Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ranidrops Keep Falling on My Head

Today I am 189.2 pounds of rolling thunder.

I've got to tell you, in my next life I'm coming back as a meteorologist or an economist. Both good-paying gigs if you can get them, and both professions based on wild guesses.

I came to this realization about a week ago after my daily run. You see I had come home from work and was prepping for my daily running  ritual, which on this day was to be a four-mile loop with a three-mile time trial (I use that term loosely and with great poetic license).

Anyway, the skies were overcast but not worrisome so I switched on the local weathercast to see what my fate might be if I went out for my run. The local weather guy, let's call him Larry, predicted that storms would be headed into the metro in about two hours.

Perfect, my little romp around the 'hood would only take about an hour. Plenty of time to make the run and get inside before the nastiness hit. But, as they say, the joke was on me.

So I rolled up the warm-up hill without any issues. It takes me about 10 minutes and serves as a good way to get the heart and lungs ready for the rest of the route. The skies were gray and the air a little heavy. But Larry had promised me no rain for two hours. Remember that, it will be on the quiz.

My first timed mile is downhill. And while I'm not at all fast, it's generally the fastest portion of my run. Fresh legs and a steady incline will do that.

I hit the one-mile corner in good time. Not great, but good -- for me, at least. The second mile usually is my do or die. There are four or five hills and a long stop light if you hit it wrong. Normally, hope of doing anything good time-wise dies during this stretch.

On this day, I was doing OK. I made the last hill and hit the corner in so-so time. It was at least well within the window of success. So I made the turn for home, and then disaster struck.

Rain began to trickle down as I headed down the hill into the last mile. First, I could hear the droplets hitting the leaves on top of the heavy canopy of tree limbs. Then it began to spit on me and at long last the skies opened and it began dumping rain down.

I made it to a stoplight where I stood in the deluge as motorists stared at me as if I were naked. Two thoughts passed through my head: please don't let me someone I know and please let someone I know offer me a ride.

As I stood there waiting to restart the clock when the light turned I thought to myself that if there was no lightning and the weather was warm I might as well make the dash to the finish -- rain be damned.

So I said a little prayer and gave a little curse to Larry, and off I went. I made the final light, and of course had to pause again. This time shorter than the last. The rain continued to pour down and I considered ducking under the canopy of a local bank.

What the heck, when you're wet, your wet, right? So I dashed ahead, finished in decent time and the rain slowly let up as I jogged the half mile home -- soaked to the bone. Thanks Larry.

So it is that when you see me in the next life I'll be giving you the daily downpour report or telling you how to invest your 401K. Both are based on guesses. For now, however, if you see the world's slowest human out running, give me a big wave -- and a ride home in the rain.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Enjoy the Mild Weather While You Can

Today I am 190.6 pounds of rolling thunder.

And yes today I'd consider myself rolling thunder as I clicked off 7 miles around one of my usual neighborhood loops.

There's nothing better to me than a day when the temperature drops and the humidity thins after a summer of oppressive heat and moisture. With temperatures in the low 80s today was a welcome relief from the Dog Days of summer's hottest days.

There's a part of me that knows that summer isn't done with us yet, but we'll take these stolen days of mild temperatures and reduced humidity.

I also like this time of summer because my body has gotten back into some sort of running shape, and most days I can leave all my little walking jags behind. I might be the world's slowest human, but there is a certain measure of pride on the line when it comes to walking.

About twice a week I grab a pair of wrist weights and add them to my workout regimen. Now I know there are arguments on both sides of the issue of whether to carry weights when you run, but I suppose I'm old-school enough to enjoy the added burden that a couple of extra pounds can add instead of fearing what they might do to my running form.

If you ever want to try running with weights, it really doesn't take much weight at all. Just grab a couple of bottles of water and run with one (yes, filled) bottle in each hand. The first thing you'll notice is how quickly your arms and shoulders tire from carrying even the lightest weight. The morning after your first run with weights you'll be swearing at me for even suggesting that you try this sadistic act.

Trust me, you'll get over it, and you may even grow to enjoy the pain. OK, maybe you'll grow to tolerate the pain.

Pain or no pain, enjoy the mild days of summer. Soon enough we'll be putting on layers and running through the snow. It's hard to believe that it snowed in May this year, but indeed it did.

So, as always, if you see the world's slowest human out on the road, give me a wave.