Thursday, August 5, 2010

But My Shoes Will Get Wet!

I was in the elevator listening to two men talk about postponing their run because it was raining outside when I was struck by how different some people are. “I just hate it when I get my shoes all wet.” Seriously! Alright, I realize that not all people are interested in taking the hardest route possible. In my mind however, this is one of the reasons America’s health is in such poor shape. People are willing to skip a workout to keep their feet dry. They are willing to skip because it’s hot. Really, any excuse will work.

I am constantly asked by coworkers if I actually rode or ran in a particular day’s weather. “Tell me you didn’t run in this heat!?” “Tell me you didn’t ride today!?” It’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s too wet… If you allow yourself to skip workouts for reasons like this, believe me, it will always be too something. If I only worked out in the most comfortable weather, I would only get about one or two months of activity in any given year.

I didn’t tell the two men that I had ran to work this morning in the height of the rains. For nearly 90 minutes it had been a steady downpour while watching the lightning streak across the sky. Yes my shoes, and every other part of my body and gear, were drenched. They will probably still be drenched when I put them on to run home. However, it was also one of the best runs I have had all month. Beautiful sounds and visuals. Cool breezes and refreshing rain. After several runs with a heat index over 100 it was really quite exceptional.

Tim Krabbé expresses my exact feelings in his 1978 novel, The Rider:

“The greater the suffering, the greater the pleasure. That is nature’s payback to riders for the homage they pay her by suffering. Velvet pillows, safari parks, sunglasses; people have become woolly mice. They still have bodies that can walk for five days and four nights through a desert of snow, without food, but they accept praise for having taken a one-hour bicycle ride. ‘Good for you’. Instead of expressing their gratitude for the rain by getting wet, people walk around with umbrellas. Nature is an old lady with few friends these days, and those who wish to make use of her charms, she rewards passionately.”

Week of July 26 – Ride 16, Run 50