Sweats on. Thermal running shirts nabbed for a low-low price at T.J. Maxx, on. Shoes with a worn spot along the inner foot, on. Out the door. I cross myself as the cold air greets me trotting down the steps.
I began at what feels like a swift pace. It’s been three weeks since my last run, and this one will be short, being morning, being that I left my son with my husband, being that my husband needs to get ready for work. But running without managing the heavy weight of a jogging stroller pulling to the left (note: get that aligned) feels glorious.
“Thank you, Lord. I love you, Lord.”
Wind whips my exposed ankles. My running tights no longer fit – glory be – and someday I’ll buy new ones. Not now. My ankles will survive. My feet hit the sidewalk with a satisfying smack. Not hard enough to hurt. Rubber meeting frozen cement will smack.
I wish I wore my stocking hat.
“Lamplight and the early strands of dawn peeking from under a high cloud cover resound in major thirds and fifths off blades of grass glittering with the gifts of Jack Frost.” I roll these words about my head, my creativity growing with the warm flood of blood circulating in little-used muscles. My analogies are overwrought, perhaps, but I like them regardless.
The pedestrian signal ahead begins its countdown: 10, 9, 8… I lift my feet and find my speed.
Thoughts wander between praise of the Almighty and the various rabbit holes that burrow through the mind of a wife and mother. My knee grinds ever so slightly – Old Age lifting the veil covering my future years. She winks – the tease.
I turn the corner and begin pacing the one hill in town. I used to live at the top of a steep hill. This is nothing. I can do this. A car pulls out of the parking lot – it’s dark, she cannot see, this is a one-way street and she is not looking this way – I dart behind her before she hits the gas.
The halfway point. A bench. I stop, stretch my tight hamstrings. Perhaps only 10 minutes so far. This will be a short run. My breath is short and sharp and leaves clouds of vapor in the ice air.
I need to get back, the weight of the day easing itself onto my shoulders. I pick up the pace again and push my way down River Avenue. The stop lights slow my progress. My lack of breath slows my progress. Perhaps I need to run more often.
The sun begins its decent in the sky, its morning light peering around grey puffs. The frozen grass still gleams but not as brilliantly. I pick up my pace to finish the last few blocks.
I can cut across the neighbor’s driveway to reach our own, from the back. Our property; our driveway. I stop, walk, catch my breath, scrape my feet in the pine needles that need sweeping up.
The house is warm and I am greeted with love. Only 18 minutes. Pathetic to most, but full of vigor and joy to me.
Image Credit: MorgueFile