Heat wave ramblings

Last Thursday morning was cool, at least before sunrise. I pried myself out of bed, pulled on my running shoes, and took off down the deserted street. And it felt good. Really good. For the first time, I found a form that actually worked for me. Again last weekend, I found the zone, but it was damned hot. This heat wave isn’t for wimps. Our A/C went out for a few hours and I was planning our hop from movie to restaurant to friends’ houses, but it finally kicked back in.

When I started running in the fall, every strike was torture, but I kept going, increasing my milage a bit each week—until my knees got pissed off. I laid off for a while, but as I watched the numbers on the scale rise, I became desperate enough to go back to it. So I read Born to Run, Christopher McDougall’s wild story of wacky ultra-distance runners.  I didn’t catch that bug but reading about the pleasure of running kicked me back onto the road.  And that’s when I found my form, my stride, my strike.  I found a shallow, rapid stride that was easier on my knees and my breathing. It’s not speedy, but it gets me there, and after months of trying to find it, it found me.

I also didn’t hurt that a group of nerdy science types on twitter were encouraging each other (and me) to keep going, at least until the 4th. But I’m not stopping today.

PalKid got an invitation to head up to a family camp with a friend’s family. The one thing I’ve been wishing for her is more independence, so we jumped at the opportunity.  She hasn’t called us once, and so far I haven’t ended up on her bedroom floor clutching her dolls sobbing.  Much.

It’s better that she’s up north, because this heat wave isn’t letting up.  If I weren’t a scientist of sorts, I’d say that global warming is here.  But this is weather, not climate.  It’s the pattern, the droughts, the changes in temperatures and rainfall patterns, the intensity of storms that remind me of our changing climate, not one week of heat. Still, it is pretty remarkable, up here near the 42nd parallel, 100 degrees in the shade, while the foothills of the Rockies burn.  Yesterday morning as I walked out the door to head to work, a blast of sound hit me: the tornado sirens were starting. There’s one right behind our yard and it pretty much shakes your kishkes. I ran upstairs to make sure my wife was up and watching the TV. The rest of the day stormed and stormed. We don’t normally get early morning storms ’round here.

Happy 4th to all, even my non-American readers.  I’m not a big believer of American exceptionalism, but our Declaration of Independence is a pretty remarkable document.  If you’ve never read it, it’s only a few minutes out of your day.


  1. Old Geezer

     /  July 4, 2012

    Down here around the 36th parallel its been too hot too long. This 72 year old body is looking for a little respite before August.

  2. I know I’m late to this one and I agree that we’re talking weather, not climate, but sometimes I think tangible reminders are important. The distinction is important, though, and counters the “but it snowed that one time in Florida” arguments. Still, the weather in my part of the country has been bizarre this year. Would you be so kind as to try and send some of that rain my way? We *desperately* need it.

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