Strap on Your Sneakers, Pull Up a Chair, and Take a Run with Me

I’m in a mood.  A moody kind of mood.  This happens to me now and again.  Usually it’s hormonal, but the last few days have been particularly crabby.  Last Thursday, I went for a walk with a friend.  We talked a lot, which was very good.  But we also walked about six miles, I got all sweaty, and I burned off a lot of useless energy.  I had forgotten what an effective mood-booster exercise is.

At this time a year ago, I ran the U.S. Half Marathon in San Francisco.  (It’s very cool – you get to run over the Golden Gate Bridge.)  But, I have crappy knees, and I ended up having my left knee scoped last October to have some plica removed.  It takes a long time to heal from that, and I more than less fell off the exercise wagon.

After Thursday’s walk, though, there was a little tingling in the back of my brain; the triggering of a memory …

On Saturday, I had to take my car in for service, and the shop doesn’t run a shuttle on Saturdays.  The appointment was way earlier in the morning than Helene would be up and moving.  I looked at her sleeping figure, snuggled into the bed next to my sleeping husband and thought, You know what?  I will WALK home.  It’s a six-mile walk, so, I figured, what the hell.

I made a Spotify playlist for the occasion.  (Actually, I made a Spotify playlist long enough for me to jog-walk to Arizona, but …)  As I exited the car dealership, I fired up the playlist, plugged in my earphones, tucked my iPhone into my pocket, and set off.

It was one of those mornings where the sun felt hot but it wasn’t quite warm out yet, because the air still had a certain chill.  About a mile in, I decided to detour to my sister’s house, which was about a mile closer than mine.  Also, my sister has a coffee machine called a Nespresso with this milk-frother machine thingy that makes an UH-MAZING latte, and I needed some serious motivation for this trek.

In fact, the thought of that latte REALLY motivated me, so I decided I’d try to jog it.

That’s when the magic happened.

The right songs came on at the right times.  The sun got warm but the breezes still came through just when I needed them.  The street lights and walk signs at each intersection changed at exactly the right moments.  My breathing fell into a comfortably strained rhythm.  My foul mood was GONE, washed away in every bead of sweat pouring from me.  I actually caught myself smiling.  I was JOGGING.  And SMILING.  People might’ve been staring.

By the time I got to my sister’s house, I was a glistening, glorious, giddy mess.

I forgot what the adrenaline and endorphins do to you.  What they do for you.  I forgot how important it is to spend a little time every day totally immersed in your thoughts, the words of a song, the sound of your feet hitting pavement.

So, I took my little-dark-rain-cloud out for a run again on Sunday.  I thought a lot about my blog while I was on this run, so I decided to bring you with me.  (Yes, I realize I’ve already gone on the run.  Keep your reality, literalism and facts to yourself.  Sheesh.)

Ready?  Here we go:

There was a lot of nature.

We’re gonna head down this road now.  We’re going through a very nice park about .5 miles from where we started:

We’re further into the park now, near the soccer fields.  There are a lot of rules, so pay attention!

I found a lonely kickball. It needs some friends.  It looks so blue …

Hey, kickball!  I found you a friend!  She’s a bit two-dimensional, but …

We’re heading toward the canal now. We’re gonna go right.  Yes, I know it would be shorter to go left, but that’s not the point now, is it?  That and going right gets us closer to where we parked the car.

Look!  It’s two ducks Chuck.  Alright.  One duck Chuck.  Another duck … Charlene?

This duck did NOT want his picture taken.  He tried so hard to swim away from me, but I was too quick.  Take that Chuck!

Sometimes, ducks and other cute little animals get stuck in the canal, so they put up signs like this.  You would have to be a PETA-sized animal lover to want to go anywhere near the water in that canal.  In fact, I’m not even sure it’s water, honestly …

Every time I pass this shack, it both creeps me out and makes me think of Huck Finn. I have no idea why.  I am, however, mildly curious what’s in it.  It’s probably better if I don’t know.

This was not a happy part of my run. I really hope you find your way home, Ashes.

Here’s the parking lot where I started and finished my run. Total coincidence that it’s near both a grocery AND a liquor store. Swear.

Oh, good.  You made it.  Drink plenty of water and don’t forget to stretch.