Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 9: Midnight Blackness and Madness

"We were too hot to think of sleeping

We had to get out before the magic got away

We were running with the night"

--Lionel Richie--

Run #: 6

Time of Day: 12:24am-1:00am

Days to Go: 114

Required mileage today: 3

Completed mileage today: Approximately 3

Problems: No Sleep for the Weary

Tip of the Day: Don't try this at home...

There is no doubt in my mind that Tuesday I got "heat stroke." Bad. The disorientation I felt unable to give that lost motorist directions to a local landmark six blocks from my house was the biggest warning sign of my condition. It was not smart, it was not safe and I'm lucky the outcome of my amateurish idiocy wasn't worse. That said...can I blame the different, but equally poor choices I made on my next run on the damage from the day before? It might make me feel a little better about myself. Slightly.

After my run yesterday, in the middle of the day, and the heat stroke that inevitably plagued me, I felt not surprisingly terrible for the rest of the day. It felt like I had sun burn but I wasn't actually burnt or red. My skin felt dry. I was completely exhausted and dehydrated and I didn't sleep well. I didn't feel much better the next day either. When I woke up, I still felt entirely drained and tired. I didn't want to do anything in the way of being productive in any aspect of anything. I dreaded all day having to run again. And no matter how much water I chugged, I couldn't satisfy my insatiable thirst. The only thing I knew for sure was that I couldn't run during the middle of the day again. I planned to run sometime after 7pm, which would still be sunny, hot and uncomfortable, but I rationalized that it would be a far cry from the worse heat and misery of a 2pm run. Inevitably, even "the best laid plans of mice and men go awry".

I returned home around 6pm to discover that the power in my neighborhood was out. No power, means no air conditioning, which meant my house was as hot and humid as the outside, which was nearing 100 degrees. I put on my running clothes, with every intention of going for a run -- at some point-- and set out to water all the flowers and plants in the back yard, to make myself useful, and to keep myself cool, periodically spraying myself with the hose on my arms and legs. But working in the garden, in the sun and the heat and the humidity, I only felt hotter and more tired, so when my roommates came home, to discover our unfortunately un-airconditioned plight, and recommended we go get dinner in an airconditioned restaurant, it was too tempting to turn down. So we went to Chaddies (or Chadwicks as you might know it) and ate fish and drank gin and tonics and wine and beers and embarassingly stuffed ourselves. If you knew how much I ate, I promise, it would be embarassing. I couldn't bear the thought of returning home again to our own personally hot hell, despite the fact that I should've had a run in my near future, the hours remaining in the day running out. Instead, I drove over to my friend Laura's apartment which was comfortably cool and to see her new hair cut; she had recently cut off waistlength hair for a pixie cut (crazy I know). Though, on second thought, considering this heat, I may dispose of my boob-length hair for a bob cut myself. Or not. After drinking two or more beers, sharing some laughs and beginning to yawn, I finally drove home, tired, yawning and seemingly done for the day. I got home at 11:54pm, 6 minutes left of this particular Wednesday. I realized I was going to miss my first run of marathon training. This being only Week 2 of training, and only what would be my 6th overall run, I cursed myself for my laziness, for my procrastination and for my first real running failure. Sure I'd had to walk, sure I'd run slow and sure I'd been unwise enough to head out in 100 degree heat, but I'd never failed to step out my front door; I'd never failed to try.

With these punishing voices filling my thoughts, I arrived at my front door, painfully aware that the power was still out, the air conditioning would not be on, and I would have to attempt to actually get to sleep in 90+degree heat. Immediately, I knew what I had to do. I would go for my run now. In the dark. In the middle of the night. Something in 20+ years of life, I don't think I've ever done. Accompanied or alone. But how was I going to get to sleep anyways? I knew I wouldn't. Especially not with my inner monologue crucifying me for failing to get my run in as it mockingly ran through my head. Pun intended.

I wanted to write a very long and pithy explanation of how it was to stumble in the dark looking for my ipod, the right clothing and kicking everything in my path. But this edition is getting long and I am tired from all this heat. It soaks into your soul and leaves lethargy in its wake.

I got out the door and I ran. And I think I ran faster than I normally do. Because I wasn't distracted by the aesthetics around me. I could barely see things clearly. After all, it wasn't just the middle of the night, the lights in the neighborhood were out. It was like running through a dark fog, not sure of what lay ahead. It was scary. I worried about taking a fall on a root or jagged sidewalk I couldn't see. And I was a little nervous that I was all by myself. My friends make fun of me for being nervous, even in an excellently "safe" neighborhood, but maybe just maybe nothing bad has ever happened to me because I'm always so cautious and never put myself in harms way.

It was a good run. I completed the 3 miles in reasonably good time based on what I'd been doing lately and I made it home safe and sound. It was relaxing. And enjoyable. And I was proud to have continued my commitment to my training, even when circumstances didn't make it convenient or pleasant.

So even if you have to run at night...

Come Run with Me.

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