I'm sure you've heard by now (especially since Western States was cancelled) but there's a lot of fire and smoke going on in Northern California lately. Wednesday I could smell smoke in the air when I was driving to work. Yesterday I had planned to run just 3 miles to give my shins a test after a few days of NSAID assault. There was definitely smoke in the atmosphere because the setting sun was a glorious orange-red ball. There were a lot of people out taking pictures of the sunset along the beach. My lungs felt okay though my eyes were burning.
Today I was hoping to get 16 miles done. I woke up and checked the air quality report. The San Francisco area was at 74 which meant that "unusually sensitive people should limit prolonged outdoor exertion." I don't have asthma or any lung problems so I figured by that standard I was okay to go for a long run. I opened up a window to gauge the temperature and was hit with a scent that can only be described as "campfire." I hummed and hawed over it for a bit but couldn't differentiate if my reluctancy to get out and run stemmed from smoke or laziness. So I suited up and got out the door.
When I arrived at the lake there was a father with a young son getting bikes off the back of his truck. Well, if parents are willing to let their kids inhale this stuff it can't be that bad! I got started. In San Francisco it's hard to tell if all the haze is smoke or fog. I'm hoping it's a mixture because if all of the haze was smoke I had no business being out there 74 or not! At mile 2.5 I had to take a walking break. From that point on every half a mile or so I had to walk. My legs felt good but my lungs were not cooperating. I felt a tightness in my chest whenever I tried to take a deep breath. I decided to finish up the lake loop and called it quits at a little over 5 miles which is the mileage I was hoping to do on Sunday.
I decided it would be better to postpone the long run until Sunday. Checking the Air Quality forecast it now seems that the air should be back to normal on Monday. So I'll have to wait and see how it goes as far as what day I'll be able to get out for a long run. The problem with these fires is you have no idea really if things are definitely going to get better or not. Who knows if my difficulties today stemmed from the smoke or just an off day, but I didn't want to take any chances.