When Running is More Important Than Getting Struck By Lightning

Wednesday was National Running Day. Our running group had plans to meet up with DFW Runs to run on the Katy Trail and celebrate afterwards with dinner at Chuys Mexican restaurant.

There was only one problem. The weather.

We live in Texas. It doesn’t rain much, but when it does, it’s either feast or famine. Nine times out ten it will get dark, sputter out a few raindrops, and move on.

We also live in a huge city. Time after time we have what I call “the parting of the ways.” A huge storm heads our way, the storm hits the Alps of the Downtown Skyscrapers, and the rain parts around the city, only to regroup on the other side of town and into the suburbs. Oil and water. A bubble enclosed city.

The forecast called for afternoon thunderstorms, but I didn’t believe it.

Until 4:45 when huge claps of thunder struck. Then hail. Then a deluge of water.

I had been looking forward to the run all day. I was meeting Heather and Hari, the two friends I would be training with for our first ultra, and Bill and Liz.

There was no way I wasn’t going to run.

The rain and lightning didn’t let up, even when we left the house and headed to Chuy’s in our running gear. We figured, at the least, we could still meet and have dinner. Bill even called the National Weather Service and talked to a woman who assured him the rain would mostly miss Dallas, and that it would be dry at 6:00 PM.

Mother Nature scoffed.

I enjoy running in the rain, especially in the summer, but lighting is no joke. I thought about a book I read years ago, A Match to the Heart, about a writer, Gretel Ehrlich, and her experience being struck by lightning on her ranch in Wyoming.

It took Heather two full hours to drive from Keller to Dallas in the torrential rain and rush hour traffic. The things we do to run with our friends.

And run we did. We ran 6 miles in a soaking rain on the Katy Trail. We ran until we no longer dodged the puddles. We ran until every inch of us was dripping wet.

There was lightning. It was foolhardy to be running in lightning, but it was just one of those evenings when it was worth it.

We knew better, but we did it anyway.

It stormed all night.

The next morning I met Bill at 6:00 AM for a run at the lake on the hilly path. It was still raining but the lightning had dissipated. I knew we wouldn’t see many more mornings like this, and I wanted to enjoy it while it lasted.

The rain was light and refreshing, almost magical, and we had the lake to ourselves. The few runners, walkers, and cyclists we did see all had the same look of contentment and kinship as we smiled at each other.

This was something special.

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