Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Running in the Dark

After the 10K on Sunday, I cleaned the house, braised three trays of chicken, baked a vegetarian casserole, and had seven friends for dinner. By 10 pm, I was so tired that I was fighting to keep my eyes open. And my legs were so sore that they begged for a massage.

Wedding Bells: I neglected to mention that the day before, on Saturday, E. and I went to a friend's wedding. 'Tis the season. My friends who escaped marriage in their 20's - or couldn't find anyone suitable to wed - are now hitching up in their 30's.

At the ceremony in a beautiful Catholic church in downtown Washington, D.C., the rather grumpy priest talked about how "Orientals" (my friend is Asian-American) are a good influence on Italian-Americans (her husband is Italian-American) as it makes the Italians work harder.

I raised an eyebrow. I didn't know whether to laugh or be offended (I opted for the former.) He managed to malign, however inadvertently, two American ethnicities in one sentence. Across the aisle, I saw the ears of one of the groom's family members redden.

At the mid-afternoon reception, we danced to 70's disco and songs such as "That's Amore," and I drank gin and tonics and bubbly. I sat next to two triathletes and one former marathoner, and we happily chatted about running as we sawed away at our prime rib. Then E. and I drove across town for a friend's birthday party. Where I ate brisket and potato salad.
Thank god I run.

Night Running: Tonight, even though it was pitch black outside by 5 pm and I didn't have any reflective gear on, I ran 6 miles. I needed it. I've been pretty stressed out at work. As a result, I've been a bit curt in the office, perhaps even being on the edge of truculence.

I avoided the Capital Crescent Trail (too spooky at night) and instead ran next to a busy six-lane road near the National Institutes of Health. Traffic was so heavy at times that I was outrunning the cars on the road. Some honked. Why do they do that?!

For the first time today, I felt some semblance of peace. My mind cleared. I concentrated on breathing evenly, keeping good form, and feeling the smooth sidewalk fly beneath me.

After a half hour, traffic thinned considerably. I could hear the rush of wind in the trees. There were long stretches of empty road where no streetlights shone. Just quiet suburban houses, government buildings, and heavy foliage on my right, and blacktop on my left. Hmmm.

At the turnaround, a middle-aged woman, who had just alighted from a bus, looked at me, knitted her brow, and asked if I was running with someone.

I replied that I was not. She said to be careful. Several years ago, a man tried to mug her just a block away. Neighbors intervened when they heard her scream. "Just because it's Bethesda [read: upper middle-class suburb] doesn't mean it's totally safe," she said.

Food for thought. I thanked her and ran down the road - a bit faster than I had before.


  1. Heh, heh. "Orientals" make the Italian-Americans work harder. :D Oh yeah, them thar Or-I-entals sure do whoop them EYE-talians into shape doesn't they? Good gravy, what a goofus.

    And you be careful running out there, Bex. Can you carry mace in DC?

  2. I was in a small town in West Texas once (don't ask) when a little kid pointed at me and yelled "Look Mom! A Chi-nese man!"

    At least I now know what it feels like to be a celebrity ... or an alien species :D

  3. please be careful with the night running!
    and thanks for stopping by my blog :)

  4. Oh that ... is just the worst!! Why I am now episcopalian :) cuz of course we would never say anything like that. out loud.

    as an eye-talian-american, i might have laughed in the moment, but i would have told him off later on!

    That's NON AMORE!