TAT CN Header

Monday, November 07, 2005

Running in the Aftermath

Fitting a run in the day of a hurricane is difficult, unless you have an indoor track, or a treadmill and a generator, because around here, if someone sneezes hard enough, all the power goes out. So, during a hurricane, you are likely to be in the dark; plus, there is that looming tempest outside your door that pretty much halts your outdoor activities. Running is pretty much out of the question.

The day Wilma hit here in Broward County, I woke up early to the sound of the windows shaking and moaning. The winds were bending and snapping trees in half, and the rain was pounding the earth in sheets. By 9 am, the parking lot of my condo complex was a veritable lake. Our power had flickered off in the middle of the night, so my husband-to-be and I huddled around the battery-powered radio and listened to the weather. We discovered that the storm was passing straight over our area, and while it was expected that the eye would soon cruise above us, the backside of the storm, it was warned, would be much more intense.

During what we could conclude was the eye, the winds died down and the rain fell softly for about twenty or thirty minutes. I stepped outside to catch a glimpse at some of the early damage, but I was yanked back into the safety of our home before I could snoop around too much. And then the backside of the storm began to beat us. The winds shifted direction, and our windows rattled and spurt water. It was a mad dash for towels and the rest of the storm required constant vigilance to ensure that our new floors wouldn't be damaged from rain water.

By mid-afternoon, Wilma was done with our area, and while the winds slowed and the rain stopped, we stepped out to see what had happened. Trees were down everywhere; they blocked the roads, the lay on top of cars, they had crashed into the sides of house and fences, and had torn down signs and other structures. Large trees with extensive root systems had pulled up concrete sidewalks and had destroyed many man-made landscaping endeavors. Traffic signals had all been blown off, street signs and road signs were either missing or were mangled. Roofs were missing, siding had blown off, windows had shattered, car windows were smashed, and cars themselves lay under all kinds of debris.

We spent nearly all of the following week helping friends clean up the mess the hurricane had created in their own yards and homes. No one worked and there was no school. It was four days after the storm before I even tried to go for a run outside in the early morning (the good thing about that week following the hurricane was that the temperature dropped and the weather was actually very cool and pleasant). When I ran that first day, I had to run in the road because all the sidewalks were covered in debris and some parts were torn up from the aforementioned tree roots. I had to keep a sharp eye for down power lines and snakes that are said to hide in down shrubbery. It was an obstacle course that required leaping over branches and running around trees and bits of fencing.

A few days later, power was being restored to most areas, and the gym re-opened. I went in part to exercise, but also in part to see some TV and enjoy the air conditioning because our power still had not come on. I tried to re-establish my exercise routine, but with errands and work to catch up on, I let three days go between my last run and today. It's so difficult getting back to a normal schedule, and I think I won't feel completely back to normal until I return to class tomorrow. It's hard for a runner to lose his or her routine, and the upset of the storm and our two week loss of power stressed me out (I didn't even know how tense I felt until the power came back on and I felt so relieved). I hope to run later this afternoon, and I think this week will help us get back into the normal patterns we have.

This storm caused enough external damage; I don't need any more damage to my running.

1 comment:

mouse said...

Good grief. I feel like we're so isolated up here. We hear about the storms while they're happening, but then don't really hear about it after that. Glad that you are ok, and hope you're able to establish some normalcy in the wake of all the chaos...