Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Christmas Run ... and a Gift from God

After a week of icky weather, we had a glorious break and a sunny day on Christmas Eve.  One would only assume that Christmas Day would follow suit.  Well it looked somewhat promising at first, as the sun came out early.  But it deteriorated quickly and became cold, windy and dark.  I think it is the worst weather I can remember experiencing on a Christmas Day in a long, long time.

We had, however, predetermined that we would run in the afternoon.  Before I changed into my running clothes, I stepped out onto the porch, looked at the threatening sky, felt the cold wind hit me, smelled moisture in the air, turned to John and asked, "and why exactly are we running today?"

It had been predetermined and was therefore set in stone.  We were running and knew we eventually would not regret it.  I put on running tights, gloves, and my warmest running turtle neck.  I looked down at my Nike Free running shoes and began to lament over the hole that had developed in the upper.  That hole made my foot bleed the day before during our track workout. 

I looked up at the shelf in my closet and saw the Newton box.  Newtons are .... expensive.  And I owned this pair only because I won them in a race.  I take special care of my Newtons and use them only for races.  Even so, I've had them for 1 1/2 years and they were very worn.  I worried over my Newtons because I knew they were at the end of their life cycle.  I couldn't afford to wear them on a casual Christmas Day run ... that is, unless I had a replacement pair waiting for my under the Christmas tree.

If you could see me now, you would see my arms thrown up in victory.  I DID have a new pair waiting for me ... in the form of a gift certificate for Newtons.  YES!!  Not only did this mean my racing career could continue (I thought it was going to die with the Newtons), but it also meant I could wear the old girls on my Christmas run, and fore go the holey Nikes.

We ran along a bluff, up on the cliff above the ocean.  Our first obstacles were the incessant mud puddles that infiltrated the sandy trail.  Cold water sloshed in and I began laughing.  This is so fun.  And it was going to get even more fun.

Next, we made our way to the trail that ran literally 1 foot away from the edge of the cliff.  It was amazing as I looked down hundreds of feet of jagged rock to see the rough ocean churning from the imminent storm.  There was a strong updraft that hit us and we were blown around on the cliff's edge.  There was this glorious thrill of danger and I was laughing all along the way.

We finally came to some solid, safer ground as we came back to a road that lead us to the bike path.  Then it began to rain.  Wet feet, mud slung all over our backsides, and now rain ... hitting our heads, and splashing up from the road to soak our legs.  "This is excellent!!"

And that's when I spotted it.  The "Gift from God" up ahead, faintly through the wet air.  It was rectangular and in a hue of blue.  I thought to myself, it can't be.  Is that what I think it is?  Such perfect timing?  As we trotted closer my hope was confirmed.  It was an uncaged, fully available, legal to use (maybe) ... port-a-potty :)  It sang out to me in Christmas "Hallelujahs" and a light shown from from heaven all around it.  It was as if time stopped and the weather ceased.  To have four plastic walls instead of the cloak of a bush.  To have toilet paper instead of a leaf.  Well, that's as graphic as I'm going to get, but you get the point.

It was a happy Christmas run full of little gifts.  The gift of old Newtons.  The gift of wet socks and brown puddles.  The gift of a windy precarious cliff.  The gift of rain.  And the miracle of the port-a-potty.  It just doesn't get any better than this.

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