Wow, how disappointed am I? Two days ago, good run, easy run. Figured to get in 6.7 miles this morning, but between one thing and another (today is a big day for non-running reasons), I didn't get out of the house 'til after the rainstorm, about 10:30. And it had become quite warm and muggy. That might have been OK if my legs had held out, but calf pains were back and I just couldn't seem to loosen up today. I cut the run short and just did 3.4. Hopefully, I'll get out a lot earlier for tomorrow's long run.
Also, I really could have approached today's run more intelligently. I have been distracted and my hydration has been terrible, my intake of vitamins and electrolytes equally bad. A big indication that I didn't have nearly enough salt in me for this run is that though I was perspiring freely, I didn't end up with the dusting of salt all over my body that I'm used to. The water running out of my hair during my shower didn't taste like salt, and it should have.
It may be related, but I have an interesting childhood phenomenon revisiting me. All over my legs (south of the underwear line), I developed these little tiny blisters - I mean VERY tiny, like a tenth of a millimeter. They are clear and I can't get a photograph of them. They can easily be felt, they give my skin a weird texture akin perhaps to bad acne. These blisters don't seem to be under the skin, but on top. They are NOT water soluble (didn't disolve in the shower), but are easily removed by lightly scratching with fingernails. Scrape over a whole bunch and it becomes evident the blisters have small amounts of fluid inside. They don't hurt and never appear with the usual salt-encrustation phenomenon. My theory is that this is a sign of marked dehydration, salt depletion, or both. Somehow, the sweat is too thick and the first few minutes of sweat create an impermeable film, instead of drying normally to leave slat crystals behind. Further sweat builds up behind the film to form these little blisters. I wish I knew what they really are.
Put some thought into that line in the Scout Oath about doing duty to God and Country. "God" of course has been one of the pivotal points of contention within Scouting for some years. Though I am Jewish-Agnostic, there was a time I would have simply called myself atheist. Even then, swearing an oath to do my duty to God didn't much bother me - if one lives by an honorable code, one isn't likely to offend God, whether or not God exists. All that was required of the Scouts was attendance at Vespers now and then - and I mean fairly rarely. It was a fascinating peek into the lives of people who believe in this force, so I didn't mind going.
Logically, it would seem to be safer to believe in God. Pascal's Wager posits that "if you believe and God exists, you’ll go to heaven and avoid hell; if you believe and are wrong, you lose nothing. If you don’t believe in God and God does exist, you’ll lose heaven and go to hell; if you’re right, then you gain nothing." (About.com article) I long ago moved past this simplistic argument.
My own take on it - for the time being - is that it is absurd to believe God is some old white guy sitting on a golden throne in the clouds. If a god exists, we cannot know the nature of such a being; so I don't even try. I do believe, though, that god more likely exists in the human nature - specifically that part of human nature that under normal circumstances we don't believe even exists, but which will astound us every time. I'm talking about those times at the end of a long run when you have one more mile to go, but you know beyond a doubt your body has had it. You ask God for a little boost - and it comes! Was that god, or was that an expression of a reservoir of will that we cannot tap until it is our last resort?
As a Scout - and to this day - I am convinced that at least part of what society expresses as God is actually an acknowledgement of that reservoir of will and THAT is what I try to do justice to during a road race. I am part of the human race and if I let myself down, I've let down my race, too. If I can tap into that super-normal backup battery under extreme duress and get the job done, then I've completed my duty to "god". This all may sound very fucked up; but I don't care. It works for me.
As for doing my duty to Country, this one is a lot easier. Running keeps me healthy; healthy means less doctor visits; less visits means less burden on the healthcare economy; this means less burden on my countrymen. As far as running goes, that's it. Otherwise, running is really a pretty selfish activity, as it directly benefits noone but the runner.
Well, I gotta finish therapy and get on to my big stressful appointment. And here comes more rain. Bleh.