I took part in the local Peachtree Road Race 10K race yesterday. That's a bit misleading, because just by saying that I kind of imply I ran it (which would be wholly out of character). I walked it, though still managed to lose half my body weight to sweat (gained back in the following hours through a steady diet of beer and buffalo wings).
It was a pretty interesting experience -- in retrospect I want to say fun, though when I finally finished up that wasn't the first word that came to mind. This is a goddamn hot city, and very humid. Not news, I know, but it's instructive to occasionally get a reminder of just how hot and humid. Over the years I've met people who claim to find humidity invigorating, and all I can say to them is that they are sick, sick people. I'd be less bothered to find out they were into necrophilia. There's nothing good about humidity and it should be avoided at all costs.
Still, I'm glad I did it. My entire body still aches, nearly 36 hours later, but I've had a bit of a euphoric high ever since then -- everything (chicken wings! grocery stores! stop signs!) makes me really happy. I've always heard this stuff about endorphins, but this may be the first time I've experienced it.
It was also kinda cool to stroll down Peachtree Road. It's one of Atlanta's signature roads and its name gets referenced by anyone who's ever been here, but I rarely spend any time on it (its main drag is in Buckhead, a neighborhood I avoid like they hand out free cancer there). There were some cool things -- St. Philip's Cathedral, for one, was spraying out "holy water," according to a sign, which is either really funny or really freaky. Still not sure which. I was in the slow group so most of the free food was gone before I went by, alas. (though that just left more room for wings later.) There were also moments of sheer cruelty -- a local musician covering U2 at us, some guy yelling "you're halfway there!" after we crossed the two-thirds mark, and people drinking beer and watching from their balconies. Drinking beer! When I couldn't have any!
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Doing the race this year, even at a slow pace, had a bit of unfortunate importance for me. I've debated whether to write about this on the blog, but it's gonna affect everything in my life for a while, so it's a bit unavoidable.
I found out about a month ago that I'm probably going to have heart surgery. I started having chest pains during stressful periods of work earlier this year, and after being referred to a cardiologist I found out that my self-diagnosis (i.e. "it's all in my head") wasn't correct -- it's believed at this point that my heart is slowly enlarging, so they want to operate on the faulty valve before it gets life-threatening.
The good news is that it's at this point a fairly common and routine procedure, and several friends have either told me of people they know who went through it and are a-ok, and one friend revealed that she'd had it herself, and is just fine. That's all made me feel a lot better. On the other hand, y'know, heart surgery. Sheesh. Not something that was on my 2008 to-do list.
Funny thing is that even before knowing about this I'd made some effort to become a healthier person: eating better, exercising more, drinking less (the latter has had the unfortunate side-effect of making this blog less interesting, I fear). And this is how my body pays me back. The last time I made a concerted effort to be healthier was in 2005 -- that culminated in me developing pneumonia, being bedridden for more than a week, and losing 30 pounds. The message is clear: healthy living = weakness. I'm taking up cocaine.