Tag Archives: running in Atlanta

Still Hot

I haven’t written about running in a while. The thought struck me while I was, you guessed it, running this morning. There’s good reason for that, though: we’re under a “heat dome” here in the States, which sounds like some sci-fi contraption that focuses stellar energy to fry planets but in reality is just another yawn-snore weather phenomenon that conspires every once in a while to stick us Americans to the car seats even first thing in the morning, to burn out air conditioners with abandon, and to see how many of us will actually utter the phrase “let’s move to Canada” in the space of a week (the over-under has to be a million per city block).

The temperature hasn’t dipped below 74 in over a week, and that looks likely to go right on, so even though I’m back into running before sun-up, there’s no escaping the oppressive heat. It’s just there, waiting for you, like that crazy stalker ex that keeps going through your trash. You know it’s there, the way the mailman knows that slavering dog is hiding in the bushes, just waiting to pounce, or the way that I can turn on the TV in the morning and know that Trump’s campaign manager is gonna be there explaining that the entire country has, once again, “misconstrued” what the candidate (I almost wrote “his client,” as if he’s a beleaguered defense attorney) said.

But that’s life, innit? There’s no telling when the heat will break. But we keep running so that when it does, we’ll be the first to feel it.

The Weekly Re-Motivator: Nobody Would Blame You For Sitting This One Out

The first “official” day of summer just passed, and it feels like it. This morning I had one of those runs that lets you know summer is here to stay.

The sweltering heat, like a dragon peeking over your shoulder while checking your Facebook feed.

The oppressive humidity, like stepping out your front door into a Jello mold past its prime.

The stale, hot breeze, like walking through the exhaust cloud of a semi hauling boiled cabbage.

And all this at 5 o’clock in the morning, before the sun is up!

Firefighters, Training, Live, Fire, Heat, Waves

Actual footage from my run this morning. Not pictured: me, the charred husk just out of frame.

It was one of those runs that teaches you the value of a nice, long, cool drink of water. You get back to the house after five miles in heat like that, and you want nothing more than to jump in an ice bath and guzzle a few gallons straight from the kitchen sink.

And nobody would blame you for not running when the weather is like this. God invented air conditioning for a reason, right? Maybe it’ll cool off next week.

Still, the runner needs these runs. The weather is not always sixty-two degrees with patchy cloud cover and a cadre of angels following you around to blow cooling breezes up your butt. If that’s what you need in order to get outside, you’re dooming yourself to the couch with the rest of the schlubs who “take up running” for a few weeks in April. I see them twice every year — wheezing and puffing around the mall because they haven’t put in the work, they just sat around waiting for the perfect conditions so they could put in work.

Which is the same as a would-be author sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike while he binge-watches another season of The Bachelor, or the would-be dieter buying another week’s worth of chips and cookies and sodas because, well, with family coming in to visit this week, and that company bowling night on Thursday, this just isn’t the week to start dieting.

Make no mistake — weather like this is not fit to run in!

But we get out there and run anyway. Not because it feels awesome (though it still kinda can, once you’re crazy enough), but because it keeps us in shape so that when the weather is good, we can run free like a flock of gazelles bounding across the savannah, and not like a bunch of tubby, hibernation-starved polar bears trying to run down an elk. (Can a polar bear run down an elk? Sharknado.)

And we write anyway, even when the words flow more like syrup than like water, so that when the rare buffalo of inspiration trots by, we have the agility and the insanity to leap on that buffalo and ride it until we fall off from exhaustion. Without the practice, without the bloody-headed tenacity that writing every day teaches, we’d get bucked within seconds.

Point is, we have to put in the work even when the work sucks.

There’s always a drink of water at the end of the run.

This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results. This week’s post was very little about process, but it made me laugh anyway — deal with it!

First Fall Run

It’s the first day of Autumn, and that’s awesome for a runner like me.

Let’s get one thing clear.  I’m not a fair-weather runner.  I say that with all respect and love for the fair-weathers out there — I was one, too, once.  I know that life.  You ponder running in the summer when it’s too darn hot and you say, “well, when the weather cools off a little bit and it doesn’t feel quite so much like my skin is actually boiling off of my body, maybe then I’ll get out and run.”  Or maybe you made the old standby resolution at New Year’s when it was colder than my black, black heart outside and realized that perhaps the forbidding temperatures in the single digits and teens weren’t quite your speed and that, perhaps, April was in fact a much better time to start the whole running thing.

I get it.  But I can’t live that way anymore.

Something happens when you push past the three mile mark in running.  Up until that point, you consider yourself a jogger, maybe, or a sprinter, or maybe somebody who does a little running on the weekends or as part of a bigger exercise regimen, but past 5k it becomes serious.  The training wheels come off.  The drudgery of your bi-daily run has been replaced by some snarling, feral need to run.  There’s no putting it off til April or October.

No, the all-weather, all-season runner knows that he (or she, obvs) will continue to run whether it’s hot enough to literally bake cookies in your buttcrack or cold enough to make buttcrack ice cream.  The first hot days arrive in May and I think, with all the grim inevitability of that deep-voiced guy from the movie previews, it begins.  The last balmy night in November passes and I know that Winter is coming.

The temperature in the daytime climbs steadily from seventy, to eighty, to ninety, and still we’re out there.  The clever ones run before dawn or after dusk, but the lunatics are out there in the full light of day, roasting alive, logging their miles and waiting for September.  But even the nightcrawlers begin to suffer in Summer.  The humidity dragon sneaks in through the door you left open and makes your seventy-degree morning feel like ninety, sees you back at the house following a quick three miles looking as if you’ve just swum the English Channel.  The washing machine gets a workout like it’s never known.  Your significant other turns up her nose when you come in for a post-run smooch.  (Okay, maybe she does that year round, but in the summer, you can identify.)  You start to hate running again.

But today it’s September 23rd, and that means Fall is here, and Winter is coming.  And here in Atlanta, boy, does it feel like it.  This morning it was a delightful 57 degrees, cool enough to put a chill in your fingertips before you get warm from the exertion, but not so cool you even have to think about long sleeves or gloves or any of the mess that comes when the temperature really starts to drop.  Cool enough to slip a windbreaker on the sprout as I strapped him into the stroller with me (yeah, he wakes up at 5:15 now to go run with me… it’s a problem).  Cool enough to make you feel alive with the touch of Autumn and pumpkins and all that other stuff that fills the roughly three weeks before Winter sets in.

If there’s a perfect temperature for running, it may well be 57 degrees.  After months and months of cooking inside my skin just from stepping out the door for a run, 57 degrees feels like an ice bath after a sunburn.  A cool drink of water after a mouthful of habanero salsa.

I only wish the fall weather would last longer, but as any Atlanta resident knows, we get maybe three weeks of it before the bottom drops out.  Time to suit up and get out there.

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