So, I was at work and stooped to tie my shoes and ripped my pants right up the middle. So, I drove to a store to buy pants. I slide into the parking lot and spy a trail rising up a hillside behind the store through some thorny brambles. And here I am wearing a pair of stunt pants. I get signal and jog off the lot. I was under the impression the trail would meander back to the service lane behind the strip mall. I hoped for a loose quarter mile, a pick-up three miles running through the plateaued shopping district. But first, a taste of adventure.

The going got very muddy, but before I even climbed the thirty foot muddy slope my feet were mired within the cold earth, my ankles immersed in puddled water. I slip, nearly fall on the muddy hill, climb for a bit, hit the top – it was high enough for me to see a mile any which way I looked – then I started running down its far side, I no longer knew where the trail was going, but I decide to start moving in a big circle. I would catch a road or something sooner or later. I started looking for a road or something that headed to my right.

It started raining, and it was very cold. The trail crossed a gravel path and I followed it. It continued going straight ahead. I sped up. I thought I knew where I was going. That feeling of certainty went away, though, replaced by an equal confidence that I was going the wrong way. That theory turned out to be correct. I went out about a half mile further than I’d hoped. I would be forced to run pretty hard to get back to my car. Bonus. This is how running uses me. I find an obstacle, and immediately I’m thinking about the benefits of extra conditioning.

The mud below, the rain above, the waters poured over me. I was thinking I was feeling extra drafty. I  hit the road, picked up a gear. I’m soaked, but I’m warming up, and my glasses steam up. I am forced to take them off. I can’t see well. I don’t do any curbstone running or anything else. At one point I realized I was watching the hood of a car move down the road, but i couldn’t make out the rest of the car. The grill and windshield offered no contrast to the landscape awash in driving rain.

I just hope no one I work with sees me racing down the road in a torn-up pair of muddy pants. That’s not exactly shopping.

The rain hasn’t let up since the night before, and the road shoulder is mucked up. I have to run in the ditch the last quarter mile, popping my glasses over my eyes for a moment or two every minute, checking the path ahead. I’m running in slow motion because of the heavy, wet cotton clothing. I had some technical underwear on, so no chafing, at least for a while. I stomp up through the ditch water to clean off my shoes, cross a road and hit the store parking lot. I’m totally winded.

I enter the store. I look like hell, avoid eye contact, thankful that the rain sloshing in the ditch washed my shoes off, at least. I squeak my way back to the men’s department, get pants. My hands are useless frozen claws. I’m laughing at them when I can barely remove a debit card from my wallet to pay the clerk. I change pants in the bathroom, throw the old ones in the trash, stretch out my hamstrings. I trot back to my car, stretch my quads – still sore from Sunday’s run – and try to dry off.

For recovery, I downed a double espresso, ten calories. 

My cough came back in the evening, and so  I decided to skip an evening run and rest up. On target for my goal mileage for Janathon.

I ran my pants off.

Janathon total miles: 127