Running Life

Be Here Now

running photo chris illuminati

I’m finger swiping my photos from the morning in between sips of beer.

It’s a summer Sunday, and I’m suddenly the only patron belly-up to a bar, killing time putting words in a journal.

Before taking off to run, I fill the early hours at an outdoor flea market, sifting through boxes of Mad magazines, vintage toys, and records of various conditions.

I plant myself in front of a coffee shop, journal in hand, scribbling words as parishioners unhurriedly entered church across the street.

Their pace speed triples, exiting less than an hour later, the tower bell signifies the end of mass and the start of a casual Sunday.

The sun fell angrily on my face. It was time to run. Waiting longer meant higher temperatures and buckets of sweat.

My pace is sluggish for umpteen reasons.

I’m routinely slow out of the gate when running on unfamiliar ground, like a baby walking for the second day in its life.

My mind is preoccupied with taking in the sights and sounds.

“What’s that? What goes on over there? Is that flock of geese going to attack as I run by?”

This trot along the Delaware River, passing other runners, stroller-pushing couples and far too many of those recumbent bikes that resemble a recliner on wheels, I stop every so often to snap photos of the roaring river, the wildlife, random beer cans cast off to the side of the road.

Some days I just don’t care about pace but more about the state of mind.

I feel mentally strong. My only regret on the involves not pulling the trigger on a classic Scott Hall wrestling figure.

RELATED: My Accidental Half-Marathon

Sitting an arm’s length from a cold water tap behind the bar, every member of the wait stop takes a quick peek to see the words scribbled in my journal.

One server finally cares enough to ask.

We make small talk about writing, reading, and the quote tattooed on her forearm.

Be Here Now. It’s my favorite book,” she remarks.

I scribble the title at the top of my page.

“Ram Dass.”

“I’m sorry?” I say, puzzled, thinking she just said her name or the password to unlocking unlimited beer for the rest of the evening.

“Ram Dass is the author.”

She explains the book is about being present in the moment, she smiles and retreats with an army of water glasses.

I take the interaction as a sign.

I put away the phone, tuck the notebook under my leg, and forget about the morning to soak in the afternoon.

7 | 14 | 19

Miles: 4.06
Time: 39:25
Average Pace: 9:42

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