A few days ago it was 32 degrees celsius when I set off for my run. It was like Armageddon: blistering sun; swarms of nasty orange bugs filling the air; horseflies buzzing in my ears, and tiny little bugs flying into my eyes. At each water fountain, I filled my running cap with water and plopped it on my head. My pace was slower than a tortoise, slower than a snail, slower than…well, you get the idea. I pushed and shoved my way along that trail. I did what I had to do. Arriving back at the gym where I began the run, I hid in the car park so the ladies I’d taught BodyPump an hour before wouldn’t see my red face. They caught me anyway. One of them (she’s 74) told me if I were her daughter, she’d smack my bottom for running when it was so hot.
The very next day, the cool change came. I slipped on my sneakers, and I ran down that same trail like the wind. The bugs were gone, there was a cool breeze off the bay, and man, I was flying. I love that feeling – it’s as if my body becomes something else, something stronger and faster, something more able than I usually am. My feet don’t pound they earth; they kiss the earth. I dance the run. Someone asked me recently why I run. That is why. Because most of the time, that’s how good it feels.
And either way, hot and slow, or cool and fast, at the end of the run, after the cooldown and stretches and shower, I feel the same thing: I feel as if I have accomplished something powerful, something primal, something that no one can take away from me. In the hours after I run, I walk with more dignity, I speak with more self-assurance, and the little things don’t bother me as much.
It is strange, the immense difference something as simple as a run can make. Yet there it is – a wonder-drug, an instant uplift, self-confidence that lasts for hours and hours.
Hot, cold, dry, wet. Any run is a good run. Eventually.