Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Singing in the rain and other smiles


Early in the morning the sun begins to poke through.

On my list of fun and stupendous things to do in 2019 is to run or walk the 10 mile Crim race in Flint this coming August. I know it’s something I can walk, barring some sort of injury, but walking takes forever and I’m sure I’m going to want to run some of it.

So I’m trying to stick to a training schedule of sorts.

I’ve narrowed it down to one day a week of trying to run faster, (Don’t laugh) one day of running longer, and one day of just getting some miles in.

Lots of these in bloom today.

Today was my longer run day, and the plan was to do 8 miles at my local bike path through the woods park. Usually I kind of dread the ‘long run’ days, but this morning I woke up excited to see how it was going to go.

It’s done now and I thought maybe you’d wonder how it went, so I’ll tell you, mile by mile. Come on, let’s get started.

It’s a long and winding path.

Mile one started out a bit slow. My excuse is that I was several yards away from the car when I realized I was still wearing my glasses. For a moment I thought about leaving them on, but sweat and running and glasses just doesn’t work for me, so I turned around and tossed them in the car. I’m sure that’s why that first mile went a little long even though it’s almost all downhill, and I usually use it as my shakedown run, checking to see what parts of my body are not into running and might give me a bit of grief. This time there was just a tiny, vague twinge in my right knee.

All systems go!

A bit of fungus art.

Just past the one mile marker I was startled as a grackel (bird) exploded out of a tree and across the path right in front of me. I had been looking for my (as I tend to call him) Mr. Bluebird who has regularly sat in that tree watching me go by. Last time I was out there Mrs. Bluebird sat there and observed my slow progress. I guess they’re both busy right now with babies.

And beyond the two mile marker I stopped quickly to examine the wet tracks of something that had crossed the path not long before my arrival. Maybe a dog, but more likely a coyote. Though I’ve seen them before and they never bother me, I picked up my pace, from a slow hobble to what I like to call hobble+.

See those dark spots? Wet paw prints from something.

Shortly after the three mile marker I ran into two chipmunks goofing off, chasing each other on the path. I decided to call them Chip and Dale. They were having a lot of fun until they noticed me. Then they stood up on their hind legs and watched me. I stopped to watch them. Then I moved closer to try for a picture and they streaked off making all sorts of chipmunk noises to warn the woods about the big noisy clomping person out on the path. Their warning was at least three times as big as their little bodies!

A couple of people on bikes enjoying the morning.

The beginning of mile four goes through some deep woods, one of my favorite parts of this path. Less wet than before, so fewer mosquitoes, but still pretty, and shady for those summer runs. By the end of the mile, though, the woods give way to open meadow with a bit of a breeze that I enjoyed. I had a hard time deciding what to wear this morning, and ended up with shorts and a long sleeve technical shirt. It was a damp 52 when I started my run. Turns out long sleeves were a mistake, I should have worn a tank top even though I feel fat in tank tops.

The sky got a little worrisome.

I was watching the sky as I ran through the meadow, making note of ominous clouds way off to the west. As I hit the four mile marker I felt the first drop of rain. Of course. I was the furthest from the car that I could be. Wouldn’t matter if I turned around and went back or kept going forward, the distance would be the same. I kept going and smiled at a woman on a bike going the other way. We both shrugged our shoulders as if to say….”What are you gonna do when it rains, right?” I figured if she hustled she could make it back to the car before the rain truly hit. Me? Well, I ratcheted it up to hobble++.

During mile five I concentrated on getting along faster. That one rain drop had been a warning, and I knew it could be a downpour at any moment. But I stopped to take a picture of a swath of yellow flowers down in a swampy area. I don’t know what the flowers are, but I was pleasantly surprised by two duck-like birds that rose up out of them when I took my shot. I don’t know what they were either. They were the size of ducks, but were both dark. I didn’t stay to try and figure it out. Time was ticking, the clouds were rolling, and the mosquitoes were swarming every time I stopped.

Don’t know what that yellow stuff is. If you look close you can see some blurry birds flying out of the swamp.

Mile six put me back at what I now affectionately call chipmunk junction. As I approached I saw several chipmunks running from one side of the path to the other, chasing each other and having a good time. They began to scatter as I got close, but I think there were at least six of them. Lots of warnings went up as I hobbled through, and I’m sure they were glad to see the backside of me.

With two miles left to go a few more raindrops cooled my face. Just a gentle rain, as if someone knew I was hot and tired. I slowed my hobble down and smiled. And then I heard the slow flapping of something big off to my left. Something with really big wings was taking off, though I couldn’t see it. I figured it was a hawk, or maybe a crane. But a few minutes later two beautiful blue herons flew right overhead, low and slow, they were just beautiful. I smiled wider. And then, for the rest of that mile I whistled “Moon River” from our concert last Tuesday night…and eventually that made me laugh…the incongruity of a hot, sweaty, slightly overweight, middle aged woman hobbling slowly through the woods whistling while smiling at the birds.

