By Christopher Cudworth
But right now I feel serious and happy all at once.
This morning was wet and snowy and soggy out on the roads. All the same we drove to Naperville for Saturday Morning Run Club with Experience Triathlon for the simple reason that we both felt like running.
It’s been a good two weeks with the holidays. Despite the business of family and party celebrations there has been time to work out and recharge.
So we laced on our shoes and joined a very few others headed out for runs on a morning where it would have been much easier to stay indoors. The snow was not quite snow and the rain was not quite rain. It struck us on the neck and nose. It spilled over the tops of our shoes. That was part of the fun.
Sue wore her Yak Trax for footing and I used all 40 years of my running experience to wend our way down the riverwalk toward the streets. We climbed that silly hill at the start and found a rhythm despite the inconsistent footing.
I love the feel of snow underfoot actually. It cushions each step. There is a sort of kung fu you must do to keep your feet under you in such conditions. Don’t fight the feel or it gives way and you slip. Just run across the ground and let your feet work their way underneath. There’s enough traction to be had if you don’t overanalyze it.
We rolled onto the river trail and began our journey south toward the Mobil station four miles hence. It was just us and the noise of our shoes. Which was loud. Yet it became standard to the morning and along with our breathing, that was all we needed. We didn’t talk much. Didn’t have to. This was running. Shared.
For miles we trekked and scooted. My legs felt great from all the weight work we’ve done this week. There was also a set of indoor 400s run at 80 second pace earlier in the week. That kind of running smooths you out. Sue’s stride was better for sure. I could feel her rhythm next to me. Her blue-gray eyes were set ahead somewhere on the trail. Taking in the tracks to and fro. We were busy making our own.
Geese flew overhead and called from the banks of the river as we passed. Their heads went up and the conversation in goose language must be quite the exclamation. It made us laugh for a moment.
At the Mobil station the bathroom was a welcome stop after the previous night out with margaritas and salsa at El Mocajete in Geneva. Great little restaurant. 14 people from our Friday Night Dinner group. We took over the place to some degree. Chatting and dining and welcoming the New Year with fresh conversation. But not too much fun. We were getting up to run the next morning…
After our bathroom break we headed back the way we came and the weather was changing. The raindrops got fatter and the footing got looser. Sue got hit square on the nose and we both laughed about it. She loves and abhors such shocks. Makes life interesting.
I learned the night before that she does not really like me to brush back the hair from her face when she’s talking to someone. I did it as a gesture of affection but in conversation she is focused upon the words being exchanged. No distractions. Same with our running. We share thoughts but don’t drown the runs and rides we share in words. We share the experience instead.
That makes each of our outings a run one for the ages. We give it time so that time gives something back to us. We amuse ourselves watching the high school kids and other running groups share the trail with us. We marvel at how these endurance sports have grown into something men and women share together. It’s all good.
It is true with our rides as well. There were several summer evenings when the end of our rides coincided with pastel sunsets and a cooling breeze off the fields west of town. “It’s pretty,” she’d say softly as we shared the lane with little traffic to impede us. Amazing the conversations you can have at 20 mph.
It’s not always the conditions or speed that matters when you run or ride. It’s the condition of your mind and the conditioning that comes from running and riding through adversity. It’s the gift of experience and a run or a ride for the ages. No matter what age or gender you are. It’s share and share alike.