Lemon Grove is waving. Heat waving, that is. No real waves from passersby yet, but a number of head nods on this run.
Thankfully, the temperature did not stay over 100 for very long. Now we are back into our regular hot September days. Despite the weather, I did run in Lemon Grove on Saturday with its high heat index—about 104 at the time of the run.
Crazy you say? Maybe.
Before I proceed, I need to put in a disclaimer. I do not recommend people strenuously exercising in such high temperatures. I personally enjoy running in the heat even though I know I cannot exercise as long or as hard in extreme heat, and my performance definitely suffers.
But for some reason I like experiencing the extreme nature of the endeavor. I have run in Palm Springs and El Centro when the temperature was well into triple digits. Yes, on purpose.
On the other end of the thermometer, I don’t necessarily like running when it is cold. However, when I do get a chance to run in the extreme cold, I go for it. I remember trips to Denver, CO, and Grand Rapids, MI, during the bitter embrace of winter and running when it was well below freezing. Yes, on purpose.
On another occasion, I was traveling through Rocky Mountain National Park with my family and we stopped at the Alpine Visitor Center on Trail Ridge Road. This location is over 12,000 feet above sea level. I didn’t think I would ever be
at this high an altitude again with a chance to run, so I put on my running shoes and experienced the extreme, thin air. I only made it one oxygen-deprived mile. But it was a glorious mile.
Perhaps most of us think that extreme experiences are only for the young, crazy and careless adrenaline junkies. Yet there is a great sense of accomplishment for
all of us when we achieve a goal. And it doesn’t have to be recklessly extreme for there to be fulfilling satisfaction and accomplishment.
Nor does it have to involve physical activity—though I do advocate for exercise and active living. Nor does it have to be extreme compared to others. This is a challenge for yourself from within yourself, not a competition against the record books or the professional athletes or brainiacs of the world.
What is an extreme challenge for you? Completing a New York Times crossword puzzle? Finishing a trilogy or series of books? (Ever read all three of J.R.R. Tolkien books plus the Hobbit?) What about War & Peace? I hear that is a pretty long book (More than 1,400 pages—pretty extreme.)
Maybe jet-skiing in Mission Bay would be an extreme challenge. Rock climbing? Abstaining for a prolonged period of time from your favorite sweet or high-calorie beverage? Getting up an hour earlier every day to meditate, exercise or pray before going to work? Or perhaps getting up ahead of your normal alarm clock detonation so you can be at work 15-30 minutes early?
What would it be for you?
Other than the heat, there was another challenge about my run. A coyote. I was running on Loma Drive (between Alton and Mt. Vernon) heading to Circle Drive in the late afternoon when I saw him. He was just trotting down the road. He seemed intimidated and skittish. So I kept running my route in his direction with my eyes glued to his movements.
Over the next few moments as the road curved and dead-ended, we crossed paths a few more times. A beautiful creature, whose hunger perhaps drove him to run the streets of Lemon Grove to look for food.
I am running the streets of Lemon Grove, too. Not to look for food to eat but to get sustenance for my soul, exercise for my body and challenges to my mind and its capacity to overcome. So take on a challenge, and make it at least a little bit extreme.
I’ll see you on the streets ... and don’t forget to wave!