The weather has cooled off significantly over the last few days, and it's definitely made running more pleasant. Tonight I went out in shorts and a tank at 61 degrees as the sun was going down, and it was more than a little chilly to me. Summer wardrobe was easy; I just tried to wear as little as possible. But now I don't know what I'm doing. The whole hot/cold/sweaty situation has me baffled. I started out freezing, but of course warmed up pretty quickly. I was hot and sweaty but my skin still felt like ice. Weird. I'll be experimenting with what to wear so I'm not too cold or too hot, but one thing I know for sure is when it's under 70 degrees, I'll be protecting my delicate ears with my ugly Bondi Band. I get terrible earaches and headaches when there's the slightest chill in the air, so I just have to not think about how ridiculous I look.
One of my favorite things about running is people watching. I know I've mentioned this before, but I love it when there are lots of people out so I can take my mind off my tired legs for a while. Lately I've seen deer grazing just a few yards off the path at the park where I run. Just tonight, as I was cursing Arkansas for the swarms of gnats flying in my face even though it was 60 degrees, I came up on EIGHT deer - babies and mamas - lazily grazing and completely unconcerned with the huffing, puffing, stomping human on their turf. And then I forgave Arkansas.
Seeing other runners also makes me feel better about what I'm doing. I always see people who are better and faster, and it makes me want to work harder. I'll see a runner farther up the path who looks like they know what they're doing, and I'll try to imitate their form before they leave me in the dust. The other day, I was struggling and not wanting to run at all. As I was trying to resist the urge to slow down and walk, I met two barefoot runners coming up the path the opposite direction. And I mean BAREFOOT. None of this Nike Free business. Bare skin on pavement.
There are beautiful runners, who give me something to work toward, and then there are runners who make me laugh out loud. I sometimes forget that even though my music is blasting and I can't hear anything else, people can still hear me. But no matter how hard I try, I cannot keep from laughing when I meet Crazy Arms runner. I see this man at the park often, and I giggle every single time. Trea and I call him Crazy Arms because he flails his arms wildly and awkwardly as he runs. He's short with a bit of a tummy, and he runs crazy fast! Every time I see him, I think of Phoebe from Friends. Kudos to him though, for doing what works. Everyone is different. And he is hilarious.
In five days, I will run the Go Literacy! 5K for the Benton County Literacy Council, and I think I have about a 70/30 chance of running all the way without walking. I drove the race course the other day, and boy oh boy, the last half has some nasty hills! I've been so focused on just finishing my workouts and building up endurance that I haven't focused at all on strength training. I wish I had put in the extra energy to practice running hills so my legs would be stronger, but I'll just have to hope my training has been good enough. I usually stick to flat paths, so this 5K is going to be extra tough. Tonight is the first time I've ever run a 5K distance without walking, and the path was pretty flat. Saturday is going to be a beast. But it will be fun and exciting because I've never even attended a race before. AND! The race for literacy just happens to coincide with Banned Books Week. How awesome is that?
So wish me luck that I won't finish last, and I'll post a race report afterward. I get a cool t-shirt no matter what, so it can't be that bad, right?