i ran the 4.1 mile route this morning. my hips were a bit sore from two days ago, but i think i'll manage. i borrowed my roommate's tape/radio/headphone set thing to keep me company while i was out this morning. it was a bad idea - too distracting. i decided to run in the morning because it's too late to go after my jobs at night. it's not as dark at 6 in the morning as it is at 11 pm, so i thought it would be safer and possibly more enjoyable.
i was right. the sun was coming up as i ran my personal mini-marathon this morning. i didn't leave the house until 6:30, but i still had a lot of company - housewives mostly, getting out and gossiping with each other as they strive to regain their pre-weight and body shape from decades ago. with the headphones crammed into the insides of my ears by a warmer i wear about my head, i couldn't be social. as we passed each other i merely looked - stared, really. if eye contact was made, i tried to smile through concentrated breathing and "o" shaped lips, pushing my breath from my lungs with every intake. i doubt that look of mine appears warm or inviting. my efforts were usually acknowledged, however, and i was more often than not graced with a welcome smile. it was golden.
there's something calming about keeping pace with your body while you run. my hair, pulled back into a braid or a ponytail, gently bobs left-right-left-right as my feet direct my breathing: two steps in through the nose, two steps out through the mouth...i keep this pace the entire route. ten minutes per mile. in my right pocket, i carry a handkerchief, a wad of tissue, a dishcloth - anything to wipe away the mucus dribbling out of my nostrils. i wear knit gloves, the ear warmer, an orange jacket, and light blue jogging pants. i usually warm up enough to rid my hands of the black mittens and occasionally the jacket while i run.
today wasn't right, though. the music - it's beat, it's fluctuating rhythm - threw me off. i ran too slowly or not quickly enough. i sang inside my head instead of searching inside my soul. my mind drifted; there was no concentration. my steps were out of sync with my lungs. i couldn't focus; couldn't breathe. my side began to ache and my hand cramped from holding the radio. today, running was not pleasurable.