Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Formula Run footrace scheduled for Nov. 3 at Circuit of Americas track

Pam LeBlanc, Fit City

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Cars won't be the only thing speeding down the new Circuit of the Americas racetrack when it opens in November.

At the Formula Run on Nov. 3, humans will get a chance to streak down the twisty, $300-million track under construction in southeastern Travis County.

Runners will make one complete lap of the hilly, 3.4-mile course, starting and finishing in front of the grandstand, said race director Paul Carrozza, owner of RunTex.

The run will give the public a glimpse of the track two weeks before the 2012 Formula One United States Grand Prix unrolls there Nov. 16-18.

"It's a beautiful road for high speed," Carrozza said. "It's the perfect running surface for a road race, and it'll be very exciting to be out there and see the property for the first time."

Beyond the Nov. 3 event, the track will provide a new option for Austin event organizers looking for a place to stage foot and bicycle races without creating traffic jams on downtown streets, Carrozza said. It also offers a site already equipped with restrooms, parking and seating that doesn't have to be set up for each race.

"It's pretty exciting," Carrozza said. "It shows that this a community place. It's not going to be just for car racing, it'll be a great thing for the endurance market."

About 5,000 athletes are expected for the debut run, which Carrozza plans to make an annual event.

Registration is $50 at www.runtex.com.

Stay safe in hot, hot heat

Compared with last summer, we're chilling on ice here in Austin this year. But that doesn't mean you don't need to watch for signs of heat exhaustion, especially if you're exercising outdoors.

If you're exerting and it's hot, take note if you start to feel wonky. Symptoms include confusion, headache, dizziness, cramps, nausea, pale skin, profuse sweating and a rapid heartbeat. Left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can damage the brain, heart and other organs and even cause death.

Interestingly, heatstroke is neither caused by dehydration nor prevented by hydration, unless you are so dehydrated you can't sweat, says Dr. Pierre Filardi, a longtime runner and medical director of the Livestrong Austin Marathon.

"Heatstroke is simply the production of heat by exercise versus your body's ability to dissipate heat," he said.

If you notice symptoms, get someplace cool, like an air-conditioned building, the shade or a pool. Remove any tight clothing, wipe down with an icy towel or sit in front of a fan. If you don't feel better soon, contact a doctor.

Heat exhaustion can sneak up on you, even if it's not baking hot outside. Each year, medical professionals at the Livestrong Austin Marathon treat athletes who report to the medical tent with body temperatures of 107 or higher, Filardi said.

"105 and up is considered a medical emergency, and they need to be packed in ice immediately," Filardi says. If the body temperature rises above 108 degrees for 15 minutes or more without treatment, the chance of survival is 10 percent.

Kids and the elderly are especially vulnerable to heat exhaustion.

Tips for avoiding heat exhaustion:

¦ Exercise early in the day, hydrate sensibly, stick to the shade when possible and wear light-colored, breathable clothing.

¦ Acclimate yourself to the heat by easing into it. Don't just dash out the door on a 100-degree day and try to put in a 5-mile run if you haven't built up to it. Spend some time just walking in the heat, and then start with short runs so your body adjusts.

¦ If you don't feel well, stop and cool off.

"When the heat and humidity are high, we have to be really wary about any exercise that's going to exceed one hour because you're much more likely to get dehydrated, overheated or, if you're drinking a lot of water, hyponatremia (too little sodium for the amount of water in the bloodstream)," Filardi said.

Contact Pam LeBlanc at pleblanc@statesman.com or 445-3994 Twitter: @fitcityleblanc