The bank temperature on the Apple Bank's clock/temperature device read 35 degrees as I walked out of the subway station this evening. Cold wind caused brown leaves to swirl around my feet. Commuters pulled the collars of their coats tighter around their necks as they hustled down the sidewalk, but I lifted my face into the wind and decided that I would run outside tonight. My friend's boyfriend died this weekend. He was only thirty. He had had a health condition and was in chronic pain. When I went into the office of my consulting job today, her desk next to mine was empty. It radiated her loss all day. Usually her sparkling personality would light up an overcast day. Her absence - and its reason - made it darker.
When I left the office and felt the biting air on my face, I knew I would run outside. At home, I changed into a pair of sweatpants I've had since god knows when and a long sleeve shirt. I pulled on a fleece jacket and my mittens and a running headband thing with ear flaps. I left my headphones and iPod at home. I wanted to hear myself breathe as my shoes pounded on the pavement.
The run was hard at first. My lungs yelled at me and my nose ran. I had forgotten tissues, so I wiped it on my mittens, which irritated my nostrils. My shins protested, but I thought about how my friend's boyfriend had walked with a cane the last time I saw him, which was Labor Day weekend at a dinner at my apartment. I passed two people walking dogs and one person waiting for the bus. They stared at me when I ran by, slowly but surely.
On the way back, with a mile to my apartment, I nearly threw up. My chest was tight and the wind whipped up harder and harder, sending cold air through the fleece sleeves and chilling my sweat covered arms. I debated just letting the snot run down my face. I passed one of the dog walkers I encountered earlier, and we nodded at one another.
The run was downhill from that point on, and I let my legs fly. It finally felt good. I remembered why I wanted to run outside on a chilly winter night. I am lucky to be alive and able to run.