Thursday, August 24, 2006

After the Storm

For those of you who are REALLY paying attention, this Blog topic will probably end up in Runner's World. After 10 years of writing columns I've got a pretty good feel for when an experience is a "column". This morning was.

Living in Chicago - and living a block or so off the lake - I get to see some interesting weather. We have the "cooler by the lake" phenomenon in the summer and "warmer by the lake" in winter. In the summers we also have the nearly daily possibility of afternoon thunderstorm's. We don't have them every day, but you're never surprised when you get hit by a stray cloud burst.

Today, though, the storm came in the morning. It was one of those "WAKE UP" thunderstorms where all you want to do is stay under the covers and listen to the rain falling outside. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what I did.

I needed to get in my training, so the instant the storm seemed to have passed I was out the door. The skies were still threatening, but the rain had stopped.

On my 5 mile loop I go past the North Avenue Beach. This time of year it is usually packed with families enjoying a day on the lake, or young people working on the perfect tan, or old people enjoying being out in the sun. And I run past the beach volleyball area which is nearly always a helter-skelter of activity.

This morning though, it was as if I was one of the last people left in the city. As if some strange disease had come through and just wiped out the population. I had the path to myself. The beach was empty. The volleyball post stood in the sand almost like grave markers.

I ran without all the gimmicks. No iPod. No Speed Distance Monitor. No GPS. Just an old pair of shoes that I could afford to get wet.

It was one of the most deeply spiritual runs I have had in a long, long time. These are the mornings I run for. And you never know when one is going to happen.


ORN: 5 miles, 5/1, 57 minutes.

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