Reacquaintance with the Road

running

When you hear “reacquaintance with the road” hard on the heels of Thanksgiving weekend, you might think of highways, those dated circa-50s metaphors for congested holiday arteries. You eat too much, the highways eat too much. Everybody’s unhappy.

But, no. I mean the runner’s road. My faithful readers (OK, my dog — who might just be faking it) already know that I ran on Thanksgiving morning in a “race” (quotation marks working overtime), but yesterday I ran for the hell of it. This is the first time since this summer that I’ve run back-to-back in a span of four days. Annus mirabilis!

You know what’s nice? How forgiving the world is to fugitive runners (a.k.a. “runners on the run from running”). I crossed paths with three runners on this four mile jag and all four good morninged me as if I had never left the fold. This, my friends, is the height of courtesy, especially since my wheezing and limping betrayed me as a sultan of sloth.

The crows were kind, too. Calling from the dead lightning of high tree branches, looking down as devilishly playful as ever, still sounding their Greek chorus of “caw, caw, caw,” which translates to “fool, fool, fool,” they didn’t let on or mock any more than they had to as respectable crows.

Before long the cold was riding each ear, eventually stowing away into its thin hiding places. I liked it. My nose stung in the early-morning frost, too. I liked it. And gradually my fingers had to do their turtle act into the sleeves of my shell. Same old, same old. “Like.” Welcome back, the running world was saying. We’re ready if you are.

I wonder, then, if it’s an omen that I bumped into an old comrade from the running club on Thanksgiving morn. He was about to ask if I was still running regularly and why I wasn’t still in the club when the tide of humanity squeezed him through the locks of the door (you know, where all the post-run goodies waited). I was temporarily saved.

Yesterday, though, brought the message home. Movement = health. Movement in winter’s dark = lightness of mood. That’s all I learned in math. That’s all I had to learn, too. Now it’s just following through.

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