Hey! Can I talk a little more about running for a second?
(Actually, it’s going to go deeper than running. Stick with me for a minute or two.)
I go to the lake twice each week for a run. If you run around the lake, you score 5.7 kilometers, meaning The Lake is The Perfect Size.
I tend to park near the blue trashcan across from the canoe rentals, and I travel counterclockwise. This means I spend the first ten minutes or so running between a beach and a road. (In my opinion, this is the ugliest part of the path.)
Wait. So, here is the ugliest part of the lake. And it’s gorgeous. And I don’t even USE the word gorgeous.
(I took that photo today while trying to figure out how to do the panorama thing on my phone.)
When I reach the first bridge, I know the roughest part of the run is over. (The first ten minutes always suck. I spend every one of those minutes trying to talk myself into quitting. It’s horrible.) As I pass by trees on the left and soccer fields on the right, I know I’m nearing the halfway point. When I’m surrounded by trees on both sides, the rest is gravy. (AND, by Gravy, I mean I have only three or four more songs before I run under the highway overpass.)
I know I’ve shared this photo before, but just for the sake of taking you with me, THIS is where everything becomes gravy.
(I can’t even look at that photo without getting all smiley and Zen-like.)
As soon as the highway overpass is in sight, I tend to have about two minutes left to run, so I kick it into Haul Ass mode to see how far I can get (normally a tiny bit past the second foot bridge) before the run is over and the cool down begins. But wait. Before we finish out the run, let’s talk about that overpass.
Go here to see what it looks like. When I’m running at the lake, I have to travel under that overpass twice. Every time I’m running or walking under the overpass, I picture a car flying off of the edge and either crashing into me, or crashing into the lake. I wonder how I would handle either dying or having to jerk into disaster relief mode. I picture myself going up in flames. I picture my family having to deal with me as a sack of broken bones. I think about life insurance. I think about that time when I burned my finger on a pot of cream of asparagus soup and I think about how being burnt from the flames coming off of an exploding car would hurt SO much worse than that soup, and that soup HURT. (The soup incident occurred over two decades ago, and I still flinch when I think of it.)
I’ve probably experienced high doses of semi-irrational fears at least forty times while passing under the overpass. As soon as I’m back into the woods, my fears are extinguished and I’m once again all la la laaaahhhhh because it looks like this:
Last night a four passenger plane fell out of the sky and crashed into the lake. In other words, it doesn’t matter WHERE you are. A car could fall off of a bridge. A plane could fall out of the sky. Wild bears. Hunger Games.
This morning I spent my entire run thinking about the pilot of that plane and his wife and his family and how life can be and often is entirely too short and then I ran a little faster and then I slowed down and when I reached the overpass I was about eighteen items into a mental list I was making of all the things I still haven’t done and some of those things are basic, like “figure out liquid eyeliner” and some of them are a little more substantial, like “stop apologizing for everything.” And then there’s “Paris!” and “Rid your life of Stuff!” and “Pet a dolphin!” and “Make sure your kids are having some fun Every Single Day.”
I’ve never tried yucca chips.
I’ve never written a short story.
I’ve never learned how to cut paper dolls.
I’ve never woken my kids up in the middle of the night just to watch the snow fall.