I actually don’t call what I do jogging. Jogging sounds too jouncy for me; I strive for a smooth pace. But I wanted to sound Christmasy, and you know how I love alliteration.
Be that as it may, I am at my parents’ house in Rome, NY, having arrived last night. I have not had a chance to run since Sunday, due to Christmas preparations and my usual not having my act together, so I was determined to get out there today.
It was supposed to be warmer, so I only packed shorts and short-sleeved t-shirts. I confess to some trepidation about running prior to sunrise. After all, doesn’t it get colder in the night? No matter, I told myself. Just run faster. As it turned out, the weather was nice and warm. It had stopped raining. I could dodge the puddles. Most of them, anyways. Off I went.
My plan was to stick to sidewalks and not cross too many busy streets, although there was not much traffic to worry about. I admired Christmas lights on houses and wished I had found time to run earlier in the week. My legs didn’t feel bad, but I think they would have felt better without three days off between runs. No matter, I told myself (you may have noticed that I often say that to myself), I was running now. I could run tomorrow, this would be fine.
It felt like spring, although some houses made it look like Christmas. I flashed on Basic Training, which I went through in March 1997. Running on wet roads in the dark in early spring. However, there was no drill sergeant hollering at me, and the rest of my day promises to be distinctly more pleasant than the army. Also, I am much better at running than I was then. Or do I flatter myself? Once again, no matter. I was surprised to feel humidity. Of course there’s nothing wrong with working up a good sweat, I told myself. Keep running.
My longest run recently was 40 minutes. I decided not to go for that long of a run today, because I did not want to feel too tired later in the day. I have a lot of Christmas celebrating to do. Still, I did not want to do too short a run because of all the calories I would consume later. I compromised on 33 minutes.
Toward the end of my run, I saw a man leaning on a fence in front of a house.
“Good morning,” I said. “Merry Christmas!”
“And the same to you,” he returned.
I saw that he had a white beard. Could I have encountered Santa Claus?