I’m pretty sure I set a Guinness Book of World Records mark this morning. It was for spotting the most blinking dashboard security lights during the course of a 3.1 mile run after an ongoing streak of 4,392 consecutive days. This is how absurd some of these records get, especially when undocumented. The blinking light game has become a regular distraction from the boredom of taking step-after-step-day-after-day. Most mornings, I’m lucky to find ten blinkers, but today it was twenty-three – the first time I’ve ever even broken twenty. On one occasion, I didn’t see a single one. Today, I was so focused on this game that I forgot about the stretch of Bs from Beauty to Bantam or the A to Z challenge. This is what happens when you’re forced to run the same route every day and need to fight off the monotony. At least, it wasn’t raining this morning, just puddles to avoid. 

Some days, I actually do constructive things with my mind when I run, like make-up stories or write poems. If I’m lucky, I get distracted with a problem that needs to be solved or hear a familiar song and struggle for some time to recall the artist. Dodging leaves, traffic, puddles, potholes, and cracks also keep my mind engaged. On a good day, I even come home with an idea about what to write about in this blog. With little on the calendar these days, however, it’s too often freestyle ramblings that land on these pages.  Despite the aches and pains, the run always gets my blood flowing and makes me feel better, especially after a restless night. 

Once I get out of bed every morning, the first constructive steps are always stretching, sit-ups, and push-ups. This is followed by a short dog walk and final preparations for facing the elements. It’s always a relief to get all these responsibilities out of the way so I can simply put one step in front of the other for forty minutes plus. It’s a routine that doesn’t change much from day to day, except what I wear and where the street and sidewalk detours sometimes take me. By this time next year in Florida, it will certainly be dryer and warmer conditions with less traffic. I’ll come back drenched in sweat rather than soaked with rain, and maybe go for a dip in the pool? There will not be the homeless camps, street cars, busses, noise, and trash of downtown Portland. I’ll be playing different mind games without the blinking lights, shops, underpasses, and traffic signs that currently mark my way every day.