Thursday, July 25, 2013

Of Hills and Heat

I'm pretty sure that nearly every single running blog based somewhere between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Arctic Circle is complaining about the heat. Well, now everyone is, as I must have been the last hold out. Don't even try to blame this on my living in PA for the last 3 years either. It gets just as hot there and no one has central A/C in which to hide. The only thing worse than running in the heat is not running at all, of course.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who sees it this way. I've been pleased to see a number of people out and about in the mornings, some walking, some running, but few driving or riding. The Northern United States may have a reputation for being less than cordial by Southern standards, but we honestly didn't find that to be the case, at least not when it came to folks enjoying the outdoors. Thankfully, the South is as friendly as I remember it.

The other love/hate relationship I've got going on in my running life is my new terrain. In PA, I had about 3 miles (one way) of paved running path along the levee which kept the Susquehanna from flooding our town. I used to pump out sub 7:30 miles and call it things like "easy" or "steady" when I was finished. Now, my favorite/least favorite route is a 7 miler which runs up about 500 feet over the first 4 miles (with a few rolls on the way) to the peak of Lookout Mountain, TN (Point Park or just beyond it), and then back to the start. The first few weeks I was only able to run it once, and then I had to lay up for a day or two with sore legs. This week, I've run it twice, and I'm hoping to run it a third time tomorrow.

Yes, I'm just as bad as all those other runners you know out there. We like to whine and complain about things like heat, hills and humidity (oh, did I mention how freaking humid it is right now?). In the end, we're all either just gluttons for pain, or we know that putting in the miles pays off. That 7 mile loop does get easier as I get stronger. I run it a little faster each time. I'm looking forward to racing on the flats this fall more and more every day.

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