I was planning to go running yesterday morning, but then, when my alarm clock went off at 5:30 a.m., I laughed and mumbled to myself something like “no friggin’ way,” and I went back to sleep thinking maybe I’d run today instead. When I woke up again at 7:00 a.m., I had to let the dog out and as I did so, I remembered it was supposed to rain today. Now, running in the rain might be refreshing in the summer, but in the late fall, with winter pressing at your heels, the thought of running in a cold rain, well, it didn’t seem like anything I’d enjoy. And I really wanted to get a long run in this weekend so I wouldn’t be damning myself all week long for skipping it. So after considerable dawdling and debate, I donned my running clothes and finally pushed myself out the door at 8:45, a late start if ever there was one. I was tired beyond belief, and the entire run felt like a struggle, but in the end I was very glad I took the opportunity and got out there.
Because as I was driving down the road on my way to my favorite running spot, I passed several farms and fields filled with animals, mostly horses and cows. The horses, I noticed wore blankets. The cows, however did not. Now I am not a farmer, but what is up with that? Were they trying to keep the milk cold so it wouldn’t spoil? I also wondered what the horses blankets were made of. Surely they weren’t made of horse hair. I mean, that’s what covers the horses already, and obviously it’s not warm enough if they need a blanket. So maybe, I thought, the blankets were wool. Or cashmere. Imagine that, cashmere blankets on horses… How lucky are they?
Another reason I was happy that I decided to go running is that the weather was perfect. It was cold and breezy and cloudy out. Maybe it was 45 or 50 degrees. The sun was hiding behind the clouds so I didn’t need a visor and I didn’t need sun glasses and I didn’t have to worry about feeling annoyingly hot, the way I often do when the sun starts beating down my back.
Despite the cool temperatures and the clouds, I still broke a sweat. I was wearing a fleece running jacket though, one that I bought at the race expo for the Virginia Beach ½ Marathon last year, and it has zippers in the arm pits that you can unzip to let in some air if you need it. I never really gave those zippers much thought until I was out running yesterday and stopped to yank the zippers down. I felt cooler almost immediately. These are great, I thought! And then I contemplated how, if you were the sort of person who liked to go all natural, and didn’t bother to shave your arm pits, you could conceivably let your pit hair grow long and silky, then you could braid it, and still wear this jacket. You could unzip the armpit zippers and let your braided arm pit hair hang out on either side like pigtails, flowing behind you in the wind while you ran. Not that I would do a thing like that, mind you, but someone else could, if they wanted to. I’m just saying.
The other thing I like about this particular running jacket, aside from the pit zippers and the dry wicking fleece it’s made from, are the pockets where I can stash some shot blocks and my cell phone. It makes running in the fall and winter a lot more enjoyable, having a place to stash my stuff without having to wear a running belt.
The place I like to run, it’s quiet. There is nothing to hear but a few geese honking as they head South, the sound of a car engine approaching every now and then, or the wheels of bicycles turning as a group of cyclists roll past. In certain spots you can hear the water in the steam, or leaves rustling from squirrels overhead. And sometimes, I am not kidding, you can hear an acorn fall. But that’s it. In this quiet I can run and run and I can think about everything and nothing at the same time. Yesterday I thought about the pit zippers on my jacket and, well, that was really about it. I ran for 2 hours straight.
When I got home, before I could even get out of the car, Snags popped up next to my driver’s side window, opened my car door, and climbed into my lap. “STOP!” I told him. “I’m all sweaty. I smell stinky. Don’t sit on me!”
“You don’t smell stinky, mom,” he said. “You smell HOT!”
“What?!” I asked, a little panicked. How gross is that? My six year old son thinking I smelled “HOT!” What on earth could he mean? I wondered. How did Snags know about HOT!?
So I pressed him. “What do you mean I smell HOT? What does HOT mean?”
And I was relieved as he said, “You smell like you’ve been sitting in here with the car heater on the whole way home from running!”