Running through the fog
When our family went to bed last night the winds were gusting – the electricity went out – and the color of the sky was creepy.
Being raised in Kansas we are used to this stuff. Well, not quite what we went through last night – but we are the family that runs outside when we hear the tornado sirens instead of taking cover. We hope there is enough warning that we can see the massive funnel and still have time to take cover. So far, so good.
The storm quickly passed and we all fell asleep to the dog howling and crying because he’s terrified of thunder.
That storm brought some thick fog this morning. If you are new to running this might make you think “Scary. I can’t see where I’m going. Cars can’t see me. I better stay home.” If you have been running for sometime you think, “AWESOME! Fog means no wind! I better get out there before it burns off.” So I set out for 5 miles.
Mile 1: I headed up the bike path barely able to see the other side of the creek. The bike path is safe for running in fog. The only thing your bound to run across is a dog pile and at the start of a run I knew I would have many more miles to rid myself of the shit. Thankfully, all poo was avoided and I ran clean. My music was blaring and my pace was decent at 9:40 but my body was not interested in what my mind had decided. I began to have thoughts of cutting it short – slowing down – taking a detour into a friend’s business – but I ignored those thoughts and decided to press on.
Mile 2: As the thoughts were put to rest I relaxed into what was turning into a great run. My pace had picked up to a 9:25. My breathing was steady. No cars had pulled in front of me causing me to take a break. There was a small north breeze that dried the moisture that I was soaked in from the fog. It felt GOOD.
Mile 3: I wanted to ease up a bit – for training purposes. I knew I would have a long run tomorrow morning and I didn’t want to go all out on these five miles and have nothing to give tomorrow. I knew I had a good pace going though and my body has to work hard to keep the pace I want in order to reach my goals. During this mile I ran through a wooded trail – it runs next to homes and is well populated. Not a wee bit scary. Until I turned the corner and two men were walking toward me. One of them was older – like a grandpa. Other one was 40ish and creepy. I kept my eye on the grandpa – he looked safe and my body felt safe when I looked at him. As I passed them the younger of the men looked at my face and then right “down there” – ick. I have a pretty strong ‘gut’ when it comes to recognizing safe and unsafe. The younger man was ‘unsafe’. Glad he was with the older man. Regardless, I ran a little faster but still stayed around 9:30.
Mile 4: I knew I was on the home-stretch. I knew I could pick up the pace a little and get that north breeze to do some of the work. BUT, I was out in the open. The fog was super thick. I was required to keep my head up, focus on what was coming and be prepared – because no car would be prepared for me. It was in this mile that I realized this run was imitating my life. That I was given an ability and it was my job to use it. Mile 1 represented the life that I lead – the shit I have to dodge to stay clean - feeling tired and wanting to quit – working hard to keep a goal within reach. Mile 2 represented the cleansing and drying of the tears (fog) – the strength that is required to keep pushing into a force that pushes back requiring me to stay focused. Mile 3 represented the relationships – the trauma – the importance of trusting my ‘gut’ – what I hear when I listen for the answers to what I’m asking. Mile 4 was about trusting and knowing that sometimes I will have to jump off the road toward my goal in order to protect it. I will have to be keenly aware of my purpose or I will get run over!
As my garmin chimed 4 miles I was at an intersection – ready to cross a highway – in dense fog. At this intersection I had to remove all distractions (Eminem was cussing in my ear at this point) and focus. I knew my last mile would be on a paved sidewalk. It would be away from traffic. There would be nothing to stop me from reaching my goal. Accomplishing my purpose. As I darted across the cloudy road I stared at the sidewalk in front of me – my goal. Safety. A well placed path. A path that has been there for me since I started my journey. I stuffed my ear buds back into my ears, cranked up Eminem’s “I’m not afraid” and booked it home with the north breeze encouraging me. My last mile was my fastest. My last mile was the easiest. Even my half mile cool-down was dreamy.
My journey was foggy, filled with dodging the shit, and scary at times. But in the end I reached the destination – Home.