I just found out National Running Day is June 3. I didn’t even know that was a thing.
It’s timely, given how much my enthusiasm for running wanes with the beginning of the season I am most likely to want to do nothing more exciting than melt into the couch.
Summer is great for warm evenings on a patio with an adult beverage, concerts in the park with an adult beverage, sitting by a campfire late into the night with an adult beverage … Do you see a pattern here? Well, running isn’t really related to any of that.
To compensate, I just scheduled at least one running event a month until November. I need that kind of looming threat. Back in the day, people had things like cave bears and velociraptors as motivation to keep from developing back fat. Now, we’re lured off our tushes by paper bibs, ill-fitting shirts and participation medals. Mike and I are kicking off this wretched running season with a half marathon next week named after our state tuber.
If I didn’t constantly have something on the calendar, for which I paid good money, and will likely get a shiny thing to hang on my wall for just crossing the finish line, I’d be tempted to say meh, I’m going to relax and take a break until fall.
Yeah. Like, fall of 2020 … or thereabouts.
I really struggle to stay active in the heat. I think I mentioned I sweat more than normal for an adult human, even at my laughably slow pace. My lack of speed means I end up being outside in the heat more, with more exposed body parts. I’ve had had a big chunk of skin cancer removed from my schnoz, which means in the course of my lifetime, I’m likely to revisit that whole, unpleasant scene if I’m not super careful.
So every year, about this time, I find myself revisiting my commitment to anything at all that takes me out of my air-conditioned living room.
I might be the biggest puss I ever met.
Things that suck about running in summer:
- The extra ten minutes to put on sunscreen before a run, which I could save by just inserting the stuff directly into my eyeballs, where the sweat will have carried it by ten minutes into my run.
- The way the water in my bottle has heated up to the temperature of pee by about twenty minutes into my run.
- The fact that I feel about as athletic as Jabba the Hut in a sports bra after the heat saps all my energy.
But there are ways to stay enthusiastic about running when it’s hot and any sane person is taking a siesta instead.
Run with a buddy. This doesn’t actually do anything about the heat, but if you are running with someone who likes to remark on how gawdawful much you sweat, you’ll be tempted to push him down. Pushing people down is generally frowned upon, but will give you a surprising mid-run boost.
Run in the morning. I know. Mornings spent doing anything other than sitting quietly with coffee wishing people would stop talking, are generally kind of stupid. But there’s a lot to be said about getting a run in first thing, when it’s still possible to breathe without feeling like you’re on the surface of the sun. And, morning runs come with the added bonus of gloating rights over people you know are just going to talk about running, but never actually get to it all day.
Don’t Run. I’m serious. It’s good to cross train, but because I’m the laziest person I know, I don’t usually remember to figure out the spin class schedule in advance, or when I’m most likely to be bumped from my lane in the pool because of swim team practice. The heat makes me more willing to look stuff up or pump the tires on my bike in advance.
And cross training is good for stamina, or some such nonsense I would care more about if I could ever get faster than a tortoise on Quaaludes.
Run with a dog. Dogs are jerks about letting you off the hook once in a while. Given his druthers, our yellow lab would run until he fell over dead. On the upside, I couldn’t go long enough to kill him. We could go 10 miles and he’d still be dragging my slow carcass along like an idiot. Far from annoying, this helped me conserve energy and inspired images in my head of my leading a team of stallions from my chariot. I’m brandishing a sword, and wearing gladiator boots. And armor. Shut up. I look smashing as a 5’4” female Ben Hur.
Trick yourself. Sometimes I promise myself I’ll go just one mile. “If it sucks, I’ll come back,” I say.
“No I won’t, I said that last time and I didn’t.”
“And look at how good I felt when I finally got home.”
“Sure, if I want to call squelching the urge to eat one of the children, feeling good. I am one messed up cookie.”
“Say, how come I never have any cookies around here?”
“Right? I should really give more thought to the cookie situation.”
…Okay, forget that last. Tricking myself doesn’t necessarily mesh with my focus problem and chronic lack of cookies.
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