It all started when I heard the wind howling outside my window at 5:30am. I laughed in its face, it won’t be so bad, I thought. Since it was still pitch dark outside, I hopped on my yoga mat for a bit and then looked out the window again. It was still pretty dark, but I could see a hint of lightness out there…somewhere. So I headed out.
After I parked my car at the head of the bike path, I stood there for a minute, my head swinging back and forth: bike path or road? Slowness and debris or speed and dodging cars? What the hell! I thought. Shotgun season is over and it’s been a while since I did the bike path…
In retrospect, I should’ve waited until it was a little lighter, but 1) I’m impatient, 2) I was in a hurry to get to work this morning (lots of good stuff on tap!), and 3) I’m busy pretending it’s spring and the days are longer. I think I was all of 5 minutes in, when uuuuummmmmpppphhhhh and crunch. (FYI, those were the sounds of the wind getting knocked out of me and my knees colliding with the pavement – see picture above.)
Pants ripped, searing pain and a bit of shock. You know that moment, when you realize you’re on the ground, but can’t remember getting there? I had that moment. Here’s my best guess: I couldn’t see the trail clearly in the pre-dawn light, I hit a twig or a rock and boom, down I went.
I knew the pain would subside, so I sat there for a few seconds and getting my breath back, smacking my wrist-guarded palms on the ground chanting bad words as I waited. (Yes, I wear a helmet and wrist-guards, but not knee pads – because I don’t need my knees to make a living, just my head and my hands. Not sounding like the greatest logic at this moment, I know.)
And then I was up again, shaking it off, skating and watching the ground like a hawk. I hadn’t surveyed the damage, but I could feel the warm gooeyness of blood adhering my pants to both of knee caps – and I ignored it. Kept going.
Until, around mile 5. With 2 miles to go, I turned the last big corner on my loop and headed back towards my car. And into a pure, stalwart, unforgiving, NFL linebacker-sized wall of wind. Yes, I have been known to exaggerate in my life (I’m a Cancer and a writer and a woman – so go figure), but I checked with my favorite weather peeps just now and there is a wind advisory in effect with steady winds at 19mph and gusts up to 45 mph. The temperature is 25 degrees, the windchill is 13.
What should have taken me 12 minutes, took me about 30. And kinda sucked. There were times when I felt like I was in one of those cool swimming machines where a constant current has you just swim in place (I’ve always wanted one of those if you’re trying to think of a good Happy New Year present for me). And there were times when I felt like a 16 year old driving a stick shift for the first time as the wind moved haphazardly from 20 to 40 to 30 to 45 mph.
The solidness of the wall was the worst. It felt impassible. I could see my car and it looked nothing but far, far away. But I knew I was going to get through it. And the wind knew I was going to get through it. I mean, what was the alternative? To stop? Sit down? Cower? Wait until May?
Image credit: me and my Blackberry Storm – which usually takes crappy pics, but that one isn’t half bad. Too gross? Too much information? I told you all months ago, I’m into non-fiction.