As if whining about my hip wasn’t annoying enough, I’ve also spent the summer complaining about the heat. This is after I spent the whole winter complaining about the twelve foot high snow banks. Honestly, am I just impossible to please? Todd would say yes. He would attribute my complaints to that giant bag of excuses I carry around with me. But no really, I hate running in the heat. I am a self-proclaimed heat wuss. I melt. Running in the heat is a chore, and a matter of survival. It’s a constant battle of trying to stay hydrated, trying not to pass out, trying not to let my heart rate skyrocket, trying not to develop heat stroke. There’s more sweat in the eyes, more chafing, more sunburn, more deodorant. I’m quite confident that if I lived anywhere south of Massachusetts, I wouldn’t be a runner. My body was just not designed to be a sun soaker.
This past Labor Day weekend, I had every intention of doing a long run. I need to get in a couple more long runs before I sign up for a half marathon in October, so I was hoping for 9 miles on either Saturday or Sunday. Instead of waking up early to run before it heated up, I ended up taking my horse for long rides. By the time I finished riding, it was just too hot to get in that long run. Yup, I am no doubt a total heat wuss. This morning, my 5am wake up call was startling. It was pitch dark, chilly, and pouring. It was the kind of morning where the blankets practically forbid me from sliding out of bed, and the snooze button was hit repeatedly. When I finally managed to get out of bed, I breathed in the chilly air coming in through the window. The crisp air was a welcome change to the thick humidity we’ve been enduring for most of the summer. The thought of running in the cooler conditions was exciting, and I immediately packed my running bag and headed off to work.
It rained heavily for much of the morning, so I wasn’t sure if I’d have any company on today’s run. Todd and Jaimee are no fair weather runners though, and the three of us headed out together in the light rain. Kerri wimped out (her words) and the Ken Doll…well…apparently his muscles melt when it rains.
The run was fantastic. That’s all I can say. The end. Okay, I should probably elaborate. The weather was perfect for running. It was high 50’s and light-to-steady rain. It is my favorite running weather. Apparently all three of us felt the same because we all managed a brisk pace for the entire 4 mile run. My body was thrilled and responsive. When I wanted to speed up a bit it was like, okay, let’s go! I charged up hills, maintained good breathing, good heart rate, and dare I say had a bit of a spring in my step! When we got back to the building, Todd and Jaimee did another lap around the whole building and I did my own extra lap around one of the parking lots. It was the first time in months that I felt like I could run forever. I had no desire to stop running, unlike so many other runs this summer where I literally counted the minutes until I would be done. Today reminded me why I love autumn running so much: Being able to take all of the fitness gained from the summer and capitalizing on the cooler weather. It also reminded me of another perk of running. The runner’s high! I generally feel pretty good after running, but today was euphoric. The run was great, my body felt great, and that feeling carried over to the rest of the day. I nailed the rest of my day at work, and didn’t even mind the rainy, slow commute home. I stopped for a bottle of wine at the liquor store and chatted up the clerk for a few minutes. At home, I was unusually energetic after a long day and whipped through some chores. I was downright cheery!
When people ask why runners run, there are a lot of reasons and some of them are deeply personal. But most runners will acknowledge the endorphin-induced runner’s high. This summer I’ve focused so much on my injury and I’ve shuffled through so many painful, hot miles that I haven’t been able to really enjoy the sport. Today reminded me how much I love running, and reminded me that there are still a lot of cool days ahead before I go in for my surgery. Until then I will be just another girl, running her feet off, happily seeking euphoria.