Against the wind

28 Apr

Preparations for my weekday runs usually involve a great deal of stealth.  I wake up at five in the morning, and then sneak around in my own house, getting dressed as silently as possible.  There’s a lot of tiptoeing and feeling my way around in order to avoid alerting the short people to the fact that I’m actually awake.  It’s dark and I look like a burglar.  Once I’m dressed, I make my way to the front door in my socks, grab my shoes, and leave.  I close and lock the door behind me as quietly as possible, and then put my ear up against the door to listen to the blissful sound of silence coming from within.  Now that I have successfully made my escape, I put on my shoes, plug in my music, fiddle with buttons on my training watch, and set off.

If the kids wake up at any point during this process, I can say goodbye to my run. They tend to be somewhat Mommy-centric in the mornings (if they wake up and I’m already gone, Daddy is an acceptable substitute; but if they wake up while I’m there, they want me and only me). On those days, I tend to their needs and then get ready for work, staring wistfully at my pile of discarded running clothes.  In general, though, I have become very good at the art of stealth.  I could probably give James Bond a run for his money, except that I can’t fire a gun, I don’t have any fancy gadgets in my car, and I like my martinis stirred, not shaken.

Anyway, yesterday I was able to go for a run at a normal time of the day, without the stealth factor.  I was working from home, which meant that I had an extra two hours – time that is usually spent commuting.  So I got up at a time of day considered by most people to be reasonably civilized, offloaded James at his daycare, and returned home to work.  I planned my day’s activities around an early afternoon run, which would have me back by the time George got home from the therapy centre.

Halfway through the morning, though, I was not so sure about this plan.  I had been steadily working through the morning, and had gradually become aware that the house was feeling a bit stuffy, like a vacuum cleaner’s armpit (to borrow a phrase from comedic author Douglas Adams).  I poured a cup of coffee and went out onto the back deck, where I almost got blown away by a gust of wind.  If I’d had an umbrella I would have been like Mary Poppins.

I don’t mind a bit of a breeze, but I hate wind.  I can handle just about any other weather condition, but wind makes me intensely irritable.  It blows my hair everywhere, makes my ears hurt, and generally sets me on edge.  I will not forego a training run because of rain or snow, but I must confess that I have rescheduled runs because I just didn’t want to run in the wind.  So when I went outside yesterday and stood there in the wind, I seriously questioned whether I really wanted to go running in that.

I quickly got a hold of myself, though.  I have a 10km race coming up this weekend – one that I’ve been looking forward to for weeks – and this is really not the week for me to be flaking out because of a little bit of wind.  I need to be well-conditioned this week; my limbs need to be loose and agile.  And besides, what I am going to do if it’s windy on race day?  Whine about how I don’t want my hair to get messed up?

So yesterday afternoon, I surfaced from my work and got ready to go running as planned.  I braced myself, opened the front door – and stepped out into a stunningly gorgeous afternoon.  The sun was shining and a light breeze was blowing – nothing like the gusty wind that had set my teeth on edge just four hours previously.  As I set off down the road, I could not believe that I had almost foregone this run.

It turned out to be fantastic.  The sun was gently touching my shoulders and the breeze was keeping me cool.  In the beginning I was taking it slow and easy; for the last two kilometres I was flying.  I was on a high for the rest of the day; the physical activity boosted my energy, and as always after a run, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

If I felt that great after a 5.5km training run, imagine how I will feel standing at the finish line of my run for autism.

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