Today has been a good day.
The past few days though, to say the least, have completely sucked. When you are caring for a sick child it seems like an eternity. Your days are filled with bodily fluids and laundry and cleaning. Not fun. At all. What usually keeps me going through the times of cholera is my running. It is my sanity, my savior, my happiness but lately I have been in a serious running funk.
Two weeks ago I missed the bottom step and rolled my ankle-right and then left. It took me down. I thought I had broken it but after a few minutes on the floor the pain subsided slightly and I hobbled upstairs and iced it. It felt better. I went to the gym that evening and thought all was okay. The next day I tried to do my Saturday 10 mile run and only made it 4. I had to hobble the last 2 miles home in agony. I avoided running on it the next few days but still cross trained on the elliptical at the gym. I did the 10k qualifier that week and it bothered me a little but I still thought it was getting better.
I run through a lot of injuries and illnesses. I didn't think this one was any different but as of last week it still wasn't getting better and had actually gotten worse. It was tender to the touch and hurt everytime I ran and even when I wasn't. It just plain hurt. After my 14 mile run last Thursday there was no denying that it was tendonitis and only rest was going to make it better. And here, I will admit, is the silver lining to Beau being sick: it forced me to rest. I took Saturday and Sunday completely off. I did try to run on Monday and it hurt like hell and I only made it 2 miles--half of which I walked, so I can't even count that. Tuesday I rested and became more and more depressed. Oh, how I missed my endorphins!
Yesterday I got to go to the gym and I tried to run a mile on the mill and it still hurt so I punished myself with extra weights. Last night I was convinced I have ankle cancer and would never run again. I dreamed horrible dreams all night. In one I was pregnant. Horrible, just awful.
Today I was hell bent on Beau going to school. I was determined to try to run. I had to. Mine and the kids survival depended on it.
It proved though not an easy morning. Seriously though, when are mornings with a 2 year old and 5 year old ever easy? It is like herding cats and negotiating with monkeys. Beau is not allowed to wear his cape to school anymore because we have determined that he assumes the Batman persona and that he further assumes his classmates are the villains and attacks them Batman style: POW!KICK! PUNCH! He tried to negotiate with me by asking to wear his lion costume but I wasn't going to risk a call to pick him up for mauling a classmate today so I told him he would have to go to school as just a plain ole little boy. He was quite unhappy about it.
Carmella had uniform day at school today. She wanted to be a gymnast and wear her leotard but the one she picked out has a skirt so technically it is for ballet. I made the mistake of saying she could be a ballerina too. This dissolved her to tears and she, of course, wanted to change. Things are very black or white with her. No duality what so ever. After much assurance that she was 100% gymnast she calmed down.
Then Ryan comes home as we are leaving and comments on my outfit. "You're wearing that to run in?" I would think all men would know by his age that YOU NEVER EVER SAY THAT TO A WOMAN NO MATTER WHAT THEY ARE WEARING. I near bite his head off and explain to him that I have no choice but to run in my "Barbie sweats" since all my running tights are dirty since I haven't had time to wash them because of all the other laundry I have had to do! And yes, there were expletives involved.
Ask me if I gave a damn that I had to run in bright pink sweats and hoodie: I. Was. Going. Running. I could not have given a rat's ass how powderpuff I looked. I needed my dose of endorphinbutrim and I was getting it any way I could.
I was on the road by 9:45. And everything, for a change felt good. I even made it up the hill that I have struggled with the past few weeks. As I neared the cross road and had to decide if I should go left or right I told myself I shouldn't push it and that I should go right. Going right would still make my run about 8 miles but it would be less hilly, so easier. Just as I thought this a runner crossed the road ahead of me. He was going the left way, which was hillier. As soon as I saw him I thought: I can beat him.
So, of course, I went left and charged up the hill after him. On this corner is the elementary school I went to as a child. There were kids out on the playground playing. As I sprinted up the hill to catch my adversary two little girls saw me and started racing me. I smiled and waved at them as I beat them too. Yeah, they were only 9 but 9 year olds can be fast.
I know it is dumb but it really boosted my ego to pass the guy who had absolutely no idea that we were racing. And I know had he known that we were racing he definitely looked like he could have kicked my ass but so what. I won. I do wonder how it felt for him to be passed by powderpuff Barbie girl. I know, he probably didn't notice.
After leaving random jogger in the dust I turn into my old neighborhood that I grew up in. I was really happy; fresh off my recent victories and was reveling in all that post race glory. The sun was making its first debut in days and was beginning to break-up the looming gloom of the clouds. The streets, shiny and wet from the recent rain, reflected tree and sky. And in my head played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. I am flooded by the memories of