Running right round.

It’s going to be 98° this afternoon. And that’s without the annoying “feels like” temperature. Ninety-eight frickin’ degrees. Know what I’m supposed to do today? Run. I’m supposed to run in all the sunshine. All that heat. All that hydration.

I started training again for that silly little half marathon at the beginning of September, right after my sister left, right when I said I was going to. After a four-week break, it felt great to hit the open sidewalk, letting the the concrete flow dribble past me. I knew it was going to be tough, getting back into the swing of things, and I knew that it would be difficult because it’s summer here in Tejas until the middle of always. (Or November. Meh.) So I wasn’t surprised when the heat whacked me upside the head.

I did surprisingly well, though. Every time I’ve taken an extended break, I can do about a mile the first week back. Whether I’ve been gone for a year or a few weeks, a mile is just what my muscles seem to remember. It’s what they can kick out on a moment’s notice. With a bit more elastic definition of “running” and what exactly I would track on my timekeeper (i.e., by letting myself have a few walking breaks), I was able to stretch out that first run to a mile and a half. Not bad. The next run I got up to two miles. The next time, I stayed at two miles, but I was able to gut it out and run the entire distance – no walking breaks necessary. By this weekend, I was able to kick it up to 2.5 miles, run nearly in one go, with only a short water break at mile 2.25.

It helped that runs 3 and 4 (the 2 and 2.5 miler) happened earlier in the morning. My muscles are fresher, I have more energy, and a better frame of mind if I run in the morning instead of after work. The temps are much cooler, too. 77 and mostly cloudy instead of 100 and crispy-fried sunshine? Yes, please! No wonder I could run farther and for longer chunks without rest. What a difference to the stresses I was putting my body through!

I was so happy with where I was at on Sunday that I dared to make a plan. An out loud plan. (Those are dangerous.) I would try to maintain my 2.5 this week, kick it up to 3 miles next week, and then maintain for the rest of September while I worked on making that 3 miles better and stronger. Once October hit, I’d start training for the half-marathon for real. No more pre-training as I built back my mileage.

Which is why I’m unsurprised that today is going to be 98 frickin’ degrees. That always happens when I use out-loud words with my plans. But it’s okay. I’ll do the best I can tonight. Then I’ll wallow in the cold front that’s coming through and flat-out delight in the high of 77 degrees on Friday. That’s right, baby – 77 degrees! I’ll be flying along!

There will be many tweaks to the plans along the way. There will be bigger setbacks than upticks in the temperatures. But we’ll work around ’em. It’s what silly little half-marathoners do.

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