Saturday, April 19, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For...You Just Might Get It

It seems that spring has, at last, finally sprung in Michigan.

Of course now I all but guaranteed we will have one more blast of winter weather by saying that, didn't it?

I have whined and complained and bitched about the way winter seemed to be dragging on...and on...and on...around here. I yearned for longer days, warmer temperatures, sidewalks that were free of snow.

Now I have all three of those things, except they aren't turning out to be as all-encompassingly fantastic as I thought they would be. OK, the longer days thing pretty much rocks. I can go out for a run at 6:30 pm, finish at 8:00 pm, and it's still light out. Furthermore, I am about to flip my schedule and start running in the early mornings again now that it's semi-light at 6:00 am.

However. Warmer temperatures means I am sweating more. And for me, "more" means "getting drenched." I sweat a lot. That old trying-to-be-funny saying about how "women don't sweat, they glow" does not apply to me. I don't glow. Or glisten. I look like someone threw a bucket of water on me. It was so nice over the winter when I didn't come back with my hair all matted down, huge sweat bibs on the fronts and backs of my shirts, and eyes red and stinging from sweat trickling into them.

I am enjoying the fact that all I need to go running now is a pair of shorts and a tank top instead of ten layers and multiple accessories, though. And whoa, folks, let me just say that proper running shorts and short-sleeved and tank tops are so much nicer to run in than cotton T-shirts and my old gym shorts. I feel so sleek and speedy in my new gear. Additionally, I can coordinate my outfits with one of my thirteen Bondi Band headbands. I am ready for any fashion situation! When you look good, you feel good, you know.

But. Warmer weather also means that the snow cover is gone and the temperature is above freezing most of the time. Thus, all of the roadkill that was sacrificed to the car gods over the winter and mercifully lay frozen for months has now thawed. I like to run in the country as much as possible. The country contains many ditches and such where roadkill landed. Said roadkill is now becoming...awfully fragrant. Nothing like the smell of dead deer in the morning! I can only hope that our local crows, vultures, ants and flies do their jobs as Nature's Garbagemen and take care of this problem.

Now, on to our sidewalks. For months I ran in the streets because the sidewalks were a half-shoveled or not-shoveled-at-all nightmare. Now that the sidewalks are clear, I can run freely on them. Except...often I find myself back in the street anyway. Why? Because the sidewalks of my lovely little city are so uneven as to guarantee a faceplant or skinned knees at some point in my future. I have to stare at a spot a few strides ahead of me at all times in order to stay alert for changing topography. This prevents me from taking pleasure in anything else. I love being able to look around at the world while I am out running. However, my world shrinks down to the few feet of sidewalk a short distance in front of me these days. Thus, I often veer into the street to get some relief from staring at the same spot on the sidewalk and to not worry about tripping and crashing to the ground.

Finally, the combination of warm temperatures + clear sidewalks = PEOPLE, PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. I got used to being the only one out and about during the winter (except for fellow obsessed runners; we would always exchange "the nod" if we passed each other while out for a run on a frigid January afternoon). Sometimes I felt as if I was the only one alive in town. The peace and solitude were lovely. Now I have to dodge ambling teenagers, people with dogs, little kids on bikes, enormous sidewalk-gobbling megastrollers, old folks going slowly, and people who walk three abreast and don't even attempt to move when they see me coming.

I wanted spring to come so badly, and now that it's here, I find myself waxing nostalgic for winter. I'm never satisfied, am I?


Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Living here on the Gulf Coast with its high heat and humidity most of the year, I don't consider it a good run unless I come home dripping a trail. :-)

The thawing critters sound nasty, though.

Anonymous said...

I know the feeling. It's a Michigan quandry. We can never be satisfied with what we have because there is rarely an equilibirum. It is always either too cold or too hot.

Emil Von Runner said...

I hear you on the heat. The last couple weekends seemed like spring then this weekend felt like the dead of summer.

Anonymous said...

Oh lady I am all about the cold-weather running. You'll never hear me bitching abt the cold weather, I love it love it, sleet, snow, ice whatev--I'll take it over humidity, garbage stank, and annoying daytrippers who get in my way.