The rain beating down on the windshield, and the heated seat running at its highest setting made getting out of the car nearly impossible. It was 38 degrees outside, according to my car’s dashboard. I parked outside of my building, ended my call to my sister, gathered my things and went outside.
I had announced to her I was going to go for a run. She told me I was crazy.
With conditions at the Reservoir track still questionable (as far as I knew, although I would confirm my suspicions later on), I needed a new route. My improvised route from the Friday before would probably work. So, I strapped on my phone and shoes, and headed out.
Within a couple of minutes, I regretted not bringing gloves. The temperature didn’t account for windchill, and my fingers were starting to feel the brunt of the cold. I hoped for the best as I plunged my hands into my pockets and continued running. It was no more than five minutes later that I missed the level course of the track, too, as I dragged myself up the hills that make up Commonwealth Avenue. The downhill slopes were pleasant, the uphills were a bit of a drag. Although I was glad I had put this part of the run at the beginning, when I had more energy.
Then, I hit an intersection, and became someone I kind of hated: the run-on-the-spot pedestrian. I understand it, and I definitely don’t want to just stop running because traffic is in the way, but there was always something I found kind of annoying about it–at least when I was walking. People who run on the spot while waiting for a pedestrian light always seemed impatient. Of course, as I stood there and waited for a couple of minutes for road to clear up, I got it: We kind of are. Running in place is boring, it’s unproductive in a metaphorical sense, and it makes time drag on. What was, in reality, no more than 90 seconds, felt like 9 minutes.
Approaching the graveyard I passed the other night, I saw a massive puddle of rain. I could just about foresee myself getting soaked as a passing car hit the puddle at speed, with no regard for my presence. At least on the first pass, I could see a car and take evasive action, if needed. On the way back, I would be largely blind to the approach of the tsunami. I was preparing the appropriate combination of obscenities and gestures for the way back.
Which, of course, I didn’t need. Peering over my shoulder as I ran past the long pool of standing water–at least 10 yards long, if I had to guess, and perhaps three inches deep–there were no cars. Timing was my ally, and I was passing it for the 30-second break between lights. To be fair, cars I had seen on my approach up were also slowing up as they neared it, and taking care not to aquaplane.
I passed the Reservoir track again, catching sight of a sloppy, damp, and icy surface. Would I never go back? Was I now a road runner? Probably not. Once the weather improved, I could foresee myself heading back there and reveling in its smoothness.
But, I would likely head out from my apartment at a run. I had been a little afraid to try running on the sidewalk in the past. While running at the track, I had several instances where I could feel my right leg starting to struggle with the hard-packed ground. Several times, I sought soft grass for respite. There would be no rest on the sidewalk, I told myself.
Yet, here I was, as I neared my closest T stop, closing in on 3 miles on pavement. I hadn’t needed the soft earth–although I could feel a tiny cramp starting to form in my right calf.
As the Zombies, Run mission ended on a cliffhanger, and the two DJs from its “Radio Mode” traded barbs and survival stories, I allowed myself to stop running. On more than a few occasions, after a few beers, I had run this area–figuring the warmth from exertion would make up for forgetting my gloves or scarf. It’s different after a few miles, instead of a few beers.
I ran, at my fastest available speed (i.e., not very quickly) for the last block as I turned onto my street. Thinking about some of my late-night, booze-fueled jogs triggered something in me. It hit me, the reason I run: Because, I like beer.
- Unsure-Footed Runner (unsurerunner.wordpress.com)