I went running on Saturday as part of my training for the 1/2 marathon I signed up for. Yes, it is hot outside. Yes, I am crazy for running in this heat. I try to work around it by running at night after the kids go to sleep or first thing in the morning before it gets too hot. This past Saturday, I was out at 7:30 a.m.
It was a big one on the training schedule, 9.5 miles. I started out feeling pretty good and planned to run some paseo trails and some of the distance at the local high school (rubberized asphalt track.) The concrete sidewalks are bad for my shins, so any break I can give them is a good one.
As I hit the paseo (asphalt - better than concrete), I was amazed at how many people were out. I also noticed how easy it would probably be to dump a body out there and wondered if anyone had done so recently. The paseo borders the "wash" which is actually part of the Santa Clara River. It's usually dry, with trees and random grass growing in it. Very rarely will there actually be water. It is kept fenced off because there will be flash floods from time to time. (A few years ago, during a particularly rainy season, some homeless people had a little village set up in one area of the wash and it got.... washed away.) In any event, it is an interesting border to a decent place to run.
I kept up a steady pace of about 10 minutes per mile and passed some runners and walkers, while others passed me. There seems to be some type of etiquette regarding acknowledging your fellow runners and walkers, but I think I am still on the outside of that club and have no idea what it is. Some would wave, some would say hello (seriously, how can you talk when you are running?), and some would smile and nod. Since I had my headphones on and the music cranked up, I stuck with the smile and slight nod. (Could not break form to wave... duh.)
One gentleman had me cracking up. I saw him a few hundred feet ahead of me around one turn and he was walking, not running. An older gentleman, but he was keeping up a pretty good pace. I followed and slowly gained on him, never really increasing my pace. When I was about 20 feet behind him, another runner came up on our left and passed us both. (She was running much quicker than I was.) It seemed like he slightly increased his pace. I found myself having to push a bit just to pull even with him, when it seemed like he sped up again. Then I had to pour it on to go around him (and he was walking.) I had to smile. Maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed like he did not want to be passed, and so tried to speed up so that I could not pass him.
Side rant - there were no water stops along the way! I have to figure something out, as far as these longer runs go, for water. I got to the high school expecting to find a water fountain near the track, but no such luck. Which is probably why I hit a massive wall, right around mile 8 and had to slow down. I was parched by the time I got home. I could actually feel my body shutting down the closer I got home, as it got hotter and I had been out longer.
Another side rant - to the person who did not clean up after their dog, shame on you. You could have at least had the decency to "curb" the dog, so that it would poop in the brush or dirt on the side of the sidewalk, rather than actually on the sidewalk. That is just plain lazy. And gross, but lazy. I do not usually wish bad things to happen to people, but to the person who owns the dog that did that, I hope you step in a particularly large pile of fresh poop when you are dressed up nice to go somewhere, and I hope it tracks into your car and the smell never comes out of the carpet.
One final thought. After running 9.5 miles, it was probably not a good idea to go up to Griffith Park, where we had to park a mile down the hill, and hike up it to the Observatory pushing the stroller, and then walk back down hill, restraining the stroller with K in it. Also probably not a good idea to then go to the Hollywood Bowl that night, where we had seats in one of the upper levels, which required walking up the hill to the entrance and then up the hill to our seats, only to then have to walk back down the hill at the end of the show, carrying K, because she didn't want to walk with all of those people. phew! Needless to say, my knees were not working very well on Sunday. Good thing I did not have a basketball game that day.
Oh - one more thing. I'm starting to wonder about this whole "running" thing and maybe it's a cult. I have always been a short distance runner. 100 m hurdles, 400 m dash. I reluctantly ran the 800m a few times (very reluctantly), but was never much of a fan of distance running. As I'm training for my first 1/2 marathon, I find myself wondering about signing up for another one. Why is this? What is this strange desire to run another race? I call it strange, because I am not particularly fond of running in the heat, or of getting up in the morning to run when it is still cool. So why on earth am I considering signing up for another race? Maybe it is because I like the shoes. It remains to be seen, I suppose.