Lately I have been sort of a pansy and if there is even a slight wind I will find an excuse not to go outside. I've also been working late so it's dark when I get home and the result is that I've been on the treadmill alot. Frankly, too much indoor running makes a girl forget why she likes it in the first place.
Enter theWasatch Back Relay. It's just a little 178 miles relay from Logan to Park City that my siblings did last year and managed to rope me into in June. There are 12 of us on the team and everyone runs three legs of three to seven miles of Utah mountains. You would think that such a thing would have had me pounding the pavement since February-you know, the month the training program on the website starts. But no, I've been catching up on television and nursing my ninth cold since November. But Wednesday my sister sent out a reminder that um, we are registered and paid and there is no getting out of this now. She also sent the training schedule. The 35 minutes for that day is practically a warm-up compared to some of my marathon training days so I figured it was time to get serious.
Well it was also cold outside. I mean kind of chilly. OK, I needed a long sleeved shirt instead of a tank top. But for California, it was cold. Weather I am no longer used to dealing with. But as I was lacing up my new shoes and strapping on my ipod, I got that same feeling I used to get in Boston. That sort of cocky, "I could make a hundred excuses right now but I am an athlete and I choose the road instead of the couch." iPod was particularly attuned to me that night and started me off with a shot right to the heart mash up of "Seven Nation Army" and "Hypnotize" that you can find here. It was cool and cloudy and the sun was on it's way down but I felt as good as I have in months.
The great thing about my house is that in about five minutes you are at the beach. It doesn't matter that I have run there at least 150 times in the last year, I get a thrill every single time I cross PCH. I decided that if I'm going to survive this race, I need to pick things up a little so I opted for running on sand instead of the sidewalk. I had decided to run the pier too for a little variety and as I got out to the middle, the wind REALLY picked up, the Footloose soundtrack kicked in and the waves started crashing in a way that both delights and frightens me. I love water and I am a good swimmer but in all of my dealings with the ocean I know that it always wins. It is awesome in the true sense of that word and it knocks the wind out of me sometimes that I get to see it every single day if I want to.
By the time I finished the pier it was dark. And I'll throw in a disclaimer here that on a dark, windy, cold night it is probably a bad bad idea for a single female with an iPod to run near the water. And I usually don't, but occasionally just the hint of something kind of dangerous elevates the moment in a way staying on the sidewalk can't. So I'm down near the water and the sand is wet and hard and the wind is making me fight a little bit and iPod decides to give me U2's "Electrical Storm". Tell me this doesn't sort of give you the chills:
The sea it swells like a sore head and the night it is aching
Two lovers lie with no sheets on their bed
And the day it is breaking
On rainy days we'd go swimming out
On rainy days swimming in the sound
On rainy days we'd go swimming out
Yeah. It's dark and the ocean is roaring and four tiny little white birds suddenly fly in right in front of me. They are just skimming the surface of the sand and they seem to be teasing me. I'm running as fast as I can to keep up with them
You're in my mind all of the time
I know that's not enough
If the sky can crack there must be someway back
For love and only love
Baby don't cry
And it's cold and it's dark and my lungs are starting to burn and all I'm thinking is that THIS is why I put up with three roommates and too much traffic and high gas prices and too much traveling and a dating pool stuck in neverland. This feeling is why I live here.
It's hot as hell, honey in this room
Sure hope the weather will break soon
The air is heavy, heavy as a truck
We need the rain to wash away our bad luck
And I have an inkling that when it's 2:00 am and we've been running for 24 hours and our legs are sore and we've had our fill of Power Bars and sleeping on a car seat but I get out to run in my mountains under a blanket of twinkly stars that I will feel that same way.
Those moments don't came as easily on a perfect day.