“All My Friends,” by LCD Soundsystem sounds through my headphones, and I think about how this song has become one of the favorites on my running playlist.
Bright afternoon sun shines this post-work Friday, and makes shadows grow long. Cranking up the volume on my tunes, I take tired steps toward the National Mall and wonder if this run is really a good idea.
“Don’t-Walk” signal flashes at me on the corner and I do some last-minute fiddling with my shoelaces. Eventually the green light waves me onto my running course. Forward I move by the Capitol, past the Air and Space Musem, and so on.
Go with a clear head, I tell myself. Hearing my feet over the Mall’s gravelly surface, I tune into their movement. I make my steps like a metronome, and count 1, 2, 3… to drown out the doubts and frustrations that have lodged themselves in my mind.
Just me and my shadow run along together. Kickball games are in full swing, and I watch a girl kick her way to second base. Looks fun, but I never was much for group sports, I think in a diversion from counting.
Many tourists and families mill about at this hour, and I spy a spilled snow cone on the ground. No doubt its loss momentarily disappointed someone.
On I go, and my legs pick up snap as I round past my halfway point. Perhaps its the tailwind I’m now enjoying. Question not and keep running, I remind myself.
Relieved that my mind has quieted, I soak in the beauty of the blue sky. Steadily I move, happy my legs have adopted a stronger rhythm.
Taking a break at the intersection with 15th Street to wait for the light, I impatiently push the buttons on my iPod in search for the perfect summer song. Usher, Ultraísta, School of Seven Bells, until I shuffle onto the catchy “High School Lover” from Cayucas. Very good summer running music.
Weaving along the Mall back toward the office my music cocoons me. X marks the spot, and I wander back inside for a drink of water and to gather my “work me” stuff to take home. Yes, the week is done.
Zipping back to the locker rooms, I swap my running shoes for Sidi’s and hasten away to meet Felkerino on the bike, renewed from running off the week.