I made the mistake of running in 80+ degree weather today. I took the necessary precautions (sunscreen), and I felt fine during the first few minutes. My house felt nice and cold, so I decided to run in the afternoon instead of waiting until dusk. I figured it might be nice to break a sweat and wear a pair of shorts.
I was wrong.
Slowly, but surely, the run became progressively unbearable. I started to compare the thickness in the air to body heat. It felt like I was surrounded by seventy, very large, sticky, warm men. I felt claustrophobic. I could hardly breathe. I felt like I was running in slow motion. Every song on my running playlist irritated me. Who put Robyn on there? Is this Roots track always this annoying? Why did I find this Clash song so catchy before? I get what I give, New Radicals? Is that right? If I have to listen to one more rap song…Shut up, Taylor Swift.
This went on and on.
I wanted to throw my iPod. I decided that I would rather hear music than listen to my own breathing (if we can call that breathing). I only had eight minutes left. I tried to think about the new novel I’m working on—where will I take it next? Should I use chapters to break it up? Immediately, my crazy alter-ego voice took over, “who cares? It’s a thousand degrees out here! Go inside before you have a heat stroke. You’re not built for this!”
Seven minutes left.
I wanted someone to lock me in a freezer and throw away the key. I couldn’t tell whether I was sweating or if the sunscreen hadn’t dried yet. Was my scalp getting burned? Was my hair lightening?
Trying to con your brain into thinking about anything but what you don’t want to think about can be tricky. Typically, I’m pretty good at it. Today, however, every thought was tainted with the overwhelming heat. I wasn’t catching a break. I thought about the different doshas. I really have no Pitta in my dosha. I hate humidity and heat. I could live without the sun, most likely.
See, these are the thoughts that helped get me through.
I really didn’t think I would finish my run, but I knew I had to. I told myself that if I didn’t finish, I would run every day of the summer during lunchtime. That way, I would feel the extreme displeasure of the sun and humidity for the next three months. Of course, any rational person would keep running to avoid this horrific idea.
Another, more levelheaded, reason that I decided to keep at it, was for the people who cannot run. I’m a hypochondriac and always fear the worst. I’m terrified of MS and I feel awful when I read about people who have it. I feel for anyone that can’t run, period. More specifically, I hate that there are actual people that literally, physically cannot run. It irritates me to think about. Last fall, I couldn’t run due to shin splints. Shin splints and serious disabilities are not at all comparable, but I couldn’t run without excruciating pain.
Not everyone is lucky enough to put one foot down in front of the other. My own dog was recently injured. She wasn’t able to get up the stairs. Lucky for her, she’s only fifty pounds and I could lift her up. Her favorite thing is running, though. She’s better now and with any luck, she’ll be running in no time.
My point, however, is to run.
When I first started running, I would ask myself one question: does it hurt? If it didn’t hurt, then I had to channel my inner Kenyan and carry on.
So, did it hurt?
My brain hurt. I felt uncomfortable, but my legs still worked. My heart was still beating.
Thankfully, I finished my run, skipped the cool down (oops!), and went inside. I plastered myself on the dining room floor and drank 28 oz. of water. With my limbs sprawled out and the fresh, cold air enveloping me, I tried to focus on my shin exercises (failed miserably). The overwhelming feeling of having overheated took away from my usual elation from a good run. So, I can’t say I felt accomplished or anything. I was just glad I didn’t die right then and there.
I also promised myself that I will be running in the evening from here on out. Unless the temperature drops below 70, I won’t be doing that again. A nice upside was the ice cold shower after drinking water. I forgot how refreshing cold water feels. It’s almost like being in a pool, except you know you’re not floating in pee and the water is cleaner.
Running is great to relax and clear my head. Unfortunately, that idea is lost on me when I can’t concentrate on anything but the minutes left.
I’m going to inscribe that on my shoes.