Wednesday, July 17, 2013
The Elements Pt 1: Manhattan, the Oven
Running through high temperatures and humid air is already quite taxing and should force most all runners to adjust their pace, apply that SPF, and hydrate more. Bring those elements to one of the most dense urban sprawls on the planet and you have an environment begging you not to run amok amongst it: endless commercial & residential property blasting hot air out from A/C exhaust 24/7, gridlocked automobiles spewing the searing hot residual poison of burnt fossil fuels, precious little green life to help balance the equation, and the concrete floor baking and emanating the days increasing temperatures back up at you from below after you've already been hit from all sides.
It is a gauntlet designed to make every stride feel like a dozen, and why do I love it? Part of the answer to that question is probably a bit more disturbing than I care to admit right now, but I love being around the people, acknowledging them in this shared hot and sticky situation we've found ourselves in. I feel alive with the collective on days like these more than almost any others as I watch life play out in slow motion, working just a bit harder to keep itself going. It will keep going, either happily in an embrace of the elements or miserably in a false state of victimization or self pity. Beyond the unique emotional draws, however, there is a physical reward that trumps all.
Immediately after finishing a run feeling completely spent, with sweat pouring off of you as if you were an ice cube in a microwave (if you are no longer sweating that is a DANGEROUS SIGNAL), hop in to an ice cold shower making sure that water makes first contact with the back of your neck. Every single nerve in your body is electrified on an extreme level. I would even caution people with heart conditions from trying it (but if you have serious heart issues I'm not sure why you'd be running several miles in an oven anyway). This is a profound level of stimulation bordering on the spiritual that I haven't be able to reproduce by any other means.
Don't find an excuse not to run. Find a reason to love it.