“It’s driving me nuts,” I complained to my boss. “Doing a nine mile run was no problem while on vacation in Idaho three weeks ago and here I can barely manage three miles before I have to walk. My body just doesn’t tolerate heat the way it did when I was younger and fitter.”
My boss, who competes in several half-marathons a year, shot back, “What is the name of the half-marathon you’re doing?”
Crap. I could see where she was going with this and she completely called me out on my ambitious stupidity. The half-marathon I signed up for back in May is called Badass Texas. Hot, hilly, and, well, Texas-in-August hot.
I grew in the high deserts of Northern Nevada and have no problem running in thin, dry air. Despite a total of eight and a half years in Texas, the summers still feel like being smothered in a damp wool blanket. Age and weight aren’t helping.
“When you signed up there probably weren’t many races to choose from, were there? Do you know why there are no races in Texas in August? Why didn’t you find one in November for your first half-marathon?”
Because I’m middle-aged, 50 pounds overweight, and chasing the ephemeral memories of my fitness from 20 years ago. DUH!
Actually, her why-can’t-you-see-how-stupid-this-is “pep” talk (which mirrors several conversations I’ve had with my wife, to the smug satisfaction of my wife) was strangely comforting. A “you can do it!” with a friendly punch on the shoulder would have done nothing for me. But her, “of course it sucks and it’s going to suck worse come raceday” reality check made me feel much better about my misery.
Being miserable when you think you should be fine can shatter the strongest mental attitudes. Suffering because you should be suffering is a bit easier for the ego to deal with.
I’m typing this on Friday night. The half-marathon starts at 6:45am Sunday. I’m as ready. Or at least as ready as I’m going to be. Time to sweat.