In the glare of the streetlight, I could see the rain pouring down in small-beaded, thin sheets. I stood on the porch for just a few seconds as I tried to reconcile the information both my skin and my phone were telling me. It was 51 degrees outside.
I attempted to hold the door from slamming shut, and possibly disturbing my sleeping neighbors and roommate. Despite being worlds warmer than Monday, I knew the run would not be the same lovely weather I had had up until now. Over the thunk of my radiator, I did briefly hear a plaintive call about warmth and lonely sheets from my bed.
November in New England brings out a degree of hypocrisy in some of us locals: On the one hand, when the snow starts falling, grizzled veterans of blizzards past make an anthem of the Twain joke, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait five minutes;” on the other, as soon as non-natives leave the room, we whinge to our neighbors of our shock that the temperature is falling–as it does every year.
Shoes snug against my feet, and a light rain jacket slipped on mostly to shield my phone from the rising damp, I set out. Pause beneath my awning for a moment’s indecision about parking upon my return, then start walking toward Chestnut Hill Reservoir. The walk is wet, puddles and pours deposit a small pool around my toes through the light mesh front of my shoe–usually a blessing, when I start to heat up.
I scan the horizon of the track, It is shortly before 7 a.m., and from the street level below, it appears that I have the place to myself. I appear to be the only idiot out in this weather at this hour. As I stretch, I begin to wonder if there’s something other people know about days like today, and whether it’s a lesson I am about to learn with difficulty.
As I near the halfway mark, my shirt is soaked through the front, where it is open. I have no idea whether it is sweat or rain. Drips collect on my glasses, and I am nearly blind at times while I scour the track’s surface for some softer ground. My right foot is aching with each step, and each of the softer grassy strips I rely on for relief is slightly buried beneath some standing water. As are large portions of the track.
I negotiate my right arm out of my jacket after reversing direction at the halfway mark. I have either sweated it to the point of stickiness, or the rain has soaked through a jacket I picked for its supposed waterproofing. I can’t tell, as it is cold and wet either way. I bunch it up, leaving it on my left arm to again, try and protect the phone in its TuneBelt–the coat eventually slips, and I hope the arm band is sufficient to keep water out of my second brain.
A half-hour of solid running. I nearly give up a couple of times, my clothes sodden and the wind buffeting me from all directions along the course. I push through, smile at a passing runner in the other direction, and decide–at False Corner Cove–that I can make it. I won’t let that cove trick me this time, and I will make it back to the starting line.
My right leg–ever the troublemaker–begins to ache more. I feel my pace is trailing down from a jog to a limp.
“Malfunction imminent,” I say, because sometimes I think of myself as a robot. “Come on. Just have to squeeze another half-mile or so out of this jalopy. Then we can go home. We can make it.”
I try to pick myself back up to a lope.
Eventually, a half-dozen or so yards from the point I started, the phone tells me I am done. I have lost about .03 miles from my run Monday, which I am happy to blame on the weather. A moment of reflection hits me, as I realize how far I have come in 11 weeks (nine, plus the two I repeated because I wasn’t satisfied with my performance): I went from knowing nothing about running, to being a little disappointed I have lost time over a previous run. I have gone from being winded after 30 or so seconds at an elevated pace, to putting 2.5 miles over 30 minutes behind me and breaking more than a little sweat.
Tired, wet, but victorious, I crest the wave that is C25k’s final week. I am nearly done.
I can’t help myself but hope Friday is warm and clear…
Shin Status: Clear Malfunction with Turkey Input
Shirt of the Day: Portal 2’s Space Core floating past a NASA insignia look-alike that reads ‘SPACE,’ black, soaking windbreaker.
(Fun fact, I have heard that NASA refers to their circular logo internally as “The Meatball.”)