The Wind at My Back

Last week’s balmy temperatures gave way this weekend to biting cold and wind. With much of the snow melted from the streets I braved the gusts and ran outside two days ago. The first mile or so, on the grid of streets through the neighborhood, was cool but not uncomfortable. The sun and my activity warmed me, and I smiled as the water crept into my vision. I felt the wind picking up. I knew what I was getting into. I ran along the water’s edge anyway.

It wasn’t until I turned onto the causeway that I felt great gusts. The wind whipping along that path can be brutal – on one morning jaunt I took my glasses off in fear they’d blow away. I remember one stormy spring run when the wind blew so hard in my mouth I nearly hyperventilated, and I was convinced an approaching dog walker, trailing sundry canines, was a hallucination.

I was still moving pretty well when I got to the Sugar Bowl, pushing myself through the forceful breeze. The last turn of the loop the wind slapped me in the face. I knew I was in trouble.

My hair was fixed in weighty, chunky braids, and the wind was still strong enough to blow them back. My legs kept chugging. I pulled my hat lower on my forehead. I could barely breathe. I turned around and ran backwards a few paces to catch my breath. Self-preservation battled form and won: I hunched over into the gales so my eyes wouldn’t fill with dirt. My shoulders screamed with tension.

At the gazebo I made a gentle left turn onto the bay-front boulevard, and straightened up as the wind smacked me in the rear. I relaxed my shoulders and raised my chin, allowing the wind at my back to help me make up for lost time.

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