It rained last night. Scratch that, actually. Calling it “rain” would — clearly — be an understatement.
The skies darkened, the thick and swirling mass of cloud that had been lingering on the horizon moved atop us turning the day into a flat, grey wash of light, and the lake of water that had been hiding in the cloud’s billowing mass fell upon our heads in a downpour of wind and water of street-flooding proportions.
And then it rained some more.
And more. Until I found myself staring out the back windows into the drenched and wind-swept backyard looking only a minor-note less forlorn than my walk-craving puppy as she did the same. It was nine-thirty and I owed myself a nine kilometer run, but even I know that sometimes — just sometimes — avoiding the thunder-shocked streets with no more protection than a flimsy running cap is not the smart thing to do.
So, I went to the gym. Yeah, that’s right. The nearby recreation facility spoils me for just such an occasion. A four minute drive away, the gym and track are open until ten-thirty each night. And despite the terrible weather, the two-hundred meter track was virtually abandoned, save for a few girls walking casual laps and what looked to be a pregnant lady fit to burst meandering slowly around the same.
I hate the track. Sorry. No offence to the track intended. The track is fine. Wonderful. Epic, new-ish, and delightfully cozy. But I do not enjoy running it. I do not look forward to running it. The only thing that strikes me as possibly less inspiring is running on a treadmill, and that’s a toss-up because — theoretically — I could be watching television while running on a treadmill.
For the last four and a half years I’ve been a road-racer. I lace up, head out into the asphalt-laden streets, and tear up the neighborhoods and bike paths on my regular runs. As one loses oneself in the run, the pain and drudgery of one-foot-after-the-other dissolves into the exploration of both familiar sights and unfamiliar routes. There is always something to see, something new to learn, something to catch one’s attention. Being out and about on a run can be a mind-clearing, philosophical plod through a local space most people only ever explore in a car.
And then there is the track. At two hundred meters, my nine kilometer run would have meant pulling out fourty-five laps over the course of a little less than one hour while enjoying the scenic view of two-dozen teenage boys alternately lifting weights or gawking at themselves in the wall-size mirrors. Oh, yup, there’s that water fountain… again…. and again… and, yes, there it goes again. Though I do suppose were I to return this evening I would have the pleasure of two hundred right turns rather than the two hundred left turns of last night.
I gave up at five and a bit kilometers. They were going to kick me out before I reached nine anyhow, but I kicked myself out after about twenty-six laps: I think it was twenty-six as the monotony made me lose count a couple times and I extrapolated my distance back with a rough calculation against my time. That’s how boring running on a track was: I was going math in my head to occupy myself.
Tonight, as I write this a few minutes before I leave for my evening training run with my group, the weather is still tenuous. But… well, we’ll see.
By the way: the virtual run total is up at 452 km. It would have been longer, but… uh, that RAIN!