jan 16/RUN

4.5 miles
river road trail and edmund, north/seabury and river road path, south
35 degrees / steady rain
path conditions: a cold lake

Decided that I would go out for a run even though it was raining. It didn’t seem too slippery, so why not? I don’t regret the run, it was mostly fun and felt good, but the trail was almost completely lake, with a side strip of sheer ice. My shoes and socks were soaked after a mile. At first I didn’t care, but I started worrying (because as I get older, I do that more — sigh) that my toes/feet might go numb or worse. Nothing to do but just keep sludging through it. After I was done, my left ring toe seemed a little numb, but otherwise I was okay.

What a mess out there! The build-up of snow means there’s nowhere for the water to go. Lots of flooding in the streets and on the trail. Will this freeze overnight? I hope not.

In addition to soaking my socks and shoes, the water splashed up on my running tights. A gross grit. Because it was raining, my jacket was wet too.

It might sound like I didn’t like this run. Mostly, I did. My legs felt strong, so did my back. My arm swing was even and synced up with my feet. The rain helped me to not overheat. There was hardly anyone else out there. One other runner, 2 bikes — I noticed that at least one of them was a fat tire. Were there any walkers? I can’t remember.

I noticed the river! Almost completely open. Black, with one or two ice floes.

Anything else? Lots of cars. It was gloomy enough that most of them had their headlights on. Heard some splashing as they drove by, but never felt it.

I don’t remember hearing any birds or seeing any dogs. No skiers or sirens. No big groups of people.

As I’m writing this, I suddenly remembered that as I ran north on Edmund, down a hill, I could tell where the cracks and uneven parts of the pavement were by where the puddles were. Looking at this same road when it’s dry, I don’t think I would have been able to see. The puddles were very good pointer-outers. Look! Watch out! Here’s a bump, there’s a crack!

Wanted to find a puddle poem to add here. It took a while but I found “The Puddle” by Wisława Szymborska. As a kid, I never feared being swallowed up by a puddle. I imagine if I had any fears about puddles, it would have been that Jaws or a pirhana would have leaped out of the puddle to eat me. Okay, I don’t think I was actually afraid of that, but I could have been. Having watched Jaws and Piranha too much as a kid they were always appearing in my anxieties in the strangest ways.

The Puddle/ Wisława Szymborska 

Translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak

I remember well this childhood fear of mine. 
I’d step around puddles,
especially the fresh ones, just after it rained. 
For one of them might be bottomless,
even if it looked like all the rest.

One step and it would swallow me whole,
I would start ascending downward 
and even deeper down,
toward the reflected clouds 
and maybe even farther.

Then the puddle would dry, 
closing over me,
trapping me forever—but where—
and with a scream that cannot reach the surface.

Only later did I come to understand: 
not all misadventures
fit within the rules of nature 
and even if they wanted to, 
they could not happen.