Nature’s Call

This has been a terrible summer weather-wise, unless you’re a duck. For runners, and especially for running mom’s like me who make most runs a family affair, it has been really, really bad. It’s bad enough that Environment Canada is the home page on my computer, but I also have The Weather Network on my favorites and AccuWeather on my cell. Yup, I’m officially a weather junkie. (I guess it is no surprise that this is my absolute favorite unit in the entire elementary science curriculum).

There have been several days this summer when I’ve had to postpone a run because of all the rain. There are even more days when I have checked the computer dozens of times within hours to see if that impending storm is getting any closer. It’s one thing for me to get stuck on the road when I’m alone, but the last thing I want is to be out in the middle of “it” with my boys.

But I am a risk-taker at heart – especially if it means an adventure. So, while the threat of a storm is often there, I have once or twice grabbed my dynamic duo, put the youngest in the jogger, strapped a helmet on the other and run out the door. “Twenty-two minutes, guys. That’s all we need.” And, every time, we make it – sometimes by the treads of our running shoes.

But that all changed on Thursday. Frustrated from 2 days of non-running, followed by a quick 6K on Wednesday, I had that itch. “Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Halton-Peel” was posted on every weather page. Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen that before, I thought. I checked for updates all afternoon and, like all other days when this warning has appeared, the message was the same and so were the skies.

At 6:30, when the sitter showed up (he gives me my weekly hour “therapy” session – a run without boys), I decided to go anyway. “I want to come too,” announced the oldest. “Be quick, we’ve got about half an hour – and I only needed 22 minutes.” We ran – no, we tore down the street – and our pilot/neighbour/sky-watching expert called out, “You’ve got about half an hour.” That’s all I needed.

But, 10 minutes into the run, without warning, the wind picked up. A van driver slowed down and asked if we wanted a ride. “I think we can make it,” I yelled. Stupid me. Less than a minute later, the skies opened. This wasn’t just any downpour. We ran to the corner, didn’t wait for the light to change and headed into our local vet for shelter. They were awesome: they gave us towels to dry off, offered to give us snacks and suggested that we sit in a back room on the couch. I have to find out if they take reservations for dinner too.

After hanging out at the vet’s for 20 minutes, watching wave and wave hit the streets and wondering if the lightning would ever stop, we called our power-walking neighbour, Superhero Carleen, hoping that she would drive us home.

As luck would have it, within 10 minutes, the rain slowed and by the time we got home, it had stopped and the sun started to peak through the clouds. The most frustrating part of this “run” was not that I had to abandon it, but that I paid a baby-sitter so that I could stand at the vet’s for 30 minutes while I watched it rain. On the other hand, though, it was a good thing that I had a sitter as my jogger child was safe at home, hoping that Mommy was running really fast.

Hours later, it hit me: I need to add my dog to my weather-watching strategies. He simply refused to go outside for his nature call before we left. Now, I know why.

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