Yesterday my work group volunteered at a soup kitchen in downtown Detroit. Ford allows us to spend 16 hours of company time per year on volunteer tasks. Joe, the white-haired Maltese man who runs the kitchen for St. Leo’s Catholic Church, joked that with 12 engineers on hand to make beef stew, that it was some costly beef stew being made that morning.
The work was light with so many hands, especially since a church group from Wisconsin was also there, spending the whole week volunteering. We chopped vegetables, sliced beef, opened cans of every imaginable vegetable and assembled it all, split in half, into two huge stock pots over the kitchen range. Joe is a personality to be remembered, constantly singing out “I need a man, I need a woman” and calling us all ‘you’ in place of attempting to learn names when no doubt he sees dozens of differing volunteers a week. Six days a week, he and a few older church-goers put together quite an outreach program in the basement of St. Leo’s church. They have clothes & personal article donations, a library, legal services, doctors, dentists and all of it centered around the soup kitchen.
It was only a days work, but it was better than other things I’ve volunteered to do. I am not professing any great merit or revelation, but it felt good to help Joe make that stew and feed the hundred or so people who came. Doing something good gave me a lot to think about.
After the kitchen closed, I was free to go home a bit early. I had missed my long run on Sunday because my Cedar Point adventure on Saturday had left my body tired and sore. I laced up, dressed up and set out the door with the camelbak and 3 Gus, knowing I could easily run 10 miles in 2 hours.
It didn’t turn out to be quite so easy, though. I kept an 11:30 pace, which is downright sluggish for me of late. The warmth of the day gave way to summer storm showers which left me drenched, and then again to sunshine. That combination of dousing and drying gave me a vicious challenge. As I approached about a mile from home the heat hit me with finality and I ended up in the attractive outfit of camelbak + shorts + garmin chest strap with my water- and sweat-soaked shirt clutched in my hand. The consequences of the dousing didn’t hit until I got home and sat down. While I was eagerly (Steph might say greedily…) drinking some recovery chocolate milk, I learned that I’d gotten my first case of awful chafing from the varying levels of wet. So for the remainder of the week ahead of my 10k on Saturday, I will be sitting sort of funny.
I had come to take for granted that I wasn’t too susceptible to chafing, but you’d better believe I will be more diligent now about the body glide. As for summer sun and exertion, I’ll just have to take my pace for what it is; the best I can do in the conditions.
I’m eager to run on Saturday, but I have to admit, I’m hoping for clouds!