Thursday, May 8, 2014

Peace Out, Old Man Winter.

Mother Nature has flipped the Season switch, bidding adieu! to the wettest, most frigidist, longest, yuckiest winter in recent memory. You can count me among the thousands (possibly millions) of outdoor enthusiasts who are more than happy to kick Old Man Winter to the curb.

Here it is, folks! Bring on Summertime. You know what that means; flowers, sunshine, trips to OBX and smiling, bouncy, happy runners.



Time for bratty people everywhere to start complaining about the heat, the humidity and their frizzy hair. Now, I'm not one of those obnoxious runners who find something to whine about during every workout (As if!). However, there are a few things about running in the summer that take a little getting used to. I must whine for a nanosecond, never to whine again (unless someone forgets to put the cute little umbrella in my post-run Daiquiri).

Instead of listing my hot-weather running woes every day from now 'til September (ain't nobody got time for that), I'm just gonna throw it out there ahead of time. Here are a few friendly observations about running in the sticky, blazin' hot, ridiculously sweaty conditions otherwise known as summer in beautiful RVA.

Gosh, won't it be nice to get this out of the way?

Because we all need another thing to add to our pre-run checklist (and our shopping list).

-Water bottles.
I've tried at least 5 different hydration systems, finally settling on the Nathan hand-held variety. Its the least annoying of the bunch, but running with stuff in my hands is obnoxious. Not as obnoxious as passing out in the middle of the James due to heat exhaustion, but still.

-Snakes and other vermin.
I try not to spend a ton of time worrying about Copperheads and other snakes, but this time of year, every other root looks just like a giant Cottonmouth who might confiscate one of my legs. Other animals that cross my mind are bears (duh!), bobcats, hornets and rabid Canadian Geese.

Sweat (some of us more than others).
I get really (really) sweaty during a regular run. Crank up the heat past 80 degrees, and I've got sweat trickling into my eyes, dripping from my ponytail, down my legs and into my socks. The result: a cute little sweat-puddle-trail that I could probably use to find my way back to my car in a pinch.

-Chicks in tube tops.
So, I know the trails I run are open to the public (one of their best features, actually), but during the colder months, the only other trail-hoppers are other runners, bikers and a few squirrels. Flip the summertime switch, and you get all sorts of riff-raff to keep you company. Today, I came up behind a tube-top clad lassie, swigging a Monster energy drink and sucking on a Camel Menthol. I politely said "to your left" (proper trail lingo, yeah?), only to be ignored and eventually scowled at. Really? I could have said what I was thinking ("MOVE IT, Kat Von D!"), but I'm not sure that approach would have been any more effective.

-Pollen and Poo.
My car is covered in inch-worm poo and yellow pollen. I don't eat meat but I'm pretty sure I've inhaled/swallowed at least 3 inch worms in the past 2 weeks. I think that sums it up.

-Holy HOT!
Dude, its SO hot.