 degree grade, so I cover about 5 miles and gain about 800 vertical feet. By contrast, from mile 42 at Stovepipe Wells to mile 59 at Townes Pass, I’ll climb 5000 feet in 17 miles (about a 5.5% incline) and in the last 12 miles to the summit (miles 134 to 146), I’ll climb 6,145 feet (about a 10.5% incline, but at least it will be cooler!).  Before we go out there, I’ll do two more of these heat training sessions, but for 10 days in a row rather than 5.

Why not use a sauna? I hear you ask.  Two reasons: 1- A steam sauna isn’t a realistic environment for the dry heat of the desert, and 2- A dry sauna, at 160 degrees, is actually too hot.  Good question, though.

What’s the biggest challenge?  Again, thanks for asking.  The biggest issue I have to deal with is boredom.  Being on a treadmill for that long, I try to read or watch TV, but SportsCenter repeats itself every 30 minutes and I still haven’t mastered walking and reading at the same time. So apart from catching up on a few e-mails, I don’t do much there (plus my iPad is not waterproof, and I tend to sweat a bit).  I’m usually doing this early in the morning, so the best part is when my son wakes up and has his pre-breakfast with me (usually laying on the floor or with Mom, not on the treadmill).  It does mean we end up watching Thomas or Chuggington, but it makes the last 30-40 minutes a lot more enjoyable, and reminds me why I’m putting myself through this!

The impact

Did you know that every dollar invested in early childhood education can return up to $16 over the lifetime of that child(1)?

Children like Kirby and Reed*- two of our students profiled on the SouthSide Early Childhood Center site.  Here’s a bit about them:

*Names and certain details have been changed to protect confidentiality.

February 10, 2012

These two brothers, ages 4 and 3, have attended SouthSide since fall 2010, and they have made amazing progress in so many ways! When Kirby hops around his classroom pointing out the letter “K” on all the signs and says, “That’s K! It’s in my name!” it’s not just cute – it’s amazing. Sixteen months ago he had no English vocabulary and very few words in Spanish. Today he is talkative and has an extensive vocabulary in both languages.

Watching Kirby build a train track and drive the five-car train cooperatively with his friends brings a big smile to his teachers, Miss Jackie and Miss Alisha. When Kirby started at SouthSide he could not play with peers for five minutes without dissolving into tears or lashing out. He just couldn’t figure out how to express himself any other way. Thanks to the hard work of his teachers, help from specialists and parent support, Kirby can tell his friends how he feels. Sometimes he reminds his classmates, “We use soft touches!” Miss Jackie says Kirby is a great problem-solver in the classroom.

Read More about Kirby and Reed by clicking here!

The education and experience our children have at SouthSide not only gets them ready to enter Kindergarten on an equal footing with other kids, but because of the comprehensive programs offered, both for the children and their parents, there will be:

  • Higher rates of attendance at 4-year colleges and employment in higher-skilled jobs
  • Significantly lower rates of felony arrests and symptoms of depression in young adulthood
  • Increased earnings and tax revenues because of higher-skilled jobs
  • Averted costs related to crime and savings for child welfare, special education and grade retention.
  • More stable families- With their children in school, single parents can find better jobs.  Also, once their children are ready to graduate, we help them choose a kindergarten based on theirs and their child’s needs.

The $16 for $1 ratio holds for the annual costs of nurturing and educating one child.  By helping us build a new building, which will hold 140 children EVERY YEAR for at least the next 50 YEARS (based on our track record of fiscal responsibility and building to last), think about the returns on your dollars invested in creating this great structure!

Study led by University of Minnesota professor of child development Arthur Reynolds in the College of Education and Human Development. 2/3/11

Now, like me, you may be more visual, so here’s what we’re trying to accomplish.

We want to continue our evolution from our humble beginnings in 1886:






And where we are today- a building we have occupied since 1953:






To the future:





What we can’t lose sight of though, is the impact it will have on them:


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