The streets and sidewalks were mostly clear today, with a few icy remnants of last week’s storm. Thousands of people are without power, but we remain unaffected. It was hard on my back to run in the concrete parking garage while the streets were impassable. According to experts, concrete is a much harder surface than asphalt and should be avoided. To simplify, you will leave a dent in the asphalt but not in concrete as your feet strike the surface with a force of up to six times your body weight. It’s been good the last few days to get the occasional relief of being back on the streets. Although other sources say that the cushioning of my shoes should make the two surfaces indistinguishable. Psychologically or not, I feel the difference. 

Boredom is the other factor that comes into play when you’re running in parking garage circles. On the other hand (or foot), my regular 3.1 mile course takes me through many different neighborhoods and along the scenic river path. Despite the presence of many homeless and the damage of graffiti, I still find this route to be entertaining. I also take off my mask when I run, being careful to keep my distance from others, so the cold, fresh air is invigorating. I continue to struggle with fogging-up when wearing both a mask and glasses at the same time, so when outside the apartment I often abandon my frames. However, I need them to run. There are just too many uneven surfaces that I need my full vision to navigate as I stumble along.  

I had a rare treat yesterday, a visit from a friend. We talk on the phone, text, and see each other on Zoom calls, but haven’t had the opportunity to get together for nearly three months. A year ago, it was usually once a week or so at a restaurant or get-togethers with our wives. He had an appointment at the neighboring hospital, and we talked briefly on a park bench over coffee. It was also my first visit to a Starbucks in months, after frequenting their stores for a “Grande decaf caramel latte” during the pre-retirement years. It will be nice when we all get our vaccines and companionship returns to a better shade of normal. With some regret, I will have to make all new friends in Florida, but there will always be visitors who need a sunshine fix…or coffee at Starbucks.