06 July 2012


"I asked one of the tribal elders when I was born, and he said, 'in the summertime.'" --Crocodile Dundee

And this is what it feels like: as though winter, or any whiff of a cool breeze, is little more than a memory or a wish. And still, I'm sure Australians would laugh at me for complaining about the heat. It's only 90 degrees at night, after all.

I'm sitting on my little green couch, sipping a cold Budweiser from a case that was meant for Sarah's birthday picnic this coming Saturday. I don't usually drink Budweiser, but when I do, it's because I'm too lazy to walk down to the liquor store and buy real beer. I'm on my fourth, for the record, and Ken Burns' "America" plays on TV while I type.

The heat plus the run of forest fires in Colorado has made running a bigger challenge than it usually is. With all the smoke from the burning, the news media is warning people that the air quality is abismal, stopping just short of telling us all to stop breathing. Yesterday, the 4th, the air was so bad we lost sight of the mountains. I had friends tell me it was like being back in Los Angeles. Still, I grab my water bottle, and drive into the hills to find a trail that isn't on fire.

Running, by nature, is a solitary sport. Even when out with a group, a runner soon retreats into his or her thoughts. That, or we slip in the ear buds and start trotting away to whatever Lady Gaga mix we've prepared for the morning. Yet every once-in-awhile, I'll get a text or an email, or some note of encouragement that makes me feel like I'm running not alone, but with all my friends and family.

For example, John (little bro) recently sent me a running-related present. It was so unexpected that I let it sit on my lounge table for three days before learning who it was from. Every day, I looked down at the deodorant-shaped object with trepidation. Was it one of those promotions from a website I signed up with? Was it something I ordered when I was drunk? Was it poison? (this last question I took seriously). But not until I found John on Facebook chat one morning did I find out the truth.

"Did you get the running lube I sent you?" He asked.

Of course I did. Thanks, little brother.

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