Tempting to sit for a spell…but it’s going to rain.

When I hit the 7 mile marker, with only one mile left to go, I stopped for a second and itched the mosquito bite behind my right knee. Then I took a big breath and contemplated the long hill before me, that last mile, mostly up, and started the slow process of getting back to my car.

And out of the woods came my Mr. Bluebird, just a quick flit out to the path, a bank of brilliant wings, and he was gone. But I smiled to see him and picked up my pace.

When I hit the steepest part of the hill I upped the game to hobble++, smiling all the way. At the top of the hill, with a quarter mile to go, two flickers flew ahead of me, the white triangles on their behinds showing me the way. I stomped in celebration on the 8 mile mark painted on the path and skipped the short bit back to the car as rain beginning to fall in earnest.

Hurry! The rain is coming!

I beat the storm with my own two feet, no bike required. The lessons learned from this run? Well, definitely that two motivators are mosquitoes and impending weather. Summer is closing in fast, no doubt about it and I’m going to have to get faster…

…because I know from experience it’s hard to outrun a black fly.

Lots of these in bloom today too.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

22 thoughts on “Singing in the rain and other smiles

  1. Oh, well done Dawn! I’m not a natural runner, never have been, but I’m always in awe of everyone who is – good luck with your training 🙂


    • I’m nothing close to a natural runner…I’ve run with a couple of those, their world is entirely different than mine…still…I am learning to enjoy what I am, and do what I can with it. And that’s working out pretty good.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great run! Glad you saw a lot of wildlife.


  3. Better you than me. I’m not sure I’d even get a block before my hip locked up or my back began to complain.


    • Yes, I know some of that feeling…and running is definitely not for everyone. Not even sure it’s really for me, but for this project it will do. After the Crim I will likely turn back into a walker. (Well not literally a WALKER as in those things we push in front of us when we get older, but you know what I mean.)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I so miss the solitariness of running. So good for clearing one’s mind. This was a fun run, Dawn. Ratcheting it up frpm hobble to hobble ++–I love it!


  5. I miss Northern woodlands, so much lusher and green than the dry savannahs here. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Those GREENS! So beautiful. Reminded me that it was 2 years ago at this time that I was towing my trailer into Michigan and how lush it was with, and with all the wildflowers too. And I got to meet you and Katie!
    Congratulations on an 8 mile run! I might make it 8 feet! But….not too terribly long ago I did participate in the Big Sur Marathon….NO not the marathon run, but they have various runs you can do and one was the “10.6 miler”. They hauled us out in buses to a restaurant located 10.6 miles from the finish line and we made our way back in whatever way our legs could carry us. I walked…did it two years in a row before I took off traveling. I did it for the scenery…the Big Sur coastline, with magnificent views one misses when driving, or running, for that matter.
    Thanks for bringing back all these good memories!


    • I know, right? We of the long winters forget every year how many shades of green there are until it bursts out all around us in the spring. Bruce and I went to Frankenmuth last night, drove past the campground where you stayed and I told him (again) about you and that I had met you and your beautiful companions there, and that they were gone now and you had settled with your little boy in California where it is so beautiful. I would have run that 10.6 mile race too, just for the privilege of walking that route. Would have snuck a camera along too. I agree you see more walking than you do driving, running, or riding a bike.


  7. I love this, for so many reasons – nature, self-deprecating humour, and chipmunks with power lungs.


  8. Yay, you made it! I’ve never been enamored of running. Short bursts (like those required to play tennis) are about as much as I want to do. So I’d be the one walking those 10 miles, also probably humming or whistling to some band tune we’re working on! Glad Moon River kept you company, along with the chipmunks, birds, and *shudder* coyote!!


    • See, that’s why it’s nice that we’re all different. I tried tennis, couldn’t keep the ball inside the court. Ever. And walking the miles is actually more fun than running them, it just takes so long! Tuesday was our last concert (except for a farmers’ market coming up in a week) but I’m guessing you have one more?


      • We have weekly concerts until mid-July, so we’re just getting started, ha! I’m finding it way more fun (and easier!) this summer than I did last summer — must be that I’m learning something in my lessons. And practice really does help!


        • Wow! WEEKLY? Do you play different music each week?


        • You bet! I call it Baptism by Fire. Our conductor has tons of music (this community band has been in “business” for 42 years now!), and she brings out 8-10 songs for our Tuesday practice, then we perform them two days later. It can be grueling, but somehow, it works!


  9. Pingback: The Weekly Smile Recap 5/27/2019 – 6/2/2019 | Trent's World (the Blog)

  10. All the green in your photos sure made me smile!!


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