It’s hot in New Orleans. Not cute tank top hot. Not, “Oh! Let’s drink lemonade,” hot. Hot hot. Stinky hot. Clothes-stick-to-you-the-instant-you-step-outside-hot. Take a third bath hot. So back in February when I had the full-on realization that I *love* (yep, love) the running part of running, my mind immediately fastforwarded to the heat. In New Orleans we never know when the heat is going to come because, truth be told, it never leaves. We don’t have seasons, we have cold fronts. If there’s no cold front passing through, you can legitimately wear shorts on Christmas. Now, your mother wouldn’t let you do that. At least not to church. She *might* let you wear a short set to play with your cousins in the 80+ degree afternoon heat after mass. Might. More likely a skirt. We try hard to make our clothes match the season down here even if the weather doesn’t.
So there I was on February 13th, running on the levee and more thankful for the light breeze off the river than I knew I could be. Although it was my birthday, that run was the only glean of happiness I felt that day and I realized how desperate I would have felt without it and the breeze that made it possible. The running gods smiled on me that day and continued providing cool (enough) breezy (enough) mornings at least 3 days a week until April. But the day did eventually come where I could not do it anymore. I ran my usual 45 minute route and vomited at the end of it before sporting a 3 day long migraine. Yep. I knew from previous attempts at becoming a jogger that running in the heat didn’t work for me and it still doesn’t. So what do I do? Give up jogging? Wait until October when a cool front *might* happen through? It actually frightened me to think of having to start all over again. To go back to the point where running a mile without stopping was an accomplishment. Don’t get me wrong. Most runners have to journey through that point, but I was fearful that if I lost too much ground I would never pick it back up again. The only alternative was joining a gym and jumping on treadmill.
Treadmill. Say it three times. Treadmill. Said properly it sends shivers of dread through the stoutest man's soul.
Everybody told me how much the treadmill was going to suck, yet somehow I still wasn’t prepared for it. I had my music. I had my water. I was in the A/C. Still it sucked. I bought a clip-on fan and closed my eyes, pretending it was a breeze. That helped some, but not enough.
What finally turned the tide was Alcide. Dark, muscular (but not too much), I'm a werewolf but a good guy Alcide. Well, actually it wasn’t Alcide at first. At first it was Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen and all the good people at HBO who thought of making an HBOgo app for the iPhone. I tried watching comedy at first, thinking that laughter would push me through, but it wasn't until I found the fantasy world of the Seven Kingdoms and its iron throne that I became enthralled enough to forget I was on the dreadmill. I metered those episodes out in a way my greedy personality usually does not allow, watching Game of Thrones series ONLY when I was running at full throttle. Like that I stretched that one season out to 20 runs or so, but it eventually ran out. Now I’ve switched over to True Blood. Sookie and Eric are fine and all, and I like a good coven of witches as much as the next girl, but waiting for Alcide to pop-up and (hopefully) pop out of his shirt I’ve even managed to increase my speed. Have you seen Alcide? You’d probably run for a glimpse of him, too. ;)