Hello and happy September! To say that I’m excited about the first month of fall would be a sad understatement. I am beyond excited—I’m THRILLED! August is such a hard month in Texas. It’s long and hot, and everyone is grumpy because we’ve been trying to cope with the summertime inferno for three months. (Seriously. Summer starts in April or May around these parts.) September is a welcome change for us because it’s both the end of awful August and the beginning of autumn—my favorite season of all. This month, I’m also taking my first vacation in eight months. I head north to Michigan in two weeks, so there will be a cool respite from Texas and my worklife very soon.
I had a wonderful bike ride to work this morning. Even though it’s only September 1st, it felt cooler outside, especially along the shady parts of my route. I felt happy to be on the bike, happy to have experiments on the docket this morning, just flat-out HAPPY about my life. Then I got to work and I was getting ready to leave the restroom after mopping myself off post-ride when a woman said to me, “Um, I just wanted you to know, your bottom has a big wet spot on it.”
“Yeah, I know. I rode my bike here,” I replied. “It’s sweat,” And thanks for checking out my ass!
Then I felt mildly annoyed. Why did she feel compelled to say that to me? Did she really think I didn’t know about my sweaty clothing? Or did she really think I’d had, um, an accident? I wonder how this reflects the local cultural expectation about appearances. Would this sort of thing happen in Austin, which has a huge and famous cycling culture? And did she not feel the least bit shy about commenting on my rear end?!
I refuse to stay off my bike in the summer just because there will be some sweating involved. And I refuse to tiptoe around a local culture that doesn’t embrace exercise as enthusiastically as I have. I think it’s important for me to look professional at work, because that’s what I am: a professional. But summertime Texas demands certain concessions, so sometimes I look like a sweaty, exercising professional. And I’m proud of it.
Speaking of sweat, today is the first of the month, so it’s time for our first installment of Speed Demons! We’ve got a few speedy runners out there who deserve some applause for their hard work in August. In no particular order, we have…
* Raquelita, who ran a super-speedy timed mile and clocked in at 8:11. Very nice, R!
* JD, a Michigan friend of mine who is training for the Detroit Half-Marathon. He recently finished a 5.22-mile training run at a zippy 10:11/mile pace. That’s awesome, JD! You are going to rock your half.
* Me. Of course I have to mention my own speedwork! My best speedwork last month was on the treadmill, where I did most of my August running (see first paragraph re:heat in Texas). I’ve been doing 8:30 miles, just to keep myself challenged on the treadmill, and this work-out was my best one.
Did you have any good speed work-outs last month? Tell me about them in the comments! And happy training to you, dear reader.