Not ready to run in place / by Christina Rosalie

I give in to the shortness of the run. Not enough time to feel my ligaments loosen, to feel my stride fall into it's own syncopated rhythm, so I push forward faster than usual. The path down to the water is covered in yellow leaves: the shape of pennies that get put through those curio machines that squash them flat and print the Lords Prayer or the outline of some tourist attraction on them. I kick them with my feet as I run, imagining the sound of coins dropping on cement.

All week it's been gray and cold, and I feel myself falling out of the summer's rhythm of daily runs. This summer changed my thinking about my body. I realized that my body loves to run. Loves to sink into a steady loping pace, feeling my heart thrum in my chest, pushing blood to the vast network of capillaries that make me whole.

Today, because I have other things to do, the run ends quickly. I take the last blocks of sidewalk with quick even strides, already thinking about the things I need to do before I leave for my writing workshop. When I stop to cool down a street away from home I'm sad. I watch my shoes crunch over broken grass and kick the leaves along the sidewalk that have gathered there like guests outside the church after a wedding. I bought my shoes in June with good intentions, imagining like every other summer, I'd run a few times and loose motivation.

But I didn't. Instead I kept running, and my shoes now at the end of their season are worn in places. The soles packed and scuffed, have probably seen close to 100 miles of cement and gravel and dirt this summer. I'll be sad to give them up; to buy a new pair, destined to be treadmill shoes, as I run in place in front of a mirror through the winter.