By Megan Cox
As we get ready to celebrate the birth of our nation, memories of the holiday come flooding back to me. I remember watching fireworks as a small child at our home on the hill in Los Angeles, with my sister, my brother, and I snuggled between our parents on the bench swing.
I recall eating ice cream and Ruffles potato chips next to the pool and shooting off Roman candles when we moved to Atlanta. I also remember sitting on the lawn at the United States Air Force Academy and smiling down at my engagement ring, waiting for my Air Force cadet to join me. These are fond, fond recollections.
Then there’s the not-so-fond memory, which unfortunately involves a very ill-timed training run for my first half-marathon in 2007.
It was a dreadfully hot and humid day in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland. My husband had to work on the Fourth of July, a travesty for him as it’s his favorite holiday (my favorite is Christmas Eve—shopping, egg nog, and candlelight services! What’s not to love?) So, after an early private barbecue, as in, just him and me and some tasty grilled chicken, he headed off to the office, and I headed to the park.
I was in good shape for my first half-marathon. It was only July, and I was already up to running nine miles pretty comfortably. The race wasn’t until October, and at this point, I was hoping to increase my speed a great deal in the next four months.
My favorite place to train, even to this day, is Centennial Park in Columbia Maryland. The 2.4 mile track around a gorgeous lake is stunning, challenging, and invigorating. Usually. But not on the Fourth of July in 2007, and especially not around two o’clock that afternoon. I may not be good at math, but I know that ninety-nine degree weather, super-high humidity, a hot afternoon sun, and a belly full of delicious barbecue chicken adds up to a rather terrible—maybe even dangerous—running condition.
I’m certain that only my high water consumption and typically low blood pressure kept me from keeling over that day. It was not one of my brightest ideas (and certainly not one of my quicker runs). I’m happy to report that I’ve become much more intelligent since then, probably because I can’t afford to pass out when my little kiddos are depending on me. It’s amazing how parenthood can force some common sense on an individual!
So, as we celebrate the holiday that brings us pool parties, parades, and hundred-dollar fireworks, I want you to remember that we live in a pretty awesome country that a lot of brave people made possible for us. And I also want you to remember during this hot summer season that running is a great sport—just be smart about doing it!
This is a guest post by Megan Cox, an Oklahoma City-based novelist, writer and contributing blogger for HalfMarathons.Net. Learn more about Megan at her website.