It stormed all night. I love hearing the pitter patter of the rain as I sleep. When I woke up in the morning, I was excited for my run. I am happiest when I run Tuesdays and Thursdays and do strength training Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. However, it’s winter and very dark still in the mornings so I made my way to the kitchen where Mama and Papa B share their morning coffee. I poured myself a cup and told them about my day, my work, my studies. I nonchalantly inserted in the conversation that I was waiting for it to become light enough and I would head out for my run. You’re going to get sick. You’re going to get allergies. You’re going to slip. You’re going to fall. You can’t run in the wind and rain. Incredible. 28 years and still they haven’t accepted that I will run in the rain. I love running in the rain. “OK.” I said and took a sip of coffee.
“You always say OK and do what you want,” my mom said.
“Yes, mama, you raised me well.” I smiled and continued with my conversation, non-controversial things like work and gym gossip, the happenings of the prior day.
When it was light enough to go out, I got dressed and headed out the door. It wasn’t raining at the moment, I pounded the pavement, seeking that monotonous zen of running. I get so in my head sometimes I don’t even remember how I get places. This morning I can’t even remember how I got to Lover’s Point. The streets of Pacific Grove are so familiar that I don’t notice the quirky houses down Forest Ave but could describe each one in great detail, including their gardens and free libraries out front.
I went carefully, not to slip but not avoiding puddles, I guess I have not outgrown the four year old fascination and delight of jumping in puddles, the cold water that touches the soles of my feet puts a smile on my face every time. At some point I reminded myself to look up and marvel at the ocean. The waves were calm considering the storm and the wind but the deep blue of the ocean was mystifying. I thanked God again that I live here and am able to run outside. As I rounded the point, the rain came down harder and the wind really picked up, I was running against the wind now. I love the feel of the wind’s resistance against my whole body, pushing me back, testing my strength and balance. The wind forced the rain almost horizontally and I could feel the drops stinging the soft skin of my upper lip and cheeks. I’M ALIVE, I thought. This is why we live, to feel, to see.
The route home is uphill and I delighted in the slower pace that the incline forces on me. I thought about shifting gears, as my cross country coach used to say, it’s different muscles going uphill. I channeled those other muscles and pushed on. Finally I got to the patch of forest near home and noticed the subtle differences caused by the rain, the smell of wet earth…and not so subtle differences caused by the rain, a broken fence from a fallen tree.
As I unlaced my shoes and caught my breath and felt my heart slowing from pounding, I couldn’t help but again feel thankful for the ability to run. I don’t know if all people seek this type of visceral feeling but I do know I do. While I’m alive, I want to feel alive. That’s why I run.