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Patriotic Run

In honor of Independence Day, I wore my ARMY t-shirt to go for this morning’s run.

I had originally thought I would be running every day this week, but with the flood… not so much. Monday and Wednesday I had to conserve my physical resources for hauling ruined junk out of the basement. Tuesday I had thought to do the same, but the basement had filled with water again. By the time I realized my little sump pump was not going to empty it in a timely fashion, it was too hot to run. I went to Curves instead, arguably a more strenuous workout.

Thursday (today), my husband is working from eight to 4:30, then from five to ten (five to ten sounds like a prison sentence, which is analogous to many jobs). I thought for what I planned on doing in his absence, I could be a little tired.

It was already warm when I started out, over 70 degrees with humidity. Yet I felt sure I could rock it. Then again, there was nothing wrong with taking a shorter run than planned, especially as the week was not turning into the work-out paradise I had envisioned.

I turned left from North Bellinger onto German Street, going toward where some of the flood damage was pretty bad. That section of German had been closed off all week, so I knew I might have to make a turn before too long.

Oh, it did look bad. A lovely stone fence in front of a beautiful historic-looking brick house is no more. The sidewalk got a little dicey at that point, but I was left side facing traffic as I went out into the road.

Then I saw that I could not loop around German onto Church Street as I had planned, because the bridge was closed. I was about to say I never heard about the bridge being closed, but I bet it did and I just don’t know what that bridge is called. It isn’t a very big bridge. Other than turn around the only thing I could do was go through the high school parking lot and see if their little foot bridge was still in use. It didn’t seem likely. I turned around.

I ran past all the side streets till I was beyond the flood zone. I ran down residential streets, enjoying flower beds that were not a muddy mess and curb sides not covered with people’s ruined stuff. I thought of pictures of New Orleans after Katrina and New Jersey after Sandy, and I felt fortunate.

But running was not getting any easier, because it was damn humid. I was not going to run as far as I had run on Sunday, 34 minutes, in case you wanted to know. I got back on my own street. How long would I run? Well, I would go a little way past the house, just to make it a full number. It seems a little silly to say I ran for 28 minutes 44 seconds.

Then I saw some neighbors talking on a porch, right about the time I wanted to be turning around. We exchanged good mornings and I kept running. I couldn’t very well run up to them, say good morning and run back home. Now that I’m writing this, I can’t quite explain my reluctance, but there it was. I ran around the block.

As I ran I reflected on the number of things people do just to keep from looking foolish. Like when I recently raised almost $600 for St. Baldrick’s Day, so I wouldn’t look silly in front of the other bald people (I don’t think any of them were concerned, but still). Then I thought, whatever makes you do the right thing.

So I made my 34 minutes, and my cold shower felt pretty refreshing (it will be a long while before my hot water heater is replaced and we get the gas turned back on). And I deem it patriotic enough on Independence Day to write about something I learned to love in the army.

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