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Tracie Skarbo was motivated to write by her father, who was her biggest supporter. “He was always behind me, rallying me on with my writing. I would always see him with a book in hand. He gave me a great appreciation for the written word, and the power and responsibility that writers have to shape those who read their words. He also taught me to respect nature and to value the beauty within it; my reflections on my environment are just an extension of this.” Skarbo was raised on Vancouver Island and is working on her next two books.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Laced Up Confessionals Part Eleven

I looked out the window today at the trees and could see from my vantage point that the boughs of some were swaying, and they almost seemed to be tickling the dark grey clouds.  I knew that with conditions like this, it was going to be a lively run.  Smiling I began to get my gear together and lace up.  By the time I was finished and looked out the window again, I was confronted with a downpour that had drops bouncing back up off of the road, and rivulets flowing down the hill. 

Perfect!  The last time I had run in the rain was way back in the end of May when I was in a running clinic and we were running along one of the main arteries in the city.  It was a hot day so it hadn’t mattered that I was getting drenched.  We had lots of fun as we slogged along, shoes squishing out their protest.  Today was going to be another of those days, one where people look at those of us on the streets and think that we are mad running in such weather.  But perhaps that is only because they have forgotten what it felt like when they were children dressed in their raincoats and boots, jumping in puddles and listening to the music the drops made on their hoods or umbrellas.  They have forgotten that juicy joy which comes from taking part in the simple things life gives to all of us.

I set out and I wonder if the glee of such a delicious moment is apparent on my face?  The cold drops have soaked me only slightly slower than a regular bathing shower.  Immediately the brim of my running hat is dripping and I am glad that it will be keeping the huge kisses of the clouds at bay, lest my contact lenses be sailing down the road a top the small rivers that steal pine needles and small stones with their current.

I am up the hill before I know it.  I wonder at how I got up it so fast, is it because I was focused on the drops and the wind littering golden leaves upon me, or perhaps because I am concentrating on being seen by the drivers more than ever today?  No longer focused on the heat and the little pains that sometimes plague me I am full of present and now.  I appreciate that which is before me and I am grateful for my health that allows me to get out and see and experience this. 

I pass the skate park where usually there are teens performing feats with both skateboards and bikes, that make the laws of gravity look like a child’s toy, and one that these wheeled wonders seem to have left in the confines of the crib’s they had grown out of long ago.  It is empty, slick and grey.  It looks lonesome and somehow lovesick for those young mavericks, who usually caress with sweat, skin and soles. 

Carrying on down to the half way point, I enjoy how alone I am on this trip.  It’s only myself and the steel shells of people coming from work who brave the streets, and every so often I am rewarded with a fresh splash of a puddle as one zips by.  Somehow it makes the whole experience all the more magical and meditative.  I have left my MP3 player at home, and I am totally immersed in experiencing the all of these moments. 

I focus on the hiss of the wet tires as they pass, I watch and run through rain chains dripping from the telephone wires above.  I listen and feel the slap flapping of my black running pants on my calves, the squelching of my shoes as every step is taken and spent, and the feel of my socks as the water makes them suction onto my toes.  (Which by the way is what I imagine vacuum packed sausages would be apt to feel, if they were capable.)  I know my cheeks are rosy, and probably match my raspberry colored top, which is a great color against the green and yellow of the background landscape.  I will, and have been seen.  I will need brighter colors come winter.

I finish up at the bottom of the hill and I am again grateful that the grip of my shoes didn’t let loose on the slick gravel and toss me on my behind.  No doubt an accident like that would leave me picking gravel out of road rash for weeks afterwards.  I had a coach once who did that very thing, although she was trail running at the time.  Came down a hill and tripped hit her cheek on a rock and the rest of the side of her face took gravel in depth.  A frightening bruise showed in the weeks afterwards, and since seeing and hearing her story, I am always reserved when it comes to steep hills.

I wrap it up at the crosswalk that marks the finish and think to myself that I am happy that I didn’t listen to the lazy girl that arises in me sometimes when facing the elements.  Even though I feel lazy at the start sometimes, I know that if I kick myself outside to just do it, I am always returning with a grin.

I survived the first of the rains that are part of living in rainforest area.  I know that this season will have much more in store as time moves on.  I am excited to see what emotions Fall will reveal.



  1. you are very brave to be running in bad weather! Usually once t gets below 50 degrees I get my workouts indoors.....I hate being out in cold chilly rain.

  2. Thanks for the read Katley, I am one of those runners who hate treadmills! :) Seriously, I tried running on one and almost fell off the side... and I tend to get bored on them really easy.