I had a tremendous run after work tonight – seven miles, 64 minutes, and I felt really good afterward, but that’s not what made it great.
At 5:47, it was gorgeous, mostly cloudy and coolish, but no rain set for my neighborhood until at least 9 p.m., according to weather.com, so out the door I went, starting off at a little faster cruising pace, trying to push things a little, and my mind’s all over the place, and the first mile spools past pretty quickly and I turn north for the long outbound part of the loop.
There’s a suspiciously-denser-than-the-rest cloud sneaking in from the west, but it doesn’t look threatening, and besides, I’m not turning around. I’ve gotten so used to not running the same routes repeatedly that I’m bothered by the very idea of returning along the same path – let alone giving up early just to avoid the possibility of a little shower.
I’m still feeling pretty good the next few miles, and though at one point there’s a minute or two of faint spit-rain, it comes when the sun’s actually out, so I’m not thinking I’m in for anything worse.
When I head west on the road marking the swing that will start the return run, I get a double side-stitch, and I feel just a hint of misery. I slow up but lengthen the strides, trying not to hit that “just keep going, even if you’re barely past walking” wall. It passes, and I turn back south.
Just before the five-mile mark, the rain comes. I’ve run in a light, passing shower before, but this comes quick and hard and it’s real rain, even if it’s not the sideways blattering kind, and in a minute, I’m soaked and I can’t see much through my glasses, and yet the rain is cool and it’s like fuel and I’m running at a good clip now, faster than a minute before, and God help me, I am freaking SMILING like an idiot and I can’t help it.
Cars are passing, and I realize for the moment, I am that nut case, that freak, that looney who’s out for a jog in a rainstorm.
Rain runs into my eyes and it stings a little, which I think is weird until I realize it’s mixing with sweat from my forehead, so tug the sopping collar of my shirt up and wipe my face with it.
When I turn west for the last mile, it’s letting up, and my pace is catching up to me and there’s a big hill ahead, but I push up without crawling, and by the time I’m at the peak, the sun’s out. Ahead, there’s a downhill through a tunnel of trees, and I let momentum carry me to a near-sprint, and yes, I swear I’m not making this up, when I come rolling out from under the branches, there’s a freaking rainbow dead opposite me, like I’m West on the compass rose and it’s marking East, and I can see it end to end, and I think, “I want to be home before it fades,” so I pour it on and I’m grinning and breathing hard and I lean into the turn onto my street and keep looking right as the rainbow slips in and out of the trees and houses and then I’m wheeling up our driveway, yanking the front door of the house open and trying to read the clock by the television, but I can’t because my glasses are still covered in water drops.
“Time?!” I ask my wife in a gasp, “What time does it say?”