It's 6:30 am, my alarm goes off. I need to wake up but my body and my mind are having a tumultuous argument over why I should be up at such an ungodly hour on Christmas day. I decide I need a few minutes of sleep. The body wins round one. I snooze, then wake up as if someone just poured icy cold water on me. I tap my phone and the light emanating from the screen glares at me. 7:12 am. I am wide awake! Flo, my sister, is still asleep. Our 10 mile run is scheduled at 8:00 am!! It's 7:12 am!! I yell her name and she grudgingly wakes up. I start frantically looking for my workout clothes.
My body is not up for this. I look at the warm sheets which seem to be looking at me invitingly like that dude on the subway the other day. The one wearing an olive Canadian goose parka with a faux fur on the hood. He had on a pair of blue denim jeans and a sweatshirt with the New York Giants logo emblazoned on it. He wore brown boots which showed no signs of wear and tear. Boots that were well worn and comfortable. His skin looked like melted tar and eyes that were so piercing they held me. Now I don't usually look at people on the subway, actually you are not supposed to. It's rude! Look up at the advertisements on Viagra and boob implants or look down at people's shoes. Shoes that can probably tell your where they've been, or the lives they have lead. Stare down at the subway floor dammit, act fascinated with it's nooks and crannies while Adele croons in your ears but just don't stare at people!! Personally, I am not one for eye contacts on the train, my eyes tend to look up at the adverts as if they hold a key to a puzzle I want to decipher, or my nose is usually buried in a book but on this particular day, I had no book and my eyes were focused elsewhere. On him. We looked at each other for a strange long moment, like two animals meeting at twilight, then, if a gaze can turn warm, his did. Warm and inviting like baked brownies. His lips quirked into a smile, he'd seen me giving him the once over. I thought I would win the eye contact battle but there's no need to fight a losing battle. He kept looking at me, with his warm inviting eyes as if I was a shot of single malt. And as fate would have it, the train pulled up at my stop. I gave him a brief glance, and noticed he was smiling now. A smile that reached his eyes. I stepped out of the train and as I walked away, I bite my lip trying very hard to not to smile. It was as if we were in on a secret.
I resolved to walk away from the warm inviting sheets as well and get ready for my 10 mile run. The morning was foggy, the air cool and damp. Flo and I did not say much on the way to our running trail. I sat quietly lost in my thoughts on the passenger side as trees and buildings zoomed by. Then Flo's voice broke into our comfortable silence. "How times have changed! Back then we would be passed out from a serious turn up session, exhausted from all our dancing and merry-making exertions. Here we are heading out for a ten mile run on a Christmas day!!" I smiled and concurred with her. Times had indeed changed. We resumed back into our comfortable silence. And as the rest of the world woke up to unwrap its gifts, we watched as a new day, a gift in essence, unwrap itself.
I thought of the guy while running between the fifth and the sixth mile on the Baltimore - Washington trail. He came to my mind quite randomly. There I was running one step at at time, glancing at my watch to peek at my heart rate, and the guy strolls in my thoughts, takes a seat and gets comfortable. I started wondering about fate and how we meet people. May be one day, at a random house party, I will meet him again. They will be serving those dehydrated veggie platters from the grocery store with ranch dressing in the middle, a fruit salad, cheese and crackers, yellow tail moscato, Malbec boxed wine in red cups and someone will have brought some brownies. Hard, cold brownies that no one will gravitate to. Then in in the middle of a conversation with someone who I just met, I will look up and see some warm eyes staring back at me. Perhaps, I will be invited to a friend's wedding. One of the groomsmen on the altar will be Mr. Warm eyes or even worse the GROOM and at the back of his mind - hopefully - a memory of an afternoon in the subway where he saw a girl with big brown eyes will replay itself. Like a scene from a movie. Fate! Ha!! Blame this on those Mills and Boon novels I read in high school.
The thing about running is this, most of the time, you are usually left with your thoughts for miles on end. You build castles in the air and other times, that's where really good ideas come from. Ideas that enable me to tackle something that had me on a creative block. It's how I solve a certain problems. With every mile, I clear my head. Often, I get a deeper appreciation of this beautiful world we live in. The meandering trails, the dark wet leaves on the floor and the almost naked trees, the gentle slopes covered in fading green before winter stomps in, the sounds of nature harmoniously working together, as if an orchestra. I become grateful for my health, legs that push me forward, eyes that get to appreciate the beauty that is earth, a sane mind, and a body that can be pushed beyond it's limits and still persevere. Now and then, while running between mile five and six, D'banj yelling in my ears on my being a sweet potato and how I will make him fall in love, the random guy in an Olive Parka with the piercing eyes will walk into my head, pull a chair and stay in my thoughts, and that too is OK.
I am on week 10 of my half marathon training. I got to go home ( Maryland) for the Christmas festivities. I hadn't seen my family in over three months so I was beyond thrilled. The camaraderie among my siblings is out of this world. Half the time I am usually clutching my ribs and wiping the tears from my eyes from laughing really hard. The other time my vocal cords are straining from the extreme yelling and banter. I went out running with my friends Steph, Muchai, Sylvia, and my sister Flo. This was the first time since I started training for my half marathon that I have had people running with me. I had forgotten how awesome it was to have someone else root for you or support you on your next mile no matter how badly your legs seem to be resisting the effort. We finished the ten mile run and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at a diner three miles from the running trail. They had a special fruit parfait which came in a bowl and had as all entranced. It looked mouth - watering and tasted like a slice of heaven. Other orders were placed. No one wanted to miss a bowlful of this particular heaven. My sister sang about it for the rest of the day, recipe ideas were being traded on how to layer up yogurt and granola with bananas and berries, even that particular bowl, with it's intricate design, had a role to play in this discussion.
How can a fruit bowl have all that power?
For my main breakfast dish, I went for pancakes. I love, love pancakes. After ten miles, a stack of chocolate chip pancakes is well deserved with a nice mug of hot chocolate. I inhaled what was on my plate, all that remained was dribbles of syrup. I resume my training next week. Week nine is a cross over between the old and the New Year. I have a long run scheduled for the 31st and I think I will run it on Central Park. I have always wanted to run out there.
That's it for my little running update. Best believe if I see the guy again I will let you know. Fate likes playing quirky tricks on us, doesn't it?
So what are you guys up to?