Last week I sat twiddling my thumbs with anxiety as my plans to run along the Hudson River were shattered by the timely arrival and accurately forecasted rainy day, which, I had all but ignored until it was time to go outside. I watched some Dr. Who with my gracious host until I started chatting with my friend David who I had originally planned on going running with.
“Where were you!?” David asked.
“Lame, it was awesome. You should have gone- it really was perfect running weather!”
I thought about my apparently fearless friend and then I thought about the pound or two of tortilla chips I was thinking about eating. I immediately dawned my Reebok Realflex running shoes, some running shorts and one of those moisture wicking shirts I’ve seemed to have acquired during my 40 lb weight loss. I walked nervously through the subtle sprinkle to the 181 Hudson Parkway entrance.
About two minutes in to my actual run, I noticed that my shirt was quickly becoming more and more damp, and therefore a heavy nuisance that interfered with my current physical activity. I took my shirt off the second I passed the little red lighthouse at the base of the George Washington Bridge.
I instantly had one of those amazingly perfect Eckhart Tolle moments where I was so pleasantly overwhelmed by the state I was in; I almost couldn’t contain my happiness. There I was, running along the Hudson River with the rain softly beating against my bare skin while my heart was beating fast to get blood and oxygen throughout my body all the while maintaining a steady breathe. I felt alive.
There was almost an acknowledged shared arrogance about the others who had taken it upon themselves to engage in physical activity along the parkway. It was sort of like we knew we were rebels, and were so much cooler than the 70 degree Lululemon crowd. I took myself down to 145th street to the gate of the Riverbank State Park and turned around.
I realized that the only element missing from my journey was fire. I ran against the earth; brushing against the occasional tree along my path as the rain cooled the heat of my body. I realized then, in that instant that I took the place of the missing element because I was on fire. I was, in that moment, truly alive.