Wake up this morning with every intention to run. Then I hear the patter of rain outside my bedroom window. I do not want to run in the rain.
Truth is, I do not like to run. I don’t hate it like I used to. But I am so not there. That runner’s high people talk about? I’m thinking the closest I’ve ever come is one time when I got distracted by the music on my iPod during a jog and ran into a parked car and went flying HIGH into the air, but miraculously landed on my feet and kept running.
Okay, so the story above is slightly skewed, but there was a time when my husband biked into a street barrier, flew off his bike, and landed on his feet and actually continued down the street running. I swear! True story. Ask his friends in Miami. He was the campus SuperHero…for like a day.
So anyway, this morning, I am thinking of all the reasons I cannot possibly run in the rain. What if I fall? What if some speeding car whizzes by my and bumps me off the road in a wake-making blur? What if my pinky toenails fall off?
External processer that I am, I begin to whimper to hubby: “I just don’t want to be cold. And wet. And miserable when I run. I’m not the biggest fan to begin with.”
He’s tying his dress shoes for work and looks up to ask the defining question of the morning: “You know that’s what separates the weak mudders from the Tough Mudders. Which one do you want to be?”
Not even six months ago Hubby completed his first Tough Mudder race and, brace yourself, but believe it or not, yours truly is now officially signed up for next June. June 1st exactly. I have less than eight full months to practice, prepare and push myself. Because when June 1st arrives, I am going for the gold. But I’ll settle for crossing the finish line…Alive.
So for the past month, I’ve been incorporating runs, three times a week, every other day, into my workout. If you know anything about the geography of Locust Valley, doing any kind of exercise around here is pretty much equivalent to Olympic training. The hills are everywhere. And you seriously cannot avoid a steep climb no matter which route you choose. Because each glorious down hill is shortly followed by a returning, death of me, up- hill.
After getting the kiddos on the bus, I looked at my day’s schedule ahead of me, pictured myself sitting behind my computer for hours on end and proceeded to lace up my sneakers. I needed this run to get through my day. Rain, rain go away, but even if you don’t, I am about to run.
I decide to make myself a playlist rather than listen to not-so-Genius mix that hubby’s iPod offers to make for me. I pick 21 songs that will accompany me on my quest, hit the shuffle button, tuck the iPod into a safe pocket to keep it dry, and pull my hood over my ears. Stepping out of my front door, I say goodbye to dry and hello to wet. Everything. My face feels it first. Then my hands. Eventually, my hair, my legs and even my arms are wet. But the sleeves on my Under Armor shirt hold up pretty well, and I feel warm the entire time. Besides my face, my hands, and my ears.
And, surprised to find out, I actually enjoy it. I am so aware of the rain, the puddles, and the trees that plop big raindrops on my head, I kind of forget how much I don’t like running. At some point, I’m sure I begin to sweat, but rain covers my face, so I don’t feel sweaty. The music is pumping in my ears and I am pacing away, one splish splash step after the other.
I decide at that moment that as long as my legs allow it, I will continue to be a runner. I love listening to my favorite songs. I cherish the me-time. And these precious minutes give me time to clear my head. Confess my weaknesses. Refresh my hope. And even imagine future stories and scenes that I hope to write down someday.
On my favorite uphill, [Kidding! I despise this part of the path!] on that long stretch by Bailey’s Arboretum on Bayeville road, I actually run today. Usually, I make like the Bionic Woman and move my arms in slow motion so it looks like I’m running, but in actuality, I am moving in ultra slow motion but really walking up the steepest part of that hill. Today, my legs are lifting off the ground instead of my sneakers dragging and I feel strong. Or at least stronger, than days past.
That’s when I see it. A waterfall! There, right along the side of the road, is a perfectly gushing trail of water rushing down the hill, over cracks in the road, around small pine needle piles, and past my tickled spirit. I love the fact that in the middle of a rainy day, I find a treasure. A rainy waterfall!
But that’s not all I see. When I finally reach the top of the street and turn right down Ryefield at the corner near my daughters’ school, the street looks like an ocean, with waves of water rippling across in spaced out, zig-zaggity lines mesmerize me. I am all smiles as I finish up my last half mile of my three-mile route.
Oh, and I never fall. The entire time, I don’t even trip! Yeah to the yeah!
Nothing like a morning run in the fall. Nothing like raindrops on my eyelids in October. Nothing like finding a waterfall when I wasn’t even looking!
**So tell me, running? Love? Hate? Ever ran a marathon? Is there something you do now that you once disliked doing?