For the second day in a row, the sky is gray. I look up from my desk and out the window. There’s a sense of stillness to the air, even though I can see the raindrops hitting the ground. Maybe it’s just my own brain that’s still. Still like a stagnating pond.
As a runner who has battled multiple setbacks over the last few years, both external (e.g., injuries) and internal (e.g., resistance), I sometimes feel like I’m in perpetual start-over mode, and what was once habit can now sometimes require seismic energy. I know it would help to get up and get some fresh air and move my body. I know this, because it always does. But I can’t. I even have good “reasons”:
- I don’t have time.
- I’m busy with work, and even though my mind is not generating anything great as I sit here (or really anything) parked at my desk for what feels like the umpteenth hour in a row, I—see reason above—don’t have time.
- It’s raining.
- I feel sluggish, and I don’t want to warm up, and if I don’t warm up, I really shouldn’t run, since I’ve been trying to be much better about the warm-up thing.
- I read we might be getting a thunderstorm. That doesn’t seem to be the case now. But hey, best to be on the safe side right?
- I don’t really feel like it.
- Besides, lunch sounds better than running.
- It’s probably best just not to go.
I go anyway. I force myself out of my seat, put on my layers and my Garmin, don my shoes, and get myself out the door before I can change my mind.
Almost immediately, the rain soaks through my shoes and everything else not covered by water-resistant material—yep, it’s wet out here all right—but what is also instantaneous is that I feel more awake and alive, and I’m so glad I’ve come out. I look around and my eyes take in what’s left of the orange leaves, the stragglers. They are so beautiful, and we won’t have them for much longer. A short time later, I am running past the grade school near where I live. The playground looks abandoned, and I think about being a kid and that jump-out-of-my-skin feeling I had on rainy days when we were stuck inside. Ugh, all that sitting. I take a deep breath as I run past and revel in my big-girl freedom.
On my run, I’m nearly the only pedestrian, save for one man in a heavy rain slicker who’s walking his dog, and later a woman doing the same. She is shivering against the cold, as she has braved the rain without the right kind of jacket to repel the water.
As I run, the rain beats against my body, and my feet beat against the ground, and I am propelled forward in a way that changes the day’s trajectory. I no longer feel like a Walking Dead extra after doing yet another take of a single filler scene. Instead, my brain fires with creative thoughts about how to tackle the writing project I’d been working on, as well as other projects that I hadn’t even been thinking about just a little while ago. By the time I return home, I’m soaking wet, but I’m full of fresh air and fresh ideas. I’m excited to get back to my desk and put my thoughts on paper.
There are things I do that I think, “I probably shouldn’t have just done that.” Running though?
Never one of those things.