Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The hardest half-mile

After probably a month of talking about it, we were finally doing it: Three friends and I had met at Raccoon River Park last Sunday to do an easy 5Kish loop.

The sun had been shining earlier; temperatures had been well above freezing; the route was flat as a pancake. It was a perfect time and place to inaugurate our running club.

Except that we missed the window of faux-spring weather. And the wind was gusting at least 20 mph at times. And as we deliberately set out into the wind — to get it over with, pre-sweat and pre-fatigue — our skin began to prickle: rain, or snow or sleet.

We hadn't reached a half-mile yet, and we were tiptoeing around puddles that had somehow survived the day's onslaught of drying wind, while barely surviving it ourselves.

There was no conversation, only grimaces. Maybe the friend who'd refused to join us had been the smart one.

I waited for someone to say it: "Forget it. Let's go home."

As we rounded the corner that eased the wind's ferocity, we began to speak again, but not of quitting. Our feet splashed and squished through the gravel that hadn't drained, but no one complained seriously. (OK, maybe I did.)

We'd lived through that first, horrible half-mile. We paired off by pace. We dealt with runny noses in our individual fashions (sleeves, snot rockets, Kleenex tucked into sports bras).

And back in the parking lot, we joked about doing it again "in nice weather" next Sunday.

I think we made it official: We're a running club.

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