I ran 3 miles for a Diet Coke Sunday morning — and when I put my quarters in the dusty machine a can of Sprite popped out instead.
It didn’t really matter, because this was more of a test run than an actual craving. I’d been thinking that yet another way to rein in my Diet Coke consumption would be to force myself to go bike or run to fetch one. I was thinking the closest source was a Coke machine I’d once spotted in Uniondale — a little town with a post office and feed mill but no convenience store — though I wasn’t sure if it worked.
Now I had an answer, if not the beverage I’d expected. I hate to waste calories on regular soda. But I drank this one, because I was hot and sweaty and it was still early enough in the day that I could adjust my intake to account for it.
I’d never run the 6-mile round trip to Uniondale before. It used to make me tense to run on U.S. 224, but on Sunday mornings the traffic’s sparse and most vehicles scoot over to give me plenty of space. This morning it seems not only doable but desirable — a little destination run on my husband’s 50th birthday, which he was marking by riding his motorcycle 50 miles to his family’s ancestral hometown of Somerset, Ind., now mostly submerged beneath the Mississenewa Reservoir.
I just love dinky little towns like this one, and what I imagine Somerset must’ve been like once upon a time. You never know when you’re going to spot an art studio in what otherwise appears to be a shack, or an homage to aliens or NASCAR in someone’s garden decor, or some artifact left over from the days when actual business was transacted on these streets.
As I drain my Sprite and get ready to head back onto the highway I’m tempted to text Bob to see if he’s left yet. Is it possible he already rode by while I was “downtown” — if you can call it that — fiddling with the misaligned buttons on that Coke machine?
But then I remind myself that I’ve been trying to disengage from “hovercraft” mode, to just let things happen once in a while. So I start running again, figuring I’ll see him if I see him.
My mind drifts off to the Chi Running I’ve been reading about the last couple of days, which strikes me as a cross between yoga and barefoot running, only with crappy shoes. I don‘t have enough of the imagery down yet to actually practice anything, though, so instead I notice the lateral swing of my shadow‘s ponytail and wonder if a braid would keep more of my energy moving forward.
And right then Bob passes me on his Honda, partially hidden in a flotilla of vehicles so that I don’t see him until the last possible moment and barely have time to wave.
It’s not exactly a Hallmark moment, not the sort of choreographed scene I imagined. But it was a good run, and later I find out that his was, too.