Thursday, December 27, 2012

Celebrating the little things at Christmas

Christmas, once I made it out of central Iowa, was a low-key affair — much-needed after the stress of a blizzard right before the holidays in a town full of transplants.

The closer I got to home, the more my spirits rose, and not just because my drive was about to conclude with three happy family members and three beloved pets. It was also the sight of my country roads ... my snow-free, ice-free country roads.

I may have been slightly loopy from getting up at 6:15 a.m. and not having stopped in almost 2.5 hours, but a big silly grin crossed my face: "I can't wait to go running!" I told the empty car.

Of course, the urge to run was the strongest when I was least able to act upon it, and it weakened as I spent more time near a woodburning stove in my PJs. What, besides my still-living holiday running streak, got me out the door?

Premonitions of the big meals that lay ahead. And a rare chance for a naked run.

In Des Moines, I bring keys and a cellphone every time I run. There's no one who can open the door for me, or who can go looking for me should I fail to return, back at my apartment. (The cat definitely cares; he just lacks opposable thumbs and necessary skills to do these things.)

I don't resent it, because it's better than the alternative — being stranded, or spending the entire run worrying. But I sure don't mind only stuffing a Kleenex, or the gloves that I no longer need, in my pocket, and having my hands free.

In fact, it wasn't just laziness that kept me from venturing out farther and on more daunting hills than the ones in my neighborhood. It was the sense of obligation to bring my phone if I left a small neighborhood with a sometimes-obeyed 25 mph speed limit.

OK, it was laziness. But of my arms, not my legs.

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