I think I might have to give up running pretty soon, for probably at least 7 or 8 months. I’m going to try to hold on until the Zombies, Run! virtual race because goddammit, that’s what I’ve been training for since November (10K or bust), but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep going much after. And for once it’s not because some new part of my body is attempting to fall off or explode. It’s because it’s too fucking hot. Or not even too fucking hot, just too fucking humid.
I used to say that I don’t deal well with heat, but no, I’m pretty sure I do okay with heat, it’s the humidity I can’t handle. I’ve had less miserable runs when it was 95F in Denver than when it’s 75F in Houston. Dizziness and vomiting when I’m barely doing 11 minute miles is some ridiculous bullshit, right there.
I feel like little by little, Houston is eating all of my options. I’ve basically given up on biking at this point, after a member of my peloton got hit by a car and killed on his way to a ride, and after having two extremely terrifying close calls of my own with Houston drivers. I can’t long distance on my own safely, and I haven’t been able to get up early enough for a group ride in forever, because at this point I’ve basically cut my candle in half so I can burn four ends at once. I’ve had to put my weightlifting on hold because I started having that awful, grinding sensation in my left shoulder, the one that makes me think I should really go ask the doctor to do a CAT scan of it, but I don’t really want to know what the answer will be and I don’t want to face another endless series of random doctor bills that my insurance doesn’t happen to cover.
What I learned when I started my grand project of losing weight and getting fit years ago was that the only way for me to make this work was to find ways to change my life I could live with on the very long term. That’s why I don’t believe in giving up specific foods or shit like that. And with exercise, it has to be something I can keep happily doing until some body part fails and I have to move on to the next thing. I don’t hate myself enough to effectively punish myself for hours at a time, multiple evenings a week. Life’s too short for that.
So no, running on a treadmill is not an option. I get so goddamn bored that five minutes stretches to a subjective hour, and all I can think is how much I hate exercising and would rather do anything else. Mountain biking isn’t an option, I don’t enjoy it.
I have to figure out what to do next. Going to have to find something indoors because I can barely handle the temperatures already and it’s only March–what the fuck is July even going to be like? Maybe dance lessons again. I had to give up on tap for a while because of my fucked up toe, but surgery has supposedly corrected that and I’ve been running okay on it for months. Maybe there’s a facility with a climbing wall around and I can finally learn how to do that. I hear if you do it right, you mostly use your legs anyway, so my pathetic level of upper body strength won’t kill me. Haven’t found any non-McDojos in my area, though, I’m very sorry to say.
What I’m most worried about is that I won’t find anything I like doing at all. Maybe I can float by on spinning and walking on a treadmill because at least that way I can pass the time by reading, but neither of those are as good as the real thing. But the other reason this is beyond important to me, running 3-4 times a week and walking 3+ miles every day, is since I started doing this, I haven’t had any more major problems with my lower back. So if I suddenly can’t do much walking any more because it’s Too Fucking Hot And I Want To Vomit Then Die, are my back problems going to return?
It’s kind of stupid, because I never thought of myself as an outdoorsy person. I grew up in Colorado, but I never much cared for camping and I have an aversion to dirt that’s downright hilarious in a geologist. But I get somewhere where suddenly I can’t just hop on my bicycle and ride downtown from my front door in about an hour, on paved, safe bike trails the whole way, or somewhere I can’t just go take a walk whenever I want without wanting to die from the sticky heat or worry about getting hit by a car, and I realize that yeah. I spent a lot of time outdoors. Way more than I ever realized, and I fucking miss it. You’d never think this much ridiculous urban sprawl could make someone feel suffocated and claustrophobic.