Jo Ann Jaacks: Walking in the rain

This morning, I was walking in the rain . . . and it’s not nearly as sexy as the piña colada song would have you think. It began with a drizzle, and I’m accustomed to that. It’s why I bought a pink visor hat. I’m also accustomed to chillier mornings, but I still wear biker shorts and a sleeveless top because I warm up by walking faster. Also, the sun usually rises above the trees after my first warm-up round.

The drizzle turned into an unexpected rain shower as soon as I got on the track. The sun never appeared. The pink visor hat was only of scant use. I began shivering and ranked up my fast walking by several orders of magnitude. Then I realized, for the first time, I was the only one on the track.

This was so exhilarating that I kicked it up another notch. It’s not that I begrudge others on the same track as me, but sometimes there are groups of four to five people who are walking slowly together and continually talking, while I always go by myself and prefer to be alone with my thoughts, plans and writing. I often get my best ideas this way, listening to the black birds in the tall trees, pounding the asphalt, and welcoming the sun.

I haven’t yet migrated to actually running on this running track, although I’m about 90 percent healed from a torn meniscus. I have met several people here who are also using the track in lieu of physical therapy. I always chat with them, and share stories.

I do love the idea that I’m on a track where youngsters practice runs and sprints. Occasionally, on a weekend, there will be a team of track and field students and that actually encourages me to pick up my pace. As a youngster myself (and beyond), I loved running and jumping over obstacles. When I moved to south Florida at age 20, the first thing I bought was a simple bicycle, just like what I had as a kid growing up in Connecticut. I was thrilled that everything in Florida was flat and I could easily cruise wherever I wanted to go, as fast as I wanted to go.

Moving back to Connecticut 22 years ago, the first purchase I made was a simple bicycle. I quickly learned that the Litchfield Hills were a huge challenge without the right gear. I donated my bike and began hiking in all the wondrous trails in Litchfield. When the pandemic hit, along with quarantine and cooking comfort meals, I eventually focused on fast-walking everywhere.

Sometimes all you need is a pink visor hat and some mad determination to get the job done.