It was already 55 degrees when we pulled in to Sara’s at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. At least 8 other cars were there already. I hop out, Girl Scout cookie order form and pen in hand, while Dan threads the car key through his shoelace. Randy pulls in.
“Hey…Anybody want cookies?”
Cyndie, Robin and Carol fill out the form on the trunk of a Carol’s car while the spandex-clad crowd grows and the Saturday morning pre-run chatter begins.
“Mary Kaye! And, in shorts! You go, girl!”
“I just did a quick change in the car,” she says.
“Dan’s wearing shorts, too,” I say.
“Oh…Jeez, I”m definitely overdressed,” Cyndie mumbles from behind her neck gaitor. “I thought it would be colder down here.”
“I’m ditching these gloves,” I mutter as I jog back to the car.
It’s an incredible day, especially for Erie in January. Just last week we did our long run here on sheets of ice and crusty snow.
The nice weather had brought out nearly a dozen of us today. We set out together, running two by two. That’s all the wider the trail is. We can run three wide, but it’s a tight fit. We all snake together for a mile or so before the faster ones pull ahead and the slower ones fall behind. We middle-of-the-packers stick together, chattering continuously.
Lisa turns at 4 miles as 8 is all she has time for. I planned to do 8, too, but the weather is so incredible, it’s a shame not to keep going.
“I’ll do 10, but that’s it,” I tell the women with me.”How far are you going?”
“Uh, I don’t know…what do you think?” Cyndie asks Robin.
“I was thinking 12,” Robin says.
“I have to do 15″ Jan says.
“You guys suck,” I say. “Now you know I have to do at least 12. I always cave to peer pressure.”
Near Perry Monument, our 6-mile turn around point, hundreds of seagulls are gathered in the bay. The birds, in a feeding frenzy, are making a huge racket, excited by the fishing the now unfrozen-lake has afforded them.
We run on, around the monument, making a racket of our own — talking, talking, talking. Robin, Cyndie and I head back as Jan and Carol continue on around the peninsula.
A half mile later, we come up behind Rich, a regular weekend walker who hears us coming and turns to gesture ahead. More seagulls, chasing a bigger bird.
“Eagle!” Rich says…pointing up.
“Huh?” I say…oblivious at first.
“Oh! Oh my god…you guys…look! It’s an eagle! Holy crap.”
We keep running, our eyes up to the sky, watching the gigantic bird soar ahead, followed by a pack of brave gulls.
The eagle turns toward Graveyard Pond and we lose sight of him and his angry mob.
“How lucky are we?” I ask.
It’s a rhetorical question among our little running group that serves to remind us to appreciate the run. To appreciate the moment…the company….nature… Presque Isle State Park…and a 60-degree Saturday in January.
“We’re so lucky,” Cyndie says.
(Hope you got lucky last Saturday, too)
About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”