As we drove to Vermont Friday afternoon, we saw some people running.
“I need to do that,” I said sadly, as many runners who are not currently running do.
“Maybe Vermont will inspire you,” Steven said.
I packed running clothes, based on the theory better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. I figured I would talk myself our of it. Or it might rain.
Imagine my surprise when I got out of bed Saturday morning and put on running clothes. I think Steven was a little surprised too. There was no need to run too far, I told myself, especially since I had not run in… two weeks? Three weeks? I don’t even remember last weekend, and not for reasons which you may be forgiven for thinking. I figured fifteen minutes would be acceptable, twenty minutes respectable. Any more and I might be too tired to enjoy Vermont. Can’t have that.
Off I went.
And felt very cold. I had packed bicycle shorts and large t-shirt, which are usually good down to forty degrees. I don’t mind running in the cold, but I wished I had thought to bring a headband to cover my ears with. No matter. I said I wasn’t going to run very far, and I probably wouldn’t run fast enough to get much wind resistance. Just keep running.
The road my sister-in-law lives on is a quiet country road. Not completely quiet, though, which makes the complete lack of shoulder problematic. Most motorists slow down and move over, so that was nice. I made sure to give them the “thank you” wave when they did.
I ran to the end of the street, then around to another street to make kind of a loop, then back up the first street. I knew only a vague moment of hesitation before making the turn, thinking I PROBABLY remembered accurately where this one came out. It is always interesting running in an unfamiliar place. I usually don’t get too lost, but you never know, especially when roads loop as they tend to do.
As I ran, I reflected on the loopiness of roads. I don’t think I’ve ever gone running where the streets made perfect parallels and right angles. Army housing especially seems to be laid out based on a plate of spaghetti. Mmmm… I like spaghetti.
And so my thoughts ran, distracting me from my body, which might have started to complain at this point. Still, I seemed to be running along at a pretty good clip. I felt moderately pleased with myself.
As I started back down the first road, another runner passed me. He had on long spandex pants, a jacket, gloves and a hat.
“You’re better equipped than I am,” I told him.
“I’m actually working up a sweat,” he said. “I was thinking you were better dressed. Maybe something in between.”
I agreed, and he ran on. And then we came to the ugly truth about my pace, because he certainly left me in the dust. No matter. We all must run our own race. If my middle-aged shuffle feels like a loping gazelle in my head, who am I hurting?
One of the best parts of any run is the soapy shower afterward. Truth be known, that was my real inducement to run. It was my inducement the next day too. The other inducement was to run now and not have to run later. Or feel guilty about not running.