Knowing myself as I do – as I should, after all these years – I know that sometimes, I need outside motivation to keep myself on course.  So I’ve signed up to do a half-marathon in the end of September, and have found a training program that looks simple enough for me to stick to.

And so far, I have – despite having gone on vacation to the beach, I kept up with my running.  On the beach!  BAREFOOT!  It was spectacular!

But now I’m home, and back to the rut routine.  Except that all my running partners are now…away.  So I’m out there, all by my lonesome.  Now I don’t mind running alone every now and then.  It’s very meditative; it give you time to think and ponder, or similarly, to just focus on the physical:  the beating of your heart, the thud of your feet on the ground, your breath, like a billows in your lungs, powering this machine that is your body.  It’s all good. 

But after having gotten used to running with friends, it can be hard to stay motivated when you know you’re going out there alone.

This is where the program comes in.  There is a schedule.  And a plan.  And I don’t want to look like a fool in September. 

So this morning, despite an abundance of rain, I got my gear on.  And hesitated.  And hated the hesitation.  And got my dog, and got in the car, and headed out to my favorite trail.  On the way, the rain stopped, and I was relieved.  I don’t mind running in the rain, but it was POURING.

We got the run underway, and it was going really well…I was strong, and felt good.  And then the rain came.  In BUCKETS.  I was drenched, but it felt fantastic.  More than that, it felt rejuvenating.  I felt, literally, like a child again.  I was about half-way through my five and a half mile run and I thought “Well, it’s too late to turn back now, I’ll just have to keep running!”  And the emotion I felt at that was glee.

The air was cool for this time of year, but still I was sweating, so the rain felt wonderful, and it kept the bugs down.  The entire time out, I saw not another single soul.

The last leg of the run is about a mile of road.  It’s the part of the run I like the least, because I don’t like running on the road, and it always seems so much longer than the rest of it.

Today, with the heat of the past week and the rain combined, there was a fog over the road.  As the dog and I pounded the pavement, a figure emerged from the fog, coming towards me.  It was a woman, and I had to smile at seeing someone else as crazy as I am.  She was about 15 years older than me, but strangely her outfit was very similar to my own:  I had black capris and a purple short-sleeve top, while she wore black long pants and a purple long-sleeved shirt.  Her hair, too, was like mine:  kinky, curly, frizzy, restrained in a severe pony-tail. 

As she power-walked by me in the other direction, we shared a smile, and I called out “Have fun!” 

“You too,” her voice echoed back to me out of the fog.

I felt like she could have been a future me.  I had to smile, happy that she was still crazy enough, after all these years, to indulge the child inside of her, and go out and play in the rain.