Outdoor Running in Record Heat

This morning at about 5 AM Pacific, I posted the following worry on Facebook :

OK, so water, a bit of black coffee, water. A bit of salt…I should be fine out there, right? I mean, I used to run in this kind of weather in Texas, in Basic, when I was in my 20s…and I only had heat stroke twice…at least we don’t have huge cockroaches like they do in Texas. Yeah, that’s how my mind is thinking this morning. You’re welcome.

It generated lots of comments from other runners, but the kick-self-out-the-door comment was this one:

Oh…and lightning was striking within a mile of us as well. Go.

Some observations from my not-so-fast jaunt for about 30 minutes of sweat were:

I didn’t see any lightning, but I did get out there. The air was thick and still. And already hot. We don’t usually get high humidity in my part of town, but now we evidently do. I didn’t get any rain, but I wanted some. I actually like running in the rain. Perhaps I’m odd that way.

Not a lot of people on the road, outside or in vehicles. I attribute some of that to the early hour. The sun dawned right before I got out there.

There were a very few joggers outside. Most moving slowly, like me, as if running through a sauna.

I ran by a house with a large pile of what I thought was discarded furniture in front of it. Turns out it was the entire HVAC, pipes and all, extracted from the house and on the street. I pity whoever did that work over the weekend. But hopefully the homeowners got a working system in.

No children, except one man pushing a running baby carriage. 

Anyone who was out there got a bit of respect from me. These are the serious, the fanatics, the “I can’t go a day without running” people. Surprisingly, I’ve become one of them. You figure it out. You hydrate. You salt up. And you #KeepOnRunnin

Stay cool out there, friends.

Reflections on America’s Birthday

This year, on July 4th, our neighbors really outdid themselves. They used a large, temporary painter’s scaffold to shoot various things in the air–wonderful colors and sparkly things–for nearly an hour, maybe more. It was better than many professional shows we’ve seen over the years. A few of us sat outside and watched the displays. Which went on all around us. We had revelers up and down the street, a few blocks over and southwest of us too. Everywhere you looked, there was a burst of color lighting the night.

It actually gave me some hope. There are people who will continue to celebrate this country, with all of its strengths and all of its faults. As will I.

Also discovered: I don’t twitch as much when someone throws an M-80 or a Cherry Bomb, as long as I can see it and where it’s going.

It sounded like we were on the edge of a battlefield. Only then it was literally, not just metaphorically. God Bless the USA. I hope we can rediscover unity someday soon. 🇺🇸 Maybe we did, for a little while, in the great big booming birthday celebration we just had.

Living by the Numbers / Fighting Time

I’m someone who likes to track numbers. Calendar dates, meeting duration, time running, distance. Weight. Number of hours fasting. Or feasting. I’m always looking at goals and percentages too. 60% there. 70%. 80%…

If the scale says I’m up by 7 pounds overnight (and it has, I assure you), it can ruin my day and my mood. It might even result in a dramatic, weepy discussion with the spouse at how “bad” I’ve been. Days where the numbers are “good” are much less dramatic. A mention in passing that I’ve reached a new milestone. A virtual fistbump and a cheer, and on we go!

When I was in college, I took an introduction to Native American spirituality class. The class was taught by an elder from the Anishinabe nation (aka Ojibwe or Sioux). His observation about Europeans stays with me all these years: “You guys like to run things by clocks, by calendars. Indians don’t do that. We like to live in time with the seasons… I like to say, ‘I’m on Indian Time.’” 

My professor was right. I time things, I wear a Fitbit. I post calendars and meetings and spend a whole lot of time on, well, time. I suppose it’s an attempt to stay in control. Of time that is. The older I get, the faster the years go. This leads me to try to squeeze out every minute I can, on running, on fasting, on spending time on pet projects. I’m battling for more time.

The sad part is, though, that time will always win in the end. Eventually, my time will run out.

Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

Meanwhile, I’m gonna go fill in all those blank spots in my day planner. I’m at about 60% scheduled.

May your day be filled with many things as well–hopefully 80% joy–or better. 

