Because of leaking water heater and slightly-soggy basement, put on favorite purple running tank, shorts, sunscreen, (new!) running shoes, watch, headband, and MP3 player 2 1/2 hours later than you intended.
Walk to the stop sign. Stretch quads, hamstrings, ITB, calves, and shins. Reset watch, get audio book to the spot you left off last time, press START on watch, and then start running.
Fifty yards into run, wonder at the twinge in your left knee. Ask yourself, as you always do at the start of a run, why your heart is beating so hard and if your lungs will ever stop hurting. Resist the urge to look at your watch because of course, you've only been running for, what, a minute or so by now. Shake your arms a little, concentrate on pushing back at the end of your stride to keep your ITB happy. Appreciate the intermittent puddles of shade.
Four minutes into your run, realize you've gotten past that initial painful push. Settle into run. Notice that while it's hot, it's a beautiful day, the shade deep and cool. Send gratitude out into the universe for whatever wise people planted trees along the entire length of this street.
Run past the junior high and think about Jake's track season. Write, in your head, the journaling for a scrapbook layout about what it means to "win" in running/track & field events. Get lucky and hit the 800 North intersection just as the light turns green. Sprint across.
Continue writing in your head, about running and scrapbooking and adoption and the force of anger and whatever other topic comes into your head, while listening to audio book (The Postmistress). Stop to walk for a second, at almost two miles, because said audio book has come to the end of the chapter but MP3 player hasn't, for some unknown reason, gone to the next chapter. Fiddle with it for a second, then just scroll up to music. Smile when the random first song is "Desire" by Gene Loves Jezebel. Run through a hazy fug of memory until you reach State Street just as the light turns red. Regret not waiting until intersection to fix audio issues. Jog in place and try not to feel silly.
Forty seconds later, cross State on green light. Mentally count up blocks you've run so far and on what side of the road, because running all blocks on the same side means a tormented ITB.
Run past road that would take you to a park with a drinking fountain. Regret not mapping your run in that direction as yes: it's hot and water would be nice. Remember that there's a drinking fountain by the cemetery and continue running with a little spring in your stride just thinking about that water.
Count blocks left and realize you're halfway done. Ignore the "Detour: road closed" signs because it doesn't say the sidewalk is closed, does it? And you really want to run down the other side of the hill you've just climbed up and besides, the cemetery (with its fountain) is just around the corner.
Turn the corner and start racing down the hill toward both the cemetery and the construction. Get closer and realize the construction is blocking the entire road and the access to the water. Sigh as deeply as you can when your lungs are huffing and puffing.
Cut through the old WordPerfect complex to get around the construction. Run past a dozen or so of your old selves, the ones that used to work there: 17 and dating that boy who was bad for you, 18 and terrified about what life had around the corner, 19 and dating the boy you'd marry, 20 and married. And all those other memories of friends you've lost touch with.
Leave the office buildings behind you and ponder, for the next mile, the life choices you've made that've brought you to the person you are right now.
Run past another cemetery and wish it, too, had a drinking fountain. Realize it's 12-something and hot and you're getting tired and thirsty but the only cure for that is finishing the last 2 1/2 miles you've got left.
Bless whatever poorly-thinking city employee decided to run the sprinklers at noon along this particular stretch of sidewalk. Apparently that person thought that the sidewalks needed to be watered, too. Ignore your usual mental diatribe about idiots wasting water in the middle of the desert and just appreciate the fact that you're running through sprinklers for four lovely, cool blocks.
Reach the 800 North/State Street intersection. Jog in place awkwardly near the other person on the corner, who is homeless and holding up a sign asking for help in finding work. Wait for 22 seconds for the light to turn green. Cross.
Now wait again for the other light to change, this time for 51 seconds. Cross street feeling confident, but keep your eye on that black BMW speeding up the road in the right turning lane. Run, but watch him carefully. Think his stopping actions means he's actually going to stop. Realize, nearly too late, that he is NOT going to stop. Hit the corner of his stupid BMW with your hand and glare at him while he skids, brakes locked, past you. Glare a little bit but manage not to flip him off; read the startled terror in his face that translates into "holy shiz I just almost hit that lady because I wasn't being careful enough." Then usher him past you and start running again, heart pounding a little bit harder.
Now, push yourself. You've got ten blocks left, just ten. Try to push it the whole way home. Ignore the blisters that insist on forming and the little voice insisting that the blisters are proof that it's time to get the bunions fixed because you know that even though you really should pay a visit to the podiatrist you're not going to until November when the running season ends. Have an imaginary conversation with your podiatrist. Try to not get annoyed at the groupings of mothers walking slowly with strollers (in wide groups that take up the entire width of the sidewalk and make you swerve out into the street) towards the elementary school, no doubt to pick up their kindergartners.
Remember how it felt to have a kindergartener you could pick up.
Listen to your breath.
Talk to your legs: come on, you can do this, I know you're tired but you're almost finished.
Turn the last corner: just two more blocks. Dodge another group of mothers.
Run. Run as hard and as fast as you can. Ignore the whining tiredness that asks you, over and over, to stop. Just run because it's only two blocks, then one. Keep going till you reach the corner, the rock which is always your stopping spot.
Stop running. Stop the timer on your watch and subtract the 1 minute 53 seconds you spent waiting for lights from your time. Try to figure out your pace but know your mental math skills aren't strong enough. Pant, breath hard, make those wheezy sounds at the back of your throat.
Look up into the blue, hot sky and send up gratitudes for strong legs and durable lungs and a reliable heart.
Then walk home and take a shower because seriously: you're sweaty.