Sometimes you just have one of those afternoons where everything is absolutely perfect.
Finally after days of heat and humidity, then humidity and rain, then just plain humidity, the weather breaks. Today is sunny, in the low seventies, and picture perfect. After work, my daughter and I both decide we're going to continue training to run 5k. We don't know if we will ever actually run 5k, but the object is to know that we can run 5k at some point.
Admittedly, we are both out of our fittest forms. She had been a gymnast most of her life until about seven years ago. I went from playing soccer and basketball to developing some very sloppy, unhealthy habits in my teens. I wised up and realized life is damn short, so I jumped first on the cardio-kickboxing fad then graduated to judo for about six years. I was in pretty good shape until I had to have my right foot rebuilt from a very old soccer injury (and probably from years of playing marbles the old-school way of smacking one foot into the other).
About a year ago, I decided to start putting my new foot back into training. It's almost ironic that after finally being able to wear normal shoes again (heels and sandals and boots, oh my!), that I opt to lace up the sneakers for fun instead of necessity. With a little ingenuity, some awkward attempts, and advice from pals, I finally make it up to consistently running a mile on the treadmill. I am content, until…
…Until my daughter suggest we train to run, possibly a 5k course, but just run. Not being chased by bad guys, cops, or lunatics, mind you. Run for fun. (I cringe just typing that.) We started about two weeks ago, the running part, anyway; we have been walking three-plus miles at a clip, so we're not complete slouches.
Today, though, on this flawless spring afternoon, we lace up our running sneakers, bring along some water, set the course, get the phone app going (because someone has to keep us in line), and head out. We're upping the ante today, moving on to equal running and walking, and I have to admit that running out on the street is nothing, nothing, like running on a treadmill. First of all, it's harder to pace myself (I'm a sprinter, not a miler), second I don't know when the run-time will end, and, lastly, it's not a temperature-controlled environment. But, running outside is infinitely more interesting. I'm actually going somewhere, getting fresh air, and enjoying the scenery.
After we finish our run, successful and jubilant, we decide we're starving. We head to the store and buy every kind of fruit and vegetable we can fit into the cart, then we pick out a couple of haddock filets. I am not ashamed to admit that my daughter cooks the best baked haddock I have ever eaten, hands down, bar none. I am also not ashamed to admit that we are sweaty and disgusting and still in our running clothes when we go shopping; it's okay because there's a new fitness center attached to the store in the strip mall, so lots of people look as bad and even worse than we do.
I live through the training, I am outside on a beautiful day, and I get to eat a fantastic dinner with my daughter (plus son #2). I didn't get my school work done, and I still have tons of things to do around the house, but that can wait. Taking the time to live this afternoon to its fullest, though -- there will be no chance for a re-do a moment exactly like this. Will there be more? As long as the creek don't rise and there ain't no meltdown. But for now, giving up hours of busy work for hours of family time (and "me" time, to be truthful) makes every second of it worthwhile.
Sometimes you have one of those afternoons. If you don't take it and run with it, you're missing a golden moment.