alright. so yes at a brief glance it would appear that it was going to be a rainy day today. however, fridays have become my day to get in a 12 mile run and i really hate to loose that. welcome, my friend, to the magic of weather.com's radar satellite. on this nifty little site you have you can play forecaster with all your local weatherman's tools. the best part is you can watch several hours into the future, following the blobs of clouds against your map. which means genius me was able to map out today that leaving work at 4:50 should give me a window of 2 hours at least before those pesky green and yellow blobs brought rain down on me. perfect!
ah. bargaining with... Zeus? well, it started out well. bright and sunny, if a bit muggy. thinking of my precious time gap, i thought it best to pick up my pace a bit. so i threw on next to normal--yes, i know i have sworn off listening to this crazy music, but for running it is surprisingly inspiring--and rocked out.
that's right. i admit to singing loudly between my puffing. i'll have you know it is a talent. besides, everyone wears earphones these days or is talking on their cells. and i'm not the weirdest person out on the path.
it wasn't until about mile 5 that things began to look ominous. across the river into jersey it was peculiarly dark. and the wind had picked up to an eye-squinting blow that made running like fighting against one of those workout jet mini pools . however, i had faith in my studious reading of the maps and was sure the storm would stay over there for at least an hour. ha. ha.
truthfully, i don't mind running in the rain. yeah you end up a bedraggled, wet rat, with your clothes sticking to you, but it is kinda nice, as long as your ipod is safely covered with a handy ziplock bag, especially compared to blistering heat. plus, running in the rain always makes me think of running up kilimanjaro with john. rain over new york smells surprisingly similar in that first burst to rain in tanzania.
it was when the rain suddenly turned horizontal that things became bad. just how does rain fall horizontally anyhow? huge pellets piercing my left side, biting into my eyes and ears till i was running with a hand at my face just so i could see the step in front of me.
then came the lightening. what does one do when one is far away from shelter in a lightening storm? and i'm not talking just flashes. i'm talking about clear distinct bolts. bright blue, splitting the sky all around me. each time one rent the air, burning on my retina, i jumped and yelped like a schoolgirl. and the real ridiculous part, i'd leap backwards, as if dodging a foot behind would save me if one of those electric spikes came down in front of me.
in spite of the storm raging, i kept my headphones in and turned up the volume. now this may sound foolish, however, did you not read of the girl who survived 300,000 volts because the charge went through her ipod wire, saving her vital organs?? just last week?? well i did. and those bolts were freaking big. and right above me. and though cars crept by me on the freeway, i remember from my youth that lightning is supposed to bounce off car tires or something.
it did occur to me that it would be the height of irony to be struck by lightning while rocking out to next to normal--Alice Ripley is belting out her electroshock therapy and i fall down crisp. it would be a fitting end to my last two weeks.
despite all my self indulgent musings on the effectiveness of electroshock therapy to cure one's foul mood, the thought of looking straight into one of those bolts was putting a bit of the fear of god in me. i played an electrocuted patient once for a doctor exam. they bruised me up all over then bloodied up my ears, where my eardrums i guess had burst, blackened up my hands, where the bolt supposedly entered, and bloodied up my feet where the burst was supposed to have exited. cool in makeup. not cool in actual burning flesh.
i admitted momentary stalemate by mile 7 and huddled under a tree for a good ten minutes, still leaping at the increasing light display. was i actually saving myself at all under this sad little bush of a tree on the shore of the exploding hudson river? i have no idea.
though the rain didn't let up much, the lightning seemed to move a bit further into the city and i took off again.
why is it that playing in rainstorms or defying your parents by leaping through ocean waves in the middle of a storm is only exhilarating, with barely even a hint that you might actually suffer? by the end of my 12 miles, i was running by children playing in the water while their parents huddled under plastic sheets. true, the rain was much kinder, but the occasional bolt, like an afterthought, still had me leaping backwards--a funny syncopated jog.
does the worry come from being older and wiser? i don't know. i don't have any storm wisdom. or is it the responsibility itself that creates the fear? as a child, the stormy ocean was thrilling--because, even if i wanted to ignore them, subconsciously it was ultimately my parents' fault if i got struck down? out there by yourself, well you've got no one to blame but you. you have to find the escape route, come up with the death-defying plan.
"sheild eyes with hand and out run storm" isn't much of a plan.