Just this side of Gap
In a little box without room for a band,
Parking, or anonymity
A group got together to whip it good,
As was sung in the eighties, “Whip it real good.”

There were stout dudes and speckled hens
All moving in the cramped confines
With holiday cheer and festive intentions.
Conversation ran shallow
As it should in such a happy place.

Having never been to a pub in Europe,
This is probably the closest I will get to being a Blinder,
Hanging with the sequin set, the flannel fellas,
The middle-age sweaters, the readers off a drooping t-shirt,
A place for every man, hashtag that, every person

So I guess this is what it’s like over there,
Not much different than here,
Hanging with some mates, tipping a couple of pints,
Enjoying life, really…
Simple, no pretense, nothing to fear.

It’s been awhile
Since the cosmos offered
A bountiful running-writing experience
Where the social aspects
Of graceful knuckle-dragging five in the morning
Fitness freaks was more important than the
Slide-rule, data-driven, goal-directed running junky behaviors
That I had allowed to cloister the life-affirming,
Soul soothing potential of good runs spent with friends.

On this morning when light snow
Fell from the darkness with a softness
That lifted my spirit while somehow
Inspiring tired legs to wallow on normally manageable hills,
Suffer through an eternally long warm-up lap
Barely clocking in at half a mile, the snow it teased and pushed
A steady stream of conversation
That ultimately proved to be fatigue’s cure
Due to its energy producing current
Which was able to keep a small group
Chugging down what seemed to be a never ending road.

Cars passed, bright lights reflecting off of the flakes,
Danger in the blindness they produced and
The sudden decelerations of the drivers
Who must have been cursing our reflective asses.
There was laughter at the thought of our own evasive maneuvers,
Gridiron inspiration with snowbank tackles
To keep everyone safe from the bull-rushing automobiles.
There were laughs at the image of babies being popped from the womb
In a kind of pimple popping way, complete with malice for the moment
And the kind of wisdom that comes with a decree.
There was that uneasy laughter that comes
When responsibility must be held accountable
And tough decisions about missed deadlines and certificates unearned come due.

While the cars and birthing room carnage are scary,
The thought of an 80s pop star slinking around on one leg
In the wee hours of any morning
While be cheered by nearly as old women
Who squeezed into their teenage fishnets and nuclear cooling tower breast cones
Very nearly had a few tapping out.

Age has no dignity…

Yet these runs, unlike the ones in the leftover sorority girl fishnets,
Keep me feeling young.
This morning with all the distraction
Took away from my realizing I was super tired.
It guided me to a place
Where I know numbers, but I don’t accept them as annual rings.
The challenge of working out each day is great,
The little bit of effort it takes to hang with my friends
Is easily, no readily, expended.

The hurt society,
Maybe it’s really mentality,
Leaves no room for anything
That seems like freedom.

Shut up.

That’s about all anyone can do
To prevent reputations from being destroyed,
From the shutdown mobs
Existing as hurt feeling police.

Shut up.

Everything is not an insult,
Deeper meaning does not imply hurtfulness,
Your insecurities are not the result of me
Or even people who look like me or them.

Shut up.

It goes this way and that,
Everyone on Defcon whatever is the worst,
The most sensitive, the most afraid.
Just be nice to people and

Shut up.

Shallow breathing,
When I should be kicking a little harder,
The mind says go,
Legs counter with no.
So it is this morning
With the day ahead,
Lethargic being the way,
But it’s nothing to fear,
Tired is temporary,
Some good oats,
A bit of rest,
Perhaps a book tonight, and
With any luck a run in some snow tomorrow.
The energy is rising already!

Swim, bike, run
Swim, bike, run
Swim, bike, run
My goodness,
What have I done?

The laps pile up
The pedaling never stops
And the miles
They are what they are,
An eternal pounding.

I’m loving this,
A new challenge,
Unknown distances
Greater accountiblity,
Awesomeness.