in the cool of the night

there's nothing like a run at 1 in the morning. i feel sorry for girls because it isn't safe for them--but then again i'm not so sure it's safe for me. i always pick up my pace a bit when a random car happens to be out on the road and passes by me. still, it's a pleasure to run in cooler weather in the middle of july in kansas city. i hadn't really planned on running tonight. it just kind of happened. so there i was, on the road at 1a.m.

i watched the royals game tonight too. in fact, it's kind of what spurred me on to run. no, they did not win--but the game went 13 innings. in somewhat typical royals fashion, they blew a 2 run lead in the eighth and the game was tied. it stayed tied till the 11th when the white sox scored two runs because the umpire botched an interference call that would have kept the runs off the board (it was pretty clear on the reply). but then the royals came back and scored two in the bottom half to tie it again. john buck pinch hit with a runner in scoring position for a chance to win the game, but grounded out--that's ok, he did win the game yesterday. so the white sox scored in the 13th, and the royals came back and loaded the bases with only 1 out. but a double play ended the heartbreaking game.

now you may not care about the royals or baseball, but that was quite a game. all the royals had their rally caps on in the dugout just like they were still in little league. jose guillen was jumping up and down. it was fun. and then they lost. of course, the royals of years past never even would have put up that kind of fight and made it that far. the white sox are a first place team, and they have better players on their roster. but the royals could have won the game. they made some crucial mistakes and failed to execute when they had the chance. the white sox are not only a better team, they are a better trained team (though things are changing for the royals).

a couple years ago i lost a good amount of weight (isn't strange how it's weird to talk about that? i feel like a lot of the time people are either in some way ashamed of it or are way too proud of themselves. why is it so taboo?). i went to europe and benefited from all the walking, the smaller portions, and getting to play swiss semi-pro basketball for a terrible team. i don't think we won a game. but i had fun, scored lots of points, got a technical for throwing my headband, and got in shape. a lot of people lose weight when they go to europe, but the truth is i had been running quite a bit the summer before i went to get things started.

when i got back, people noticed of course. i remember one person telling me about a time they lost a bunch of weight working construction one summer, but then he gained it all back. he said i would gain it back too--not coldly, just matter of fact like. i remember someone close to me pointing to one of my senior photos from high school not long after it was taken and saying, "you'll probably never look better in your life than you do in that photo." i resented both those things, but they motivated me (eventually at least) to work hard and to stay in shape and even to lose a little more the following year. is this all too personal?

the smaller portion thing was great too. when i got back every meal out meant leftovers and another meal for later. it was great. but soon enough the portions and great food took over and i lost that smaller appetite. i still kept working out a lot though, and that was enough.

then i got a large cyst on my tail bone, shutting me down for a couple months. i'm just finally fully recovering and getting back to being active again--though the fear of it coming back is hard to overcome. i'm way out of shape and soft now. and laying around has taken it's toll. that and lots of amazing baked goods that are way to delicious for my own good. (doesn't mean i don't still love receiving them though! thank you! you know who you are!) so i'm back to the grind. and it's slow going off the start, trying to get back so much that was lost.

i'm running the same paths i ran for soccer in high school, though much slower of course. back then we had to run those 3 miles in under 21 minutes, and i'm a bit older now with a stiffer back and sorer joints. i remember in high school, at lunch the day of the big timed run. i watched one of our star players go get a coke out of the machine. not on the day of the run! you'll cramp up, not make it. of course he ran it in under 20 minutes still. i always had to be more careful though it seems. my body seems more averse to long distance running than others--that or i just don't know how to push myself like they do. but to so many it seems like it just comes so easy. and i resent that. i know that guy put in a lot of work so that a coke on the day wouldn't really matter, but it seems like it's always a combination of hard work and natural ability. some people have the metabolism of a hummingbird, eating whatever they want and maintaining a body fat percentage of 2.3. those people should be force-fed rice cakes while plates of donuts are dangled in front of them. mmm, donuts...

anyway, the run back then, and still today consists of a nice steep incline at 87th street off somerset. which is of course where i live. i live on top of a giant hill, and no matter where i run i will always have to end my run going straight up hill. unless of course i run my desired distance before i reach the hill and then i walk it for my cool down. that has been my strategy of late. still though, there is something that feels wrong walking up that hill. maybe it's all those days of coaches yelling during the last 5 minutes of practice while we were running, "4th quarter!" and "overtime!" and "18th hole!" ok maybe not that last one--but i'll tell you carrying your 30 pound clubs 18 holes for 5 hours for 7500 yards is no picnic. but walking that hill just seems like quitting.

so tonight, listening to my running mix on shuffle, i'm walking the hill and the training montage from rocky comes on (oh wouldn't you like to know what other gems are on my running mix!?!? if you beg enough maybe i'll post it in all its glory and hilarity! cds are $5. contact me). and though i'm leaning forward to maintain balance and i've already finished my couple miles for the night, i start to jog. not a quick run, but a jog. and then i slow down a bit, and then i run full out to my street.

maybe soon enough i'll be able to run that hill without stopping. maybe i'll pick up my pace and build back some of all that muscle i lost on the sick bed. and maybe, if i keep at it long enough, i'll be able to take those runs at 1p.m. in the heat of the day.

...heck no! what do you think i'm crazy? i see people running that time of day in all that humidity and i think they are insane! they're like the people who keep jogging at red stop lights. or the ones who run because they actually enjoy it. masochism is alive and well folks. those people are just nuts.


  1. I may need to know what's on your running mix, Luke. Really and truly.

  2. I fully support the force-feeding of donuts. That is hilarious.

    Also, that is a killer hill! Bravo!

  3. Yeah, count me in on the running mix Luke. But 5 bucks... Im pretty certain rules are being broken by sharing music... Im positive it's illegal to profit by selling other people's stuff!