Morning Run

Sweats on.  Thermal running shirts nabbed for a low-low price at T.J. Maxx, on.  Shoes with a worn spot along the inner foot, on.  Out the door.  I cross myself as the cold air greets me trotting down the steps.

I began at what feels like a swift pace.  It’s been three weeks since my last run, and this one will be short, being morning, being that I left my son with my husband, being that my husband needs to get ready for work.  But running without managing the heavy weight of a jogging stroller pulling to the left (note: get that aligned) feels glorious.

“Thank you, Lord.  I love you, Lord.”

Wind whips my exposed ankles.  My running tights no longer fit – glory be – and someday I’ll buy new ones.  Not now.  My ankles will survive.  My feet hit the sidewalk with a satisfying smack. Not hard enough to hurt.  Rubber meeting frozen cement will smack.

I wish I wore my stocking hat.

“Lamplight and the early strands of dawn peeking from under a high cloud cover resound in major thirds and fifths off blades of grass glittering with the gifts of Jack Frost.”  I roll these words about my head, my creativity growing with the warm flood of blood circulating in little-used muscles.  My analogies are overwrought, perhaps, but I like them regardless.

The pedestrian signal ahead begins its countdown: 10, 9, 8…  I lift my feet and find my speed.

Thoughts wander between praise of the Almighty and the various rabbit holes that burrow through the mind of a wife and mother.  My knee grinds ever so slightly – Old Age lifting the veil covering my future years.  She winks – the tease.

I turn the corner and begin pacing the one hill in town.  I used to live at the top of a steep hill.  This is nothing.  I can do this.  A car pulls out of the parking lot – it’s dark, she cannot see, this is a one-way street and she is not looking this way – I dart behind her before she hits the gas.

The halfway point.  A bench.  I stop, stretch my tight hamstrings.  Perhaps only 10 minutes so far.  This will be a short run.  My breath is short and sharp and leaves clouds of vapor in the ice air.

I need to get back, the weight of the day easing itself onto my shoulders.  I pick up the pace again and push my way down River Avenue.  The stop lights slow my progress.  My lack of breath slows my progress.  Perhaps I need to run more often.

The sun begins its decent in the sky, its morning light peering around grey puffs.  The frozen grass still gleams but not as brilliantly.  I pick up my pace to finish the last few blocks.

I can cut across the neighbor’s driveway to reach our own, from the back.  Our property; our driveway.  I stop, walk, catch my breath, scrape my feet in the pine needles that need sweeping up.

The house is warm and I am greeted with love.  Only 18 minutes.  Pathetic to most, but full of vigor and joy to me.

Image Credit: MorgueFile


    • Rhonda Ortiz says

      I used to have a hate relationship, but it’s been transformed! All love now, even when I’m suckin’ wind.

  1. Christine says

    Very impressed sister dearest, you know how much running and I don’t get along. I have, however, made friends with an exercise bike in our apartment’s community center.

    • Rhonda Ortiz says

      Well, you do have a bum knee – I wouldn’t get along with running in that case, either. Yeah for the bike!