More slice of life crap
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By jank - Last updated: Monday, August 18, 2003 - Save & Share - One Comment

There’s nothing quite like running in a mid-summer Houston downpour. Imagine being in a shower. Not one of those wimpy low-flow shower head tree-hugging showers. Think of a mid-1960’s vintage, single story motel along the Gulf Coast type shower. One of the showers that had handles long before the ADA(Americans with Disabilities Act) mandated that hotels have some rooms with accessible showers. A shower that’ll blow not only the dirt and sweat off of your carcass, but will also scrub your soul clean from mortal sins.

That’s what a south Texas thunderstorm feels like, and that’s where I ran this afternoon.


Look, to go all girly on y’all, I’ve hit an impasse. I’ve decided that I’m sick of being a borderline lardass, and want to finally knock off the case of beer (a pint’s a pound, the world around) I’ve been carrying around my midriff for most of the last decade. I’ve dropped a good 10 lbs since New Years’, but haven’t made any real progress since returning stateside in May. So, trip to the wing store for supper tonight aside, I’m kicking off the Less-Bill plan effective immediately.

(Apologies to LT Scott What’s-His-Name of the DESRON 31 staff whose Less-Scott plan I’m blatantly ripping off. Hopefully, your efforts were more successful than mine)

In the interest of full disclosure, I hadn’t really done anything physical since I was in San Diego a weekend ago. I’ve pulled out of my plan to do a triathlon with an old college buddy in September due to lack of training, and I’ve hit rock bottom. I’m eagerly working to avoid having another sympathy pregnancy like I had with Jake (Don’t laugh, fellas – it happens), and decided that today was the day to make it happen.

I made sure that I’d wrapped up my current contract work at 5:00 so I could get home in time both to run and to run around with Jake this evening. Changed into running shorts at the office, and felt slightly guilty walking past the other folks who’d taken long lunches and wouldn’t be leaving ’till 6 or so.

Houston didn’t fail from her typical August forecast – Hot, with chance of afternoon rain-storms. There was a pretty big system rolling in from the south. The accident reports on the radio followed the advance of the storm, which I watched in my rearview as I made my way west and home. Just as I pulled into the jogging trail parking lot, the skies opened up. God’s promised never to destroy the world by flood again, but holy crap, it seemed like he was thinking of going back on that promise.

Almost instantly with the rain, the temperature dropped 20 degrees. Which put it in the high 70’s. I set out down the asphalt trail, not able to see 20 feet in front of me, but relishing the first cool temperatures in months.

That crap in the intro about scrubbing souls? I could feel it happening. The first huge drops of rain had pulled the ozone and particulates out of the air, and I was breathing clean air for once. The cool of the rain more than compensated for the extra weight my shoes had picked up, and I was able to pick up my feet and put them down again with increased vigor. Knocked out the outward leg of the run in close to my top time for that run (pitifully slow by most standards, but the beauty of running/biking/swimming is that you’re always racing against yourself first).

As I got to the semi-washed out bridge over Buffalo Bayou, the rain stopped as quickly as it’d started, and the clouds started to part. I’d like to pass some light-hearted crap about rainbows, lollipops, and strawberry ponies, but this is Houston in freakin’ August. The sun came out, and the baked ground instantly added latent heat of vaporization to the inch and a half of rain that’d fallen in 20 minutes.

So maybe not rainbows, lollipops, and ponies, but it really was pretty neat (No way in hell can I say cool in this context. Even with cool meaning hot meaning neat). There were big billows of steam coming out of the treeline on the eastern side of the trail, and steam rising from every square inch of ground. The park was transformed from a swamp cooler to a sauna as soon as rain stopped falling and the afternoon sun came out.

With the sun came the sounds of the forest primeval. It honestly sounded like that ride at Epcot Center, the one that talks about dinosaurs getting crushed into oil. There were wood ducks with their whistle/quack, calling for each other after getting separated by the downpour. Giant frogs asking for beer. Cicadas the size of your fist buzzing from every branch. Luckily, the feral cattle that roam the park were no-where to be seen (you haven’t experienced bovine intimidation until you’ve come across a bull on a moonless morning/evening before/after the sun’s risen/set while jogging or riding a bike.)

I resolved to finish strong, and managed to huff back to the car in about as long as it’d taken me to huff to where I was. I was also lucky to get an ‘aftershock’, another quick shower when I hit about 1/4 mile from the end of the trail.

Lessons learned –
1. I can’t make any progress by thinking about running or riding. I actually need to get my fat butt outside.
2. Every time I actually get my fat butt outside, there’s something to hold my interest beyond feet slapping on the ground. The world is by and large interesting, even in Houston.
3. Even light beer tastes good in the right context.

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One Response to “More slice of life crap”

Comment from jank
Time August 19, 2003 at 3:45 pm

8/19 Update-

Got off my butt at lunch and went out for a great run in the neighborhood near the office. Hot, but not too hot. Plenty of endorphins sitting here now that I’ve stopped sweating.

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