OH THE “HUMIDITY”

I was having a vision of a “Donnie” shaped “Hindenburg” bursting into flames while crashing to the ground or maybe I should be having the Mr. Carlson, Les Nessman moment, “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.” No that doesn’t fit the story because I despise flying and I am somehow both burning up and drowning in my own…sweat. If I were a Southern lady I would be “glistening.” I’m not even a Southern gentleman, so I am just drowning in my own sweat and the biological process is not functioning as it should. Sweating is not keeping me cool because evaporation is not occurring. Instead it is as if I am running within a thick, heavy and wet wool blanket.

The Yogi Berra voice in my head repeats the quote, “It ain’t the heat it is the humidity.” After thirty-nine years of coaching spring sports, always interrupted with an early spring or late winter snow storm along with many days with wind chills near zero, I swore I would never gripe about summer heat again. I haven’t but I did leave myself an out with the humidity.

Running on roads and paths located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Escarpment can be challenging. I cannot run or walk and get away from hills unless I get in my car and drive somewhere flatter and sometimes I do. I should have done so this morning. Instead it was a half mile up, a half mile down, followed by a mile up, a mile “sorta” flat and then reverse the map…except before reversing the map I was dead or at least in the process of drowning in my own sweat. My feet were squishing inside of my shoes and we won’t discuss what is happening within my “breathable and perspiration wicking” underwear. I am reminded on a young football player who had moved in from one of the “I’’ states in the early nineties. We had discovered that withholding water did not make you stronger, it in fact could make you dead, and were moving to unlimited “rehydration” breaks. During a break I noticed the young man was not rehydrating and told him to drink. He said that he was okay that “It gets hot in the ‘I’ state too you know.” Yeah, but it ain’t the heat….” Fifteen minutes later we were fanning him and covering him with wet and cold towels after his eyes had rolled back in his head.

Several years ago I participated in the Morris Broadband Half Marathon on top of Caesar’s Head at DuPont State Forest or the “Half from Hell” as I like to refer to it. The race is up and down at an altitude I was not used to and to add to my discomfort, twenty degrees warmer than I had trained due to an early spring heat wave that included high humidity. At least the mosquitos and gnats had not come out yet. During the last mile, which was cruelly uphill to the finish, I gathered what little strength I had left to pass a young woman. As I neared her I realized she was in a conversation with herself and it wasn’t a nice conversation. She was using the words f@#$ and motherF@#$ in ways just not meant to go together. As I passed, I asked if she was okay. She responded with “I left f@#$ing Ohio two days ago to run in this Motherf@#$ing race. When I left, it was thirty-two F@#$king degrees. I drove a thousand f@#$ing miles to run in this f@#$ing s^&%.” “Well bless your heart.”

We both finished. I even finished second in my age group although there weren’t that many in my age group foolish enough to run it. An hour and a half later, on the winding road down to the flat lands, I passed out…while driving. Somehow I managed to get the jeep off of the road before doing so and could not figure out why Linda Gail was yelling at me to wake up. Now that was a weird dream that wasn’t. “Oh the ‘humidity’” I guess. I am home now and it has been an hour and half. I guess I am okay…for now, despite not having the energy to go to church. God forgive me for my language, for failing to go to church, for…every other sin I have committed.

A friend of mine in the know says it is better to run in the middle of the day when the temperatures are high but the humidity is low. Something about the heat index I guess. I might try it but do have a few questions for him. “How do you know if you are not a runner, and you are not.” and “When is the humidity ever low for the next three months?”

More humorous nonfiction by Don Miller is available at http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

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