I said yesterday I was going to do a hard run today, in honor of fallen soldiers for Memorial Day. When I got up it was pouring rain, and I was tired. I don’t usually run in the rain, and it was raining quite heavily. I really felt too sluggish to do anything. At last I bestirred myself and went upstairs to put on running clothes with the intention of running in place on the mini-tramp.
As I sought out proper attire, I felt I must run outside in the rain. Was this a tribute to fallen soldiers or was it not? How could I justify making things more comfortable for myself? Maybe I wouldn’t make it for an hour and a minute (the length of my last longest run), but dammit, I was going to run in the rain. I put on an ARMY t-shirt with a reflective decal on the back. ARMY for the soldiers, reflective decal for me. Headlights would catch the decal even in broad daylight, wouldn’t they? Cars should have their headlights on in the rain. I would be fine.
I headed in the direction of Herkimer College, thinking up that hill would be a good, tough run. I dodged around and jumped over puddles, eventually landing in one so that my shoes went squish, squish. I expected that. I wondered if my plan was a good one. For one reason, I think the hill I ran up the last time I ran in the suburbs was a longer, steeper one than the one to HCCC (can’t get out of the habit of calling Herkimer College by its old name). For another reason, I did not think there would be any people up at the college. I like to run where there are people, in case I run into problems. Suppose I got cramps or sprained an ankle? I like to think somebody would notice.
“Hey, there’s a crazy old lady, out running and came to grief. I’ll call 9-1-1. Better not get to close, though; I hear they’re dangerous when wounded.”
Halfway up the hill, I remembered Campus Safety would probably still be around. Anyways, I’ve never come to grief running. I think it’s something my body tells my brain to think about in hopes I will decide to stop running. Soon I was happy for the lack of traffic, because I went out almost to the middle of the lane to avoid a deep puddle. I didn’t want any more squish in my shoes than I had to have.
Soon I started second guessing my whole “Run for the soldiers” theme. Who did I think I was, anyways? Wasn’t I just glorifying myself: “Oh, look how tough I am, running up the hill in the rain.” Of course I did not feel particularly tough. I felt wet and old, but oddly good about myself. Naturally I become suspicious when I start to feel good about myself. I feel I am not the best judge of what I ought to feel good about.
Oh, it took a long way to get to the top. Did I think this hill was easier than the others I run? I must be crazy! But I knew I could make it. I was running with a bottle of water in one hand but did not feel inclined to take a sip on the steep incline. When I got to the top, I promised myself. When I got to the top, I kept going across the campus, which I have not done yet this year. After all, you can cover a lot of ground if you want to keep going for an hour.
Campus was almost deserted. I saw one car moving and a few empty ones parked. Nobody told me to get off campus, and I enjoyed the solitude. Things look kind of interesting when they are grey and soggy. I was pretty grey and soggy myself, and not just my hair; the t-shirt was grey and by now it was soaked through. I ran all the way around behind the athletic fields to Reservoir Road, which quite frankly seemed a lot longer than the last time I ran it.
I continued my run, moving back and forth between feeling I was making a respectful tribute and wandering what the hell I was thinking. I also ran the gamut of “this really sucks” to “I LOVE running.” Sixty-one minutes is a pretty long run. I finished my water and re-filled the bottle at the spring. Then I saved the spring water for my husband Steven. I had left another bottle of tap water on my deck to drink during my cool-down walk.
And that is how I remembered and honored our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.