Summer Running Means Swallowing Your Pride


Ah, the Mall before all the tourists flood in.

When we first moved to our place in D.C., I was convinced I was going to have to join a gym because a) I was used to running on a treadmill and b) I didn’t think I’d be motivated to get out there when it was really hot or really cold.

Well, that held true in the winter. I didn’t do much running at all. Then glorious spring came and I got back into a routine. And now summer is here to test my commitment.

To be honest, most of June wasn’t that bad. Sure it was uncomfortable at times but not unbearable. Now that July it almost here, the weather is starting to push that unbearable limit. I didn’t notice it much until today. I haven’t run quite as much the last couple of weeks so maybe that’s why I just noticed it. And when I run early in the morning on weekdays, I don’t have to deal with the sun.

I was pretty proud of getting out at 8 a.m. on a Saturday. I told myself to take it very slow since I’m not really all that accustomed to running directly in the sun. That and the humidity was 89 FREAKING PERCENT. I seriously need to consider a move to a less humid climate.

I felt pretty good with my breathing for the whole run and I was motivated by all the other runners that were out there battling the heat. I ran from my apartment down to the Lincoln Memorial and back around toward the Washington Monument. When I got near the monument, I was close to three miles. I made a decision to walk to the other side of the monument to get to the Mall because that whole section is in the sun. I didn’t want to wear myself out and just walking in it was bad enough. But it was hard. I saw all kinds of people who were still running. I felt a hint of shame every time someone much older or heavier than me went running by. But I had to tell myself that it was okay to walk, that I was just trying to make the best decision for me. I rounded out my four miles on the Mall, stopping when my thighs started to feel tight.

So today I learned that sometimes running in the summer means swallowing your pride. Just because you are capable of doing something doesn’t always mean it’s good for you. You’re not going to run at warp speed and you have to be okay with that.  You have to be very aware of your hydration levels, finding shade and running in loose, light-colored clothing (which I failed at today since I was wearing a dark pink top and black running capris). You can’t worry too much about what you look like to others. I don’t mean worrying that I look like a sweaty beast to strangers but worrying about how other runners judge me as a runner. Do I look like I’m slow and lumbering to them or do I look like Phoebe when I run?

True story: There are Phoebe runners out there. I saw a few today.

Anyway, like Phoebe says, it doesn’t really matter what you look like to other people because you see them for one second and you’re gone!

Now that I’ve swallowed my pride a bit, I can relish our brand new air conditioner from my nice cushy couch and not have to worry about setting foot in that humidity for the rest of the day if I don’t want to. Although soaking up additional air conditioning at the movie theater sounds like an excellent idea tonight.