This morning I got up early and left my bed that was warm and cozy, shedding the sheets that had enveloped me for the past six and a half hours. I pried open my eyes to put in my contacts. Blinking a few times, they were in place. I pulled the long gray sleeve shirt over my head and peeked out the window. The dreary, drippy morning greeted me and I doused my face with cold water, making sure I wouldn’t crawl back into bed. I laced up my shoes and took a deep breath. With the shoes on there was no turning back.
I opened the front door and made sure the screen door didn’t slam behind me or catch my Achilles like it usually does. On the driveway, I waited for Claude to beep, beep, beep and find satellite. A minute later my legs were carrying me on the sidewalk, towards the intersection by the park. There is always a split second at that intersection where I don’t truly know which way I’ll run. Over to the nature path, or to the park where that leads to the small lake by the city college. It isn’t until I reach that corner that I decide which way I’ll travel that morning.
The fog was enveloping everything, like a slow moving monster. Cars were only visible by their yellow beam headlights shining through the grayness. The red light of the intersection ahead that lead to the park lit up the path in front of me almost guiding me there. As I ran, my eyelashes became damp with fog kisses and my my face, wet with condensation. Some passing might have mistaken those fog kisses for tears, but they were just drops that gathered and gathered and with every blink, a drop would slide down my cheek. The whole time I’m running and not even realizing that my legs are moving. I’m infatuated with the fog that surrounds me and the dampness in the air. The stillness of the morning that is creepy and serene and unique. I breath in the cool air and it burns my lungs in such a distinct way.
Under the cover of the trees at the park, I keep running effortlessly for once, and every now and then a fat drop of water falls on my shoulders and head from above. The leaves are crunching under my feet. Sometimes I go out of my way to step on a big, crunchy leaf. I don’t know why, since I can’t hear it crunch with my headphones in. As I’m looking around me, there’s barely anyone on the roads, many must have seen the fog and decided it was a nice morning to sleep in. The trees keep dripping on me and I notice leaves falling all around me. It’s borderline magical as the leaves here don’t change much in the fall. They go from greenish yellow to brown. They don’t have much color. The trees have leaves one day and the next day they are naked sticks.
I finally get to the small lake, I make a quick loop around and the ducks squawk at me and wonder why I didn’t bring them bread. They waddle to get out out of my way. I head back the same route I came. The roads are filling up with morning commuters and the fog is slowly billowing away. My whole face is wet with mist and my ponytail looks like a mop after cleaning the kitchen floor, a tangled, stringy mess. I round the corner back into my neighborhood and finally realize I had an effortless run. I never realized I was running. I was so distracted by the surroundings that the four miles that I just put on my shoes were almost a dream.
It’s those great runs, short and long, where you get lost in the moment and your feet just take you someplace, that you realize you are a runner and what you are doing is magical.