Running thoughts

Boston Marathon running is today. April 17. I’ve never been a runner, but I’ve written one in We Three: Elena Tanner.

Elena decides a morning jog together a could be a way to connect with new lover, Jess, on a one-on-one date while Eric is out of town. Jess, however, has only run before “when someone was chasing her.”

One of the things I wanted to create with this story was opportunities for the characters to interact genuinely outside their playtimes.

As a character, too, Jess has done a lot of running, moving around place to place, and not figured out how or if to settle into a life with a steady pace to it.

I’ve also read that a jogging pace is considered “best” when you can have a moderate conversation while still moving. That means you’re not moving too fast. So having Jess and Elena talk on their jog was actually possible.

Here’s some of the scene:

The running path Elena found for them was a patch of green that threaded around and between many of the convention hotels. A placard at the entrance proclaimed the collection of running, biking, and walking paths a project of the Miami Tourism Council. When the parking attendant had asked which hotel they were staying at, Jess flashed her hotel cardkey from the Caliente. That allowed them to waive the twelve-dollar parking fee, which, Elena guessed, was a subtle way to discourage locals.

Elena was getting out of the car, having swapped her slip-ons for socks and running shoes, when her gaze found Jess again. Jess stood at an instructional board reading the rules: share the path, no littering, no feeding animals, dogs leashed at all times. The rules were useful, but, Elena thought, Jess was where her gaze wanted to stay.

The blonde had put her hair up again in a ponytail, the ends a curly profusion. Standing as she was, with her hands on the waistband of her blue shorts, bare arms dappled by sunlight through the nearby trees, Jess’s casual physical beauty took Elena’s breath away.

Jess was so different from other women Elena had met in the lifestyle. Her face was frequently makeup free. She didn’t seem to own a dress or a skirt, instead wearing jeans or shorts every time Elena had met her. She looked down the blonde’s legs and found white socks and canvas sneakers. In contrast, Elena wore high-arch-support padded leather cross-trainers. Jess was right. They were from very different worlds.

Elena wanted to deny it. She’d been a barrio girl growing up; surrounded by families on food stamps, and received public aid. She had gone to school, then to the big city and worked for an apartment, and, finally, achieved a full-time job with benefits. She had worked hard to reach middle-class status. Certainly it was possible for anyone.

“Which way?” Jess said, turning toward Elena as she approached.

“We need to stretch first,” Elena replied. “There’s a bench we can use over here.” She took Jess’s hand.

At the bench, they completed several leg and back stretches, with Jess copying Elena for each one. Once Elena felt herself loose enough, she studied the patterns of runners, cyclists, and walkers. “How about going left? The path seems to go around the water and circle back to here,” she said.

“I’ll follow you,” Jess said.

Despite her words, Jess mostly ran alongside Elena and carefully copied her running strides. When Elena felt her body settle into the pace, she was able to clear her mind of everything but her and Jess and the late November morning. It was breezy but warm, probably mid-seventies, which was typical of Miami in late fall. She not only felt but also heard the wind through the clanging flagpoles in the hotel courtyards. There were migratory geese flying in and landing all around the water, and native cranes and cormorants, as well as turtles and frogs on the shoreline. Despite being essentially in the middle of the city, there was a slice of pastoral peacefulness here.e