I popped up and outside today faster than I could wake up and think. That was probably a good idea.
A little hung over from overeating yesterday (hours-long picnic at our place, picking and eating all day long), I went to bed determined to break into a long run the minute my eyes opened. I’d put out my gear to make it easy.
I hate running in the heat. So when I woke, I was glad that dawn hadn’t fully broken (or so I thought), and that I would be able to get out in the cool of pre-dawn (at least that’s how it looked through half-opened eyes) to get in the better part of an hour on the road and along the beach.
My dear husband was out of bed already, which I thought odd for so early in the day.
It wasn’t until I had put on my gear, stretched in the garage, and was half-way down our drive that I looked at my watch and realized this darkness wasn’t due to the hour of the day but a gathering of storm clouds overhead.
Well, I reasoned, here I am.
And so I ran. After a half-mile it began to rain, very lightly. I ran through the lake-side cottages and thought how great this rain is, how it cools my body off and makes running very comfortable. I had certainly heard this before from hard-core runners, but I never really believed it.
So I headed out to the lighthouse at the entry to the harbor, where the rain and wind picked up, and ran past the fishing boats now coming in off the lake, traveling away from the storm. The boats’ drivers gave me a look that clearly said I was headed the wrong way. But I kept going, running past the lighthouse, along the breakfront to the end of the pier, getting wetter and wetter.
The waves were soft, but picking up, and so I turned around and headed back, now noting that I couldn’t actually see much of the shoreline for the rain. The whole point of running to the end of the breakers is to see the shoreline stretch for miles in each direction. Rats. Another day.
I ran back, hopped off the breakfront to the beach, to head south again, where I could cut back over the dunes to my house. As my feet hit the sand, a crack of thunder, and then rumbling, rumbling, rumbling.
Hmm.., I calculated I was about 2 miles from home. I was wet all over. Wetness isn’t the issue. The only concern, was
So I counted, 1-1000, 2-1000, 3-1000, and reached 10 before the thunder followed. Lightning was striking two miles away and closing.
Now I was running directly into the wind, and needed to complete most of a mile against it before I could cut over the dune to make the last mile home.
The wind, my speed, the electricity in the air, the wet. It all made me more breathless than usual. I slowed down. Way down.
FLASH! 1-1000, 2-1000, 3-1000, 4-1000 Crack!
I sped up.
I pulled off my soaking wet ball cap with the metal button at the top, wondered if silver earrings would conduct electricity, and pined to get away from this large, large body of water.
Okay, at this point I feel stupid and scared.
I underestimated the speed of travel of Great Lakes’ storms.
I climbed the 70 or so steps up the sand-dune, and returned to the woods, where I immediately felt protected, safe, and where without the wind roaring in my ears, I could pay attention to my squishy shoes, and the frictionless feeling of rained-on skin. Of course, I’m not safe in the trees. Because lightning kinda likes trees. Yes, I know that. But I feel safe in the woods anyway.
I ran down the winding road to my house in a delirious mood, minding my knees, but running fast. I passed another runner (!See what I said there? Me? A runner?! Sheesh!), heading up the hill. He was sinewy, soaked, and also had a goofy grin plastered to his face.
“Hey,” he said, looking very happy. He’d run in storms before, plenty of times. I could tell.
“Hey,” I said, looking, I’m sure, just as stupid and happy, recovered from my fear and knowing this isn’t the only rain I’ll run in my life. I’ll likely leave the electrical storms alone, but the rain is good.
We enjoyed the idiocy of it for the second we took to pass one another.
And now I’m wondering what I’ll do with the rest of my day that could possibly compare with that thrill.
Thoreau once said something like, “Only that day dawns to which we are fully awake.” My grandfather, the Admiral, used to say, “Never sail faster than you can think.” I usually go along with both of these fellas. But not today.
Today I am fully awake because I was too sleepy to think clearly about the weather before heading out. I’m so glad I didn’t wake to spoil it. I’m so glad I let the rain soak me through. I’m so glad I ran past that guy this morning.
I feel awake. Very. Sheepish too. I won’t run in a storm again. I will check the weather channel before I leave in the morning. I will run in the rain again, any time. But I’ll leave the storms alone.
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