One step, one breath in. Two step, two breath in. Three step, three breath in. Four step, four breath in. Repeat. The constant flow of foot to blacktop aligned with each inhaling and exhaling breath consumes my thoughts, yet my mind is open, clear. My legs move as if unattached to my body. I look straight ahead, focused. My surroundings breathe life into my moving being. The trees, lush in their summer prime, the friendly neighbors who wave, the occasional statue-like deer in the field by the club house, and then a hint of a storm brewing in the distance floods my sense of smell.
The subtle hum of remote thunder calms me. Besides the occasional barking dog, I am the only one outside. I’m running alone, chasing the storm. The race doesn’t finish before the first raindrop falls, but rather gains ambition. With beads of sweat having their own race down my face, dripping off every inch of my body, I feel the first drop of rain descend onto my head. Immediately I feel the refreshing coolness of moisture not produced by my own body. It begins to rain harder, and as it does so, my feet move faster, my legs working harder to push forward. The wind makes me feel as though I’m flying. My lungs fill with the now cooler air and I want to scream. Scream of triumph. That I’m capable of racing a storm, of running in it, of bathing in Mother Nature’s waters. A flash of lightning only brings excitement to my veins, making my blood pump harder. I won’t stop. Not until I’ve finished my course. Stopping is accepting defeat, accepting fear, accepting that the storm wants me to lose.
One step, one breath out. Two step, two breath out. Three step, three breath out. Four step, four breath out. I can feel the sky now empty completely on me, soaking my clothes, and my feet only move faster, pushing me harder, forcing a determined grin across my rain-stricken face.