Writing and running in Austin, TX.
There are lots of signs you’ve started to think of the abnormal as normal. There have been entire blog posts devoted to this topic. (See 10 Signs You May be a Runner, You Know You’re a Runner When…, etc.) Heck, there have been entire books devoted to this topic! But I’m going to throw in my own two cents anyway.
You know you’re really really used to running when the best story for your blog isn’t the 20-miler you logged this past weekend. (Although, it WAS a fantastic run!) The best story for the blog isn’t even that after that 20-miler, Handsome J, his sister, and I all jumped into a car and drove 4.5 hours to the Texas Coast — and by some miracle I did not suffer extreme stiffness and pain!
Sidetrack: The best photo for the blog was provided by our dog, The Doof, on said coastal adventure:
|The Doof Abides|
Nope, the best story for today’s blog was today’s run: The Wet T-Shirt Contest.
For those of you who don’t live round these parts, Central Texas is currently getting pounded by the remains of Tropical Storm Hermine. (We were all a little sad when we realized it was not, in fact, Tropical Storm Hermione, like the Harry Potter character. Someone at the National Hurricane Center sure missed the boat on that one.)
It has literally been raining for 22 hours straight.
To be honest, this is my fault. After the Divinely Blessed 20-Miler this weekend, I commented on how the one thing we really hadn’t had to face in all our training was rain…which was probably the karmic equivalent of hand-washing 18 cars.
I woke up this morning to rain on the window and a roach in the kitchen. Yep, it’s raining in Texas.
It occurred to me as I was getting dressed that our group might be a bit smaller than usual, but I was kind of excited about the run. After all, you never know what’s going to happen on race day. And I’ll take rain over 100 degree temps any day! My one nod to the inclement weather was to put in my rarely-worn contact lenses. (There are few things worse than wearing glasses in the rain. Trust me on this one.)
Of our group of 25 or so, a grand total of 9 showed up to the high school parking lot where we meet. In other words, me plus all the fast people.
I made a new friend during the warm-up, a landscape architect named B who’s shooting for sub-4 in Chicago. Once I processed that I was easily keeping pace with a guy training to run a marathon in less than 4 hours, I immediately panicked at the thought that he might be hitting on me. I know, most girls find this flattering, but I just get all sorts of worked up that this person is going to waste their time on me when the love of their life might be waiting to speak to them that very instant!
Okay, so she probably wasn’t out in the rain at 5:30 on a Tuesday, but nevertheless, I immediately began talking about how “we” had family in town and “we” were moving to Germany 2 weeks before the marathon. (Why yes, you can hire me to kill conversations at dinner parties. My rates are very reasonable.)
What can I say? I’ve always been smooth.
Anyway, after the warm-up, the real workout was 3×2000 meters at 15K pace with some pretty massive hills thrown in for good measure. Normally that amount of numbers in reference to something as simple as running is enough to give me a sudden-onset migraine, but the rain saved me once again. Knowing what I know about the tenuous nature of my truce with my Garmin, I had left him at home. For me, this run was really 3 laps around the block at a pace that felt “sorta fast”.
That was something I could wrap my head around even at 6 am, so I set off happily enough. The rain wasn’t falling all that hard, and my main concern was not tripping over a rut in the asphalt. In fact, I was feeling so good that after lap 2 I commented to our coach on how I was surprised more people hadn’t shown up, because the rain really wasn’t all that bad.
Trigger torrential downpour.
There wasn’t even “sorta fast” for the third lap. There was only, “Breathe through your mouth because if you try to breathe through your nose you might drown.” The puddles I’d been mostly able to jump over before became lakes that filled my shoes with enough water to refill my 12-ounce water bottle. (I didn’t try it, of course. That would be gross.)
Best of all, my white tech shirt became entirely see-through.
This wasn’t really a big deal. Any female runner with half a brain is wearing a sports bra bigger than any bathing suit she owns, so there wasn’t much to see. Still, there’s just something about being one of only 2 women in a group of men and knowing that your shirt is completely translucent…
That other woman and I did join up for the cool-down. She tried to tell me stories about bad sports experiences in her past, but the combination of rain and my generally sub-par hearing made a story about roller blading suddenly morph into a story about snowboarding that involved dropping her pre-schooler off for the first day of school. Hrmm.
Ah well, in the end, this morning’s run was just plain fun. If you ever get the chance to take part in a “difficult but not really technically miserable” athletic endeavor, I highly encourage you to do so! Though I know next Tuesday I’ll be back to being one of the slow people at the back of the pack, it was great fun to temporarily bond with those front-running guys over our mutual characteristic of being “hard core”.
Of course, most people who are “hard core” are really just a bit nutty. But I’ll thank you to keep your opinions on that matter to yourselves.