I sat in my warm, dry vehicle staring at a melting sheet of glass. Wind driven rain was oozing down, highlighted by the lights from the nearby State Farm athletic fields. The prospect of sitting there and listening to the remainder of the installment of “Stolen Prey” on satellite book radio was tempting… and so was just driving home.
I had already taken a zero on Sunday, on the beautiful Sunday, the perfect to run forever Sunday… and so this was my penance… the story of a procrastinating runner… sentenced to run through a cold November rain.
Checking my pocket once more for my key, I locked the door and with a muffled thud I began splishing my way through the deluged gravel lot toward the Greenway, away from the dry and warm interior. The sun had travelled away before I even left the office tonight and the illusion of fading daylight was just a delusion created by those same lights on the athletic fields. Making my way through the pines near the marsh… just minutes into my run I came upon another
moron runner who was either a fellow procrastinator or masochist or both. We gave a silhouetted grunt; equal parts comic and proud. No soccer moms out here today… just idiots.
Now out in the open, the lighting showed large sheets of driving rain which were finding their way down, into and through my chest… it was cold and getting colder… seemed a wardrobe adjustment was in order.
I looped back over the covered bridge into the outskirts of light from what I saw now was a flag football game and ran back to my vehicle. I took on the in-your-face blasting onslaught of November rain pulverizing the threads of my long sleeve and thought of how crazy it was to be returning to my car after just 5 minutes of this… not to go home to a warm family but to change my shirt.
I found a thicker fleece zip-up and made my way back out onto the Greenway. Seemed even darker this time out but now more still… the rain just a drizzle… the wind blown off elsewhere. Was it the clothing? Was the weather cooperating with me? Was this “gentler” weather some sort of reward? What a warped sense of reality we runners have… to believe persistence can affect the weather and that 50, drizzle and soaked to the core is a relatively good way to start a run.
To the end of the Greenway, around the high school, to 421 & looping back to the Greenway… Then up into the darkness of the Kennedy Trails I moved… the gravel well packed, solid. The two worn tracks of travel were alternating their draining water levels and occasionally I would have to hop to the alternate track when I found a foot fall full from rain run off.
The sky had fully relented and now, in the woods, I found still, dry air. The November trees were bare allowing a flood of light into the forest above the athletic fields. Nearby, I could hear invisible birds calling to one another. A silhouette over head showed a lone goose gliding, searching… a distant ‘honk’ brought an immediate right hand turn toward its the flock. ‘Good, she found her home.’
I reached top of the hill and began the shadowed descent into the darkest pocket of the trails where the lights could not penetrate. The vines were wearing all black, back lit. The old oak trees gently creaked and dripped. The idle skeletons of the summer just beginning to rest now as I made my way back to the car.
I came back to the river’s edge, into the field and it’s light. One loop around, splishing and sploshing in the collected puddles of the State Farm fields. The flag football game was in full fervor as this anonymous figure made his way off into the darkness completing another run and thinking… I’m glad I ran tonight.
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