Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The DARK side of running

I had an out-of-town runner with me today at lunchtime. The outsider remarked that Gainesville’s streets and sidewalks were devoid of runners, surmising that the heyday of running here must be over.


What part of 100 percent humidity, 99 degrees of steaming heat, and radiating black asphalt did this guy fail to consider???

In Florida, only a few runners brave the heat of the day.

Most of us are out just before dawn, when the ambient temperature is the coolest after a night of … uh … no sun. (This is meteorology at its most technical, so pay attention.)

The closer we get to summer, which starts in February, the earlier we rise to try and get mileage in before the sun comes up.

Also, as a nice bonus, some people water their gardens before dawn too. (If they wait until after sunrise, sprayed water evaporates in midair.) So we can do some nice sprinkler-running to stay cool and to look a lot more sweaty than we actually are. We look good. There’s nothing like a soaked runner to inspire awe. In fact, if I lay out my route just right, I can look like a wet rat within minutes, giving the illusion that I have at least ten miles under my belt before I even get warmed up. Walkers move over and give me room. Other runners just wink as they pass and shake out their wet hair. We know what we've done.

Running in Gainesville is fun only under the cover of dark now. Which means that nightlife is getting cut short, and we’re all becoming less fun. But, oh baby, are we getting fast!

You just won’t witness our prowess at noon. At noon, we're tucked into air conditioned restaurants, carbo-loading. Like INTELLIGENT people.

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