I was running my second 10-miler in two days this morning, thinking how I was finally back to training for Chicago again after injuring my left foot a month ago by stepping in a hole. My mind was going over all the mind-numbing details I could supply you with: Thursday's 2.2 mile run over my hill at a 10:11 pace; Friday's eclectic 10K run starting with a two-mile run to the West Falls Church Metro Station at a 7:50 pace, followed by a run over my hill at an 8:55 pace, finished off by blah blah blah...
Someone running on the W&OD Trail went by me who looked familiar in the early morning light. It was a beautiful woman pushing a child in a running stroller. Two dozen ringlets of golden hair swayed about her entrancing face, perfectly setting off her ebony skin.
I backtracked and caught up with her. She looked at me guardedly. I asked her if she ran this trail often. Her answer, spoken in the lilting accent of the Islands, was noncommittal.
"Do you remember about a month ago," I asked, "running by me when I was walking on the trail with an injured foot? And you stopped to ask if I was all right?" Her face lit up. "Yes!" she said. "And you are all right?" She remembered.
This was the one person who passed me on the trail that day as I was limping home after hurting myself who stopped to ask if I needed help. Everyone else on the trail gave a wide berth to the wild man hobbling along muttering bitter imprecations about his cursed luck.
Her sweet actions then made me feel so much better.
God was she pretty. The youngster in the stroller, an Asian-American child, looked at us curiously.
"I'm fine now, and back to running," I told her. She seemed delighted. I thanked her for expressing her concern then. I really meant it.
I was so grateful that I was able to express my feelings of appreciation to her. I felt like the circle had completely closed on my time away from training due to the injury.
Her smile was utterly radiant. I smiled in return and turned to continue my run. I was seven miles in and still had three miles of hills to go. My step was lively as I ran away and I felt absolutely great.