First World Runner Problems

When I started this morning’s run, I realized, oh crap, I left my hat in the house!  I usually wear a cheap baseball cap, one I picked up a couple of years ago at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. I wear it to keep the sun out of my eyes. I realized, as the sun hit my forehead and flashed off my glasses, that I wear the hat to disguise myself, too. Here I was, visible, an older woman with salt and pepper pandemic hair, identifiable, running at a turtle pace, but running all the same. I couldn’t be a faceless, nameless hat-wearing runner. I was seen. And that makes me uncomfortable. Who among us hasn’t judged a runner or a jogger, usually the slightly pudgy one who looks like they’re on the edge of a heart attack? I know I have. And usually from the front seat of my passing vehicle. It’s easy to judge when we’re in a comfortable seat with the air conditioner on and some grandiose music playing on our car stereos. Easy to see, judge, and laugh.

At least I hadn’t forgotten my cell phone and the hard cover I now place over the front. Last week or so, I was running to meet a daily #RunBet goal (RunBet is a game where you “bet” that you will complete your tasks. At the end of it, you win by getting your money back plus a little from those who didn’t complete the challenge.). Anyway, #RunBet motivates me to get out there every day, and I was putting in an effort to complete my run. I use an app called RunKeeper to track my mileage and pace, and last week or so the default lady voice was telling me I was on target and that I was about halfway done with my mileage.  I fumbled with my coverless phone and realized I had shut the tracker off. In the middle of a run. I would either have to hang up my shoes for the day or start a new run. I don’t know how you would feel, but I was stinking mad. I had gotten up at dawn and put on my shoes. Got outside. Started moving. And here, due to a technical glitch, it wouldn’t even count? Ugh. So I did what I usually do when I get really mad. I worked harder. I ran into areas I never go. I ran by the kids, who were waiting for me to finish the scheduled run, and told them because of an equipment failure, I’d be running longer. But I got it done. Sweaty, feisty, and tired, I got it done. And I now put an unswipeable hard cover over the face of my phone. So this morning that was a good thing I had going for me. 

About three quarters into today’s run, I was running on the shady side of the street (remember: no hat). Sacramento has a lot of trees and in the summer it’s a blessing–we’d bake if we didn’t have all these lovely leafy shade trees. So I was running on the shady side, and I looked to my left. There, in the wooded bushy corner of someone’s front yard, I made direct eye contact with an older, white-bearded African-American man in a clean white T-shirt. He was squatting. As in, taking his morning constitutional. Or “doing #2” as the kids would call it. Now, I’m not in the downtown, I’m running in a fairly nice suburb. I’m not in SF or LA or even San Diego. (Pooping outside is a popular pastime in those cities.) I’m in a fairly quiet, nicer part of Sacramento. And this guy decided to use someone’s front lawn as his personal bathroom. I’m not sure I’m having first world problems anymore. This feels more like all world problems. No Chariots of Fire for me on my run. Just Forrest Gump. And I stopped worrying about “being seen.” I’m not the only one out there, being observed, being judged. We’re all being judged. But there’s one thing I was glad about when I got home and hung up my shoes. There’s no hiding places on my front lawn. If someone needs to take a toilet break, it’s less likely to be in front of my house. I was back to my first world thinking. If I see that guy on the street, though, I suspect we will recognize each other. Hopefully not in similar circumstances in the future. 

I’m off to upload my run into my #RunBet. Twenty three more runs to go before I WIN my money back.

Keep on runnin’.

Receiving Support from Others is a Gift

I am reminded today about the gift of support. Let me tell you a little story. When I was in Basic Training, I was having some trouble on one of the runs (I’ve never been a speedy runner) so I had to fall out of formation. Another airman fell out and ran beside me, even though she could have stayed with the flight. It was not OK to fall out–any soldier will tell you that there is a price to pay for not staying with the group. She accepted that and we completed the run together. It made a huge difference for me, and I am still humbled by her willingness to “fall out” and support me with not just her words, but with her actions. This was over 25 years ago, but still a vivid memory.  Your actions and your words matter.

Wisdom from Miss Marple

I often have vivid dreams. This morning’s was so profound, I’m still thinking about it. It was about friendship, how some people can be fake–you think they are “for you” but they are secretly cheering when you are down or hurt. Two people were having a conversation with me in my dream and they revealed their feelings which were not favorable. This makes sense to me, as the dream went back over twenty years when I first met these two. Perhaps it all was triggered by watching Miss Marple say “Nothing is as it seems.” And later, when the murder and deception is uncovered, the main character is wondering aloud why they hadn’t figured it out and Miss Marple says: “Because you believed what he told you. It’s very dangerous to believe people – I haven’t for years.”

And later, when the murder and deception is uncovered, the main character is wondering aloud why they hadn’t figured it out and Miss Marple says: “Because you believed what he told you. It’s very dangerous to believe people – I haven’t for years.

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