Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Watermelon Craving!

I know, I know – the title of this post is in contrast to the idea behind the last. One might even go so far as to proclaim that Thunder Thighs originate from cravings.

So true.

But no, this isn’t about ice cream, peanut butter cups, or peanut m&ms. Not that kind of craving, anyway.

Lately as I’ve been running and riding in the zillion degree heat with the bajillion degree humidity down along the Gulf Coast, I’ve noticed that I crave watermelon. Ice cold, crisp, sweet, juicy watermelon. Seedless or with seeds, it doesn’t matter. I’m well beyond the stage where I’m fearful of growing a watermelon in my abdomen by swallowing a seed or two.


My run today was no exception: it was a scortcher.

And it started around 7 pm. Nice.

Nathaniel and I drove out to UWF, to tackle the hills and rolling terrain. Upon arriving on campus, the billboard flashed “88 degrees”, which surprised us. It felt like 85. (That’s sarcasm, in case you were wondering).

After parking the car, hiding the key, and watching My Other Half stretch, the two of us set of.

“This is great!” Nathaniel exclaimed during the first: 35 of the run.

“Yeah, because we’re going downhill,” I commented dryly.

It was true: the first minute or two of the run was on the downhill part of the “rolling terrain” that was on my schedule. After a few minutes, it flattened out, and then we started climbing the back hills.

I could feel the sun beating down on the back of my neck, smell the bug spray that I liberally applied to Nate and myself (hey – I love animals, but am not a fan of “crunch” insects, and I especially hate deer flies. Yuck!), and feel the heat emulating off my body. I looked down and saw the slick sheen of perspiration on my arms, and I inwardly laughed when I glanced over at Nathaniel. He was drenched. And we were only 7 minutes in.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: Welcome to Florida in July!

Hey, but at least it wasn't thundering, right? So everything was a-okay.

Once we hit the top of the hill near the new Engineering building, I peeled off to the left and Nathaniel continued on his own. I saw him briefly around the 16 minute mark, as I circled behind campus and popped out at the Overlook. He was running towards me, a look of quiet intensity ensconced upon his face. The ipod he was using must have been blaring something motivational, as he was looking solid, in spite of the pain I knew he felt.

As a full time flight student, he doesn't have the opportunity to workout as much as he used to. Bonus, it was a million degrees with lots of saturating humidity.

Did I already mention that? Oops - sorry!

And if it was possible, and I’m not exactly sure how, his shirt was even more drenched. It looked as though he had just jumped into the lake - fully clothed. At least he was wearing deodorant, as I didn’t get a whiff of anything gross as I passed by him going the other way.

As I continued on, I focused on my form, keeping my cadence light and quick. The sweat was dripping off my body, droplets getting flung forward off the tips of my fingers. As I wasn’t wearing a heart rate monitor, I had no idea of my zones or how my body was responding to the heat. I just kept going, foot strike after foot strike, minute after minute, clocking off miles as I kept going.

I soon found my rhythm and enjoyed the stillness of the early Florida evening. My breathing was steady, and there were points along the course where I forgot about my back, failed to remember my lack of running speed or lack of time spent running.

I was simply a girl out for a run, oblivious to pace or heart rate. Just 45 minutes, steady with a focus on cadence and form.

After 35 minutes or so, good feelings were (mostly) gone, and the heat really started getting to me. I faced a new hell as I passed the car – filled with its air conditioned sanctity, towels and ice water. For good measure, I glared at it, as though that really made a difference. Undoubtedly it didn’t, but I felt better after doing so.

Five minutes out and five minutes back. That’s all I had left.

I saw Nathaniel running on the other side of the street: his shirt couldn’t be any more wet, but he still looked solid, but took a right down University before I could yell for help. And thus I pressed on.

Which is exactly when the bargaining started.

If I finish this run, I can eat anything I want.

That’s a loaded weapon, all things considered.

But I wracked my brain, trying to figure out what exactly it was that I wanted. Anything heavy, hot, syrupy, dry, steaming, dense – was all out. Even ice cream sounded bad. No smoothies for me at this point.

I looked at my watch – 38 minutes. How could only 3 minutes have passed? I crested the next hill and started my descent towards the stoplight at the bottom. And then it hit me: Watermelon.

Ice cold, crisp, cool, sweet, juicy, and thankfully not heavy, watermealon.

And we had one, ready and waiting in the fridge.

All I had to do was get through the remaining 7 minutes, drive home and I could indulge all I wanted. Oh yeah: and wait for Nathaniel in the process.

Final 3 minutes were thankfully uneventful. My body had accepted its fate, and it never ceases to amaze me how powerful the mind can be. Stopping or quitting really wasn’t an option, unless the back was hurting or something felt wrong.

But for fatigue or heat? And with only a few minutes left. Nah – not worth it.

In the last :30 or so, I saw Nathaniel sprinting up the parking lot past the UWF water tower. I cheerfully greeted him and fell into stride next to him. Which only lasted about :10. The boy was intent of sprinting it in, so I let him go. And besides, I got a great view of his backside in the process.

Call me a sucker, I know. But we hardly ever run together – something about egos getting in the way. Seriously – he says that I’m too fast for him, and I don’t like the bodily noises that he makes. They are loud and violent-sounding. And unexpected. But we rarely run together, as our runs usually turn into a competition.

I guess that I’m still a bit sore from the 3 games of pool that he beat me at on our first date nearly 8 years ago. Yes, Greg – I do remember.

After grabbing our ice water, walking a lap around the parking lot, we piled in the car and drove home, chatting about the run and the heat. Yes Sherlock, it was hot!

And then: the watermelon. Success!

For tomorrow, I’ve got a long ride on tap. Looking forward to it, for sure. And even better? The other half of the watermelon sits ready and waiting in the fridge. Sweet!


Train-This said...

Sweet for sure sister! I wish I was there eating it with you!!!!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE watermelon! We have been eating it here everyday. We only get GOOD watermelon a few months a year and it is always the best around the 4th of the July!! :) Sounds like fun, Marit!
Jen H.

Ryan said...

There is nothing better than ice cold watermelon, but i need to limit my intake because it causes loud violent explosions ;)

I'm glad to hear Nate out sweating. Please tell me that he was wearing a technical fabric versus the green marine issue stuff.

Zoot I assume.

I doubt Lovato will remember that I almost spewed into his bag of chips at mile 5 of IM. The last time he saw me I probably looked the same color as an Ompah Loompah! Only a wee bit bigger.

Ashley said...

Hola... have you heard the latest findings on watermelon?! Scientist claim that it may be a natural Viagra. So, get Nathaneal eating it too ;) see:

GoBigGreen said...

frozen watermelon is almost better...yummy...try it!

Wes said...

Wow! Only 88 degrees? They must be experiencing a cold snap there along the Gulf Coast.

Cy said...

Watermelon is full of electrolytes making it a perfect post training fuel. As if you needed more reason to endulge :-)

Have fun in the heat-I expect a scorcher here tomorrow as well.

Trigirlpink said...

ummmmmmmm. Watermelon. Good to eat.
Good for rack marking. :-)

Kitty update?????

Anonymous said...

this post reminded me of all those long runs in the PA Summer heat and humidity. Our worst day was probably around your average day, but still, I remember sometimes running with a soaked-from-sweat shirt. Usually though I would take it off early on in the run before it got to that point.

Court and I are both very competitive but we usually enjoy running together. I also like running slightly behind her for the view ;-)

board games and scrabble can sometimes be another story...

jkrunning said...

Frozen, I'm going to have to try that. Maybe with some tequila & sweet & sour too...hmmmm sounds good.

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