Saturday, July 02, 2005

It's Not The Heat...

It started out to be a good run.

I got a massage yesterday because I was so stiff and sore from recently increasing my mileage that I knew I'd be miserable today if I didn't get Mary to fix me up. And she did, miracle worker that she is.

It helped, but other forces were at work.

So like I said, it started out to be a good run. Even though they've been putting up tents and fences around parts of the bayou trail in preparation for the July 4 festivities, I decided to start with the bayou loop, figuring the trails were probably not blocked off yet. I saw my cottontail in his usual spot and noticed he had acquired a few friends. Yay, bunnies! I was a little concerned for them because of all the dry brown grass from a month of no rain, but rabbits have evolved to live on dry grass, so I'm sure they're fine. If I remember though, maybe I'll take them some greens next weekend.

As I got closer to Sabine, the annual fencing was up and I saw where the fireworks had been staged. Coming up the Allen Parkway side of the trails, I had to weave through some tents, but nothing was blocked off to us. I don't know if they leave the trails open to be nice or what, but I'm always glad of it. Even on festival days, they let the runners through until almost the last minute. We're a pretty harmless lot, I suppose.

I had an urge to run through River Oaks today, which turned out to be a good idea because of all the shade afforded by the big trees and fancy landscaping that rich people can so easily afford. Just as I turned into the neighborhood, I noticed a Team In Training water/Gatorade setup and two volunteers. Aha, that explains all the crowds of runners out on the trails, although it doesn't explain what they're training for. It's too early to be doing long mileage in preparation for the Houston Marathon. New York, maybe? San Antonio?

I also noticed that the volunteers had two tiny kittens at their feet, so of course I stopped to check them out. They were tiny, damp and dirty. The volunteers said they were keeping them for one of the runners, who had found them abandoned. Poor things. We runners and cyclists seem to always be finding abandoned animals. My massage therapist (a Cat 3 cyclist) and her training buddies find puppies and kittens all the time. I can't think how often I've been out on a ride and noticed some guy pedaling along with a kitten poking out of his jersey pocket, a little souvenir of his ride. And my first bunny was one Dan and I found abandoned at the park after an evening run.

Good thing for America's abandoned pets that so many of us like animals, I guess.

So after I checked out the kittens, I went into River Oaks and ran a few of my usual loops. When I ran low on water, I ran up to St John Episcopal on a hunch that I could refuel there. I guessed right, but I don't think I'll make the church a regular stop because I felt very out of place, damp and dirty in such a quiet and clean place. Not that Jesus would've cared, of course, but just the same I think I'll put St John's on my "Emergency Use Only" list.

As I was nearing the last of my River Oaks loops and had gone about ten miles I started to notice my thoughts turning often to thoughts of ice-cold water, canteloupe, popsicles and chilly hikes on Monhegan Island. I was disappointed that the sprinklers, which had seemed to be running at every house on my first pass through, were now off. My legs weren't particularly tired, but my body was starting to get kind of fussy, suggesting that it was time to either head home or find a cold water fountain.

Ah, a cold water fountain. I knew of two within a two-mile radius, but both posed problems for my scheduled route and mileage. I had time to think though, so I trotted along, increasingly thirsty for cold water, not the warm stuff in my bottles, unable to come up with any sort of decision as to how to finish my run. Going back around the bayou sounded like the most fun, but there was no cold water, just the lukewarm stuff. Kroger had cold water, but didn't work into my route very well. The Shell station on Memorial had cold water, but I didn't want to run on treeless Memorial on such a warm day.

Decisions, decisions. Why could I not make up my mind?

I finally decided to go up to the Shell station and maybe to the picnic loop to see the cyclists afterwards. But once I'd had some cold water and filled my fuel belt bottles with the same, I just couldn't stomach the notion of going anywhere but home. Well, it was pretty warm out and I didn't feel as coordinated as I usually am. Not scary-stumbly or anything, just a little sluggish and more prone to trip than usual.

So I headed home.

Just as I got near the footbridge that would put me in the park by my apartment, I noticed an ambulance and fire truck up ahead. Curious and worried that a runner I knew might be hurt, I picked up my pace. (Odd. My legs still had plenty of spunk, so why the general sluggishness?) When I got to the ambulance, I saw a young female runner sitting inside, sweaty and exhausted, talking with the medics. I guess she collapsed and someone called 911. Not surprising on a day like this. Good thing they sent a fire truck. Maybe they could hose her down.

Suddenly it occurred to me that even though it was only ten o'clock, it was pretty darn warm out and the trails had nearly emptied of runners and cyclists.

I went home and found Dan on the computer. "Heat index is going to get up to 110 today," he remarked as I drank some cold water and stirred some dried cranberries into a jar of yogurt.

"Hm." I wasn't too impressed. It's been like that all week. "What is it right now?" I took some bags of frozen corn out of the fridge so I could ice down my legs.


88? That's it? I shouldn't have died on a long run at only 88. Wow, am I a wuss or what?

"Heat index, 98."

Oh. Well that explains everything, doesn't it? All of a sudden I didn't feel so bad that I had shorted my run by about 2-3 miles.

After I iced down and showered, I got ready to go have Indian food while watching the Tour prologue. I guess Lance showed Jan, didn't he? Poor Jan. If Lance hadn't survived cancer, Jan would've been the greatest cyclist of his generation.

It's always something, isn't it? No matter what your gifts and blessings in life, you still can't take anything for granted. Jan did, Lance didn't and the rest is history.

In other news, Dan got some German silent films for us to watch this weekend, and he also found a July 4 organized ride for us in Conroe. I suspect it will be over some of the route from last fall's half ironman, so that ought to be fun!

Recent Workouts
Wednesday: 45 minutes core and strength training, 4 mile run
Thursday: 1000 meter swim, 1 mile run (brick), 35 minute spin (Cyclerobx)
Friday: 45 minutes core and strength training
Saturday: 13 mile run

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