My Running Super Power and Kryptonite

I’ll admit I stole borrowed the idea for this post from a fellow blogger who wrote on the subject several months ago, which you can read here if you’d like. In response to her post, I wrote that my superhero power was the ability to judge distances when I’m running (I’ll have a number in my head and check my watch to see if I’m right, like a game when I’m running) and my kryptonite was my weak stomach especially before running races.

For those of you that might not be Superman fans, this is from the superhero character “Superman,” who has superhuman strength and other abilities, but he also has a serious weakness. He is from the planet Krypton and when a rock from his homeland comes anywhere near him, Superman is cripplingly weakened. If someone asks you what your “kryptonite” is, they mean what’s your weakness.

Anyway, I was intrigued by that blog post and thought it would be a good prompt for a post of my own. I filed the thought away and then promptly forgot about it until I was out on a run recently. While I am pretty good at judging distances when I’m running, I think I have an even better answer for a superhero power, my ability to adapt to the heat.

Screen Shot 2019-10-03 at 3.49.48 PM.png
From Street Fighter V; perhaps an exaggeration

This past summer seemed hot and humid as usual but I noticed pretty quickly into the early weeks of “official” summer that I wasn’t struggling so much when I would run outside. This is nothing new to me; I feel like I’ve always been better at adapting to warm or hot weather than cold weather. I’ve often joked to others around me if I’m hot, it must really be hot outside or in a room.

Being able to adapt quickly to hot weather is a definite advantage when you live in the South like I do and often have days in the 80’s and many days in the 90’s as well during the summer. Of course the flip side of those hot days means the winters are mild and we usually only see snow once or twice each winter. Sometimes the snow just melts as soon as it hits the ground so there’s not even any accumulation. I absolutely despise cold weather so no or little snow is a great thing in my book!

If you’re going to run a fall race, like so many people do, that means running through at least part of the summer. The better you are at adapting to hot weather, the easier time you will have making your goal times for speed sessions and for just being able to put in the miles. As much as the treadmill is better than not running at all, there simply is no substitute for running outside, either.

Running in Hilton Head, South Carolina during the heat of the summer

Are there ways to help your body adapt to hot weather? Sure, the usual like gradually increase your time spent outside (it takes about two weeks to acclimate to hot weather), drink cool water and/or electrolytes before you go out and bring some with you if you’re going for an intense or long run, and wear hot weather appropriate clothing. Some people also put ice cubes in their hats or sports bra before they run. Honestly, though, some people’s bodies are just better at adapting to hot weather and they may never be able to completely change that. Some people are also more efficient at sweating, which helps cool you off.

So, yes, if I was a running superhero, my power would be the ability to withstand extremely hot weather. The downside is I have a weakness toward cold weather and especially cold, dry air but that’s not my true kryptonite when it comes to running. My true kryptonite is my weak stomach before races.

I’ve been known to throw up before many a half marathon. You would think after running 49 half marathons plus a marathon and random other distances to round off to around 56 or so races, I would be over the nervous stomach before a race. Nope. I still get at least a little nauseous before each and every single race and sometimes I go from the verge of almost throwing up to the full point of actually throwing up.

Sure, I’ve tried all of the mind tricks before a race like telling myself how much fun I’m going to have. No pressure! Just have fun! I still feel sick. I visualize the course after actually driving the course the day before. I practice other imagery like me crossing the finish line or just running on the course. I’m still sick. I practice meditation. I make sure only positive thoughts cross my mind and I dismiss any negative thoughts. I’ve tried not eating solid foods before a race, just drink my calories. Nope, nope, nope. Nothing works, so now I just know that I’m going to feel nauseous and that’s OK. That’s actually normal for me. I embrace the nausea.

What about you guys? What is your running superhero power and kryptonite?

Happy running!




Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

19 thoughts on “My Running Super Power and Kryptonite”

  1. Really interesting post! I’m so sorry about the pre-race naseua. As an aside, have you ever tried some ginger? Just wondering.

    Adapting to heat is definitely NOT my super power. Nor is judging distance. I would have to think about what mine actually is. Probably stubbornness, LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I run sprints, not distance. My kryptonite use to be just talking myself into running sprints. It never sounded like a good idea, but once I got out there I enjoyed.

    Now I don’t even have that issue anymore. It always sounds like a good idea, so no kryptonite for me.

    My super power is related to the above: running sprints always sounds like a good idea for me. Or another way of putting it would be I truly enjoy running sprints. I think that’s a pretty good super power!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great question! I think my superpower is probably similar to yours. While I don’t mind running in the cold, I can tolerate the heat better than most runners. My kryptonite? I have to pee about half a dozen times before each race. Kind of embarrassing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I much prefer the heat. I ran my Boston pr the year it was so hot.
    Living in the Boston area I have to endure the cold. And here cold can be below 0. So I guess my kryptonite and super power are the same as yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I didn’t know you’ve got such bad pre-race nausea, Donna. Having been through a week long bout of nausea, the memory is fresh of how difficult it can be to feel good with that. And yeah, nerves induced versus travel induced are two different things. Do you drink coffee before you run? Have you tried to leave that out? (I can imagine you have).
    I’d say I have a lot of running super powers 🙂 maybe my greatest one is interval training. Nothing makes the miles go by more quickly! Some people hate intervals, I love them, and am stronger for it. My kryptonite is ignoring the competition. My brother used to hate running with me, because we’d see someone running ahead and I’d always pick up the pace to beat them. I have gotten better at this since starting my streak, because I’ve learned I have to think more long-term, but having things like people in front of me, missions, or training plans often causes me to ignore what my body is telling me, which has led to a fair share of injuries.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I have a pretty weak stomach in general and have since I was a kid, so it doesn’t take a whole lot to set it off. I don’t drink coffee at all (can’t handle that much caffeine) but even though I have a cup of tea a couple of days a week, I don’t have any on race day.
      You can tell by your race times that intervals are your super power! I’ve learned to like them, although I didn’t always feel that way. I’ve definitely come to appreciate them over the years, though. That’s tough to ignore the competition but you’re right, it’s not always in your best interest.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a neat post! I would say my superpower would be maintaining a consistent pace while running hills/being a strong hill runner. Case in point – last year I ran the Indian Rock 10k, a flat out and back course on the rail trail in 48:48. About a month later I ran the Springettsbury 10k, a very up and down looped course with a challenging hill within the first 2 miles in 49:03.

    I would have to think on my true kryptonite… possibly my weakness on running trails as I’m clumsy and fear falling on steep downhills or maybe in line with my superpower, my inability to break the same pace while running a flat course so that I can run it faster. I also struggle with refueling soon enough after a hard/long run as I find I often have no appetite and this usually results in a headache later in the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From what I’ve read about your races, it does seem like your superpower is your ability to run up hills at a strong, consistent pace. I admire that about you because it’s something I’ve always struggled with. I can see how being fast going up hills could lead to problems on flat courses.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it is for most people. I know I’m not like most people when it comes to heat, but then I really struggle in the cold. My daughter will go out in the winter for a run wearing a tank top and shorts while I have a pullover and pants and a hat!


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