Around the mid-Atlantic states you get this wonderful phenomena called humidity. Even though fall is nearly upon us some days the air is so thick you feel like you are swimming through it. When you are asthmatic (which is already like trying to breathe through a straw) these days are the days where some wise guy shoved peas into that straw.
A dear friend of mine, D, asked me to come down and run the Mulberry Island 5k with him. He’s been battling some injuries and person health issues and this was going to be his first time back road running in well over a year. Even though I ran the half marathon last weekend I figured I had to get back into the pool sometime so why not go down, hang out with his awesome family, and get a run in too. I also had an ulterior motive. I bought him a camo tutu and it was the perfect opportunity to get him to wear it. (In my defense, he had agreed to wear it for the half-marathon since we were all wearing tutus…I just don’t think he expected to wear it before then.)
Looking around the start line it was filled with young gazelles. The start gun went off and off scampered the gazelles (who I later found out crossed the finish line in sub 15 minutes). As we headed away from the start line the air hit you like a truck. You could literally see how thick the air was. D and I settled into a steady rhythm, but I knew that he was shortening his stride to stay with me. I kept urging him to go ahead that Perry and I would be fine, but he opted to stay with us. Perry was happy as a clam running along. I was wondering why I was struggling so bad (other than the air quality) then my phone at the 1 mile marker said, “1 mile. Time, Ten Minutes 42 seconds.” Holy biscuits and gravy, WHAT? I looked at D and said, “Gee, no wonder why I’m struggling.” Finally, after the water station at the half way mark he stretched his stride out. I could tell as I watched him pull away from us that he was not only starting to feel better with the longer stride, but his confidence about running on the road was coming back to him too.
Meanwhile, Perry and I, ok I, was struggling with the air quality; it was hot, humid, and thick. I had taken my inhaler before we started and then again shortly after we left the start line as a precautionary measure. We kept pushing through the course. My mind was very divided on how I was feeling. One half of me kept pushing me more and more. The other half of me was screaming to make it stop.
As we came around the final corner I could see the finish line. I could hear D, his wife and kids all cheering. I kicked it into high gear. Ok, for most people it’s their normal pace, for me it was high gear. I sprinted to the finish line. I was looking at the clock as I crossed under it; 32:01. Are you freaking kidding me? Seriously???? Back in May when I did The Color Run in DC I finished in 47 minutes. Today, four months later, I finished 15 minutes faster. It must be the tutu, I think it has rocket launchers is in. Now, to just keep that kind of pace up over longer distances. Baby steps.