Wednesday, July 05, 2006

El Perro Loco

Back when I lived in Philly, I started the Mad Dog Running Club. We would meet at the corner (if front of the bar, naturally) and run 20 blocks down and 20 blocks back (4 miles). Eventually they moved away - one to Seattle, one to Boulder, one to NY state, others othe to the 'burbs - but I made "tour" shirts up every year just the same.

The last one I made before I, myself, left town said "Mad Dog Running Club - Weeknights at 7". I would run 7 miles, every weeknight at 7PM, at a 7:00 pace.

I thoroughly enjoyed going out on blazing hot summer evenings; cruising past the playgrounds, with the men shooting hoops; getting odd looks from people in the overheating buses looking at the skinny white boy running around in 90° heat and 90% humidity; watching the blood red sun set into the Schuylkill as I crossed back from UPenn over the South Street Bridge.

Even after moving back to New Jersey in 1990, I would purposely plan my runs in a way that often found me caught in a delightfully drenching early evening thunderstorm, about five miles out with three to go.

Once, as I returned from a six mile loop, neighbors were hanging out in the street, drinking beer and admiring my friend Mark's new mountain bike. It was a totally tricked-out downhiller and Mark had the full-face helmet to go with it. As he attempted to convince me that doing an evening run during the summer was ridiculous, he challenged me to run 3 miles uphill and back WITH the helmet on ... I won $50.

Now, I run early in the morning to avoid the heat. 70° at 6AM seems oppressive; too warm for even a three mile run.

Monday, D'Wife was at work and D'Kid was at camp. I could have gone to the gym for "quick" 4 miles on the nice A/C'd track; 1/2 hour - 45 minutes on the bike; but I chose to go outside for a four-miler at lunch time instead. It was about 85° and the shadows did not exactly fall where I wanted them to. I expected the hill behind the cemetery to be much shadier. When I was done, I kicked my shoes off, peeled off my socks. I grabbed the cold water bottle and hand towel (probably recently stolen from a VA hotel) I had set on the porch. As I walked my sweaty, barefooted self around the block and wiped the salt from my face, I thought, "There. That should make Annabelle proud of me."

Of course, only then did I remember that mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun.

And I'm not English.

No comments: