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Run 33: Holy Humid, Alabama!

May 8, 2012

Miles: barely 2.5

Other Runners: If we’re counting dachshunds, yes. 5.

I drove to Alabama yesterday for research. I didn’t have half of the romantic experience I expected in Nashville (just a lot of traffic and heat), nor did I see any horses in Kentucky, which felt like a mean joke.

However: In a sufficiently serendipitous moment, I passed the exit for Elizabethtown just when my playlist switched to Patty Griffin and a brilliant flush of red poppies appeared along the highway. (Anyone who appreciates the film for its scenery and soundtrack will understand, even if everything else about it is insipid). I also saw a massive fiberglass dinosaur, lots of old barns, lots of new trucks, and deep red dirt under a long, stormy sky.

The folks I’m staying with live on 70 acres off of an exceptionally narrow “two-lane” (read: not safe for running) road, and I promised them that I’d stay on the driveway this morning for my run. It’s a long-ish driveway, a quarter of a mile, and that first quarter was delicious. A field of ready-to-be-cut hay stood to my left; beyond it were cows and one old horse and a slow caramel-colored creek. To my right were heavy old trees and tall grass and the loud hum of whirring bugs. My body moved, happy, swimming through so many sweet smells and peaceful sounds.

And then it felt like I was really swimming because, no surprise here, Alabama is humid.

Imagine you’re really, really hot. Then put on a clingy cotton t-shirt (mine had Bucky Badger on it; yours doesn’t have to) and shorts that are normally nice and baggy but in Alabama stick to the backs of your legs. Then wrap yourself in the biggest snuggie you own, and strap down pillows around your body. Then put on a ski mask off-kilter so that it covers up your mouth and makes your eyelashes weirdly dewy. Frizz up your hair, just for effect. Voila! That, my friends, is what it feels like to run up and down a stupid quarter-mile driveway at 11 am on a Monday.

Stay tuned.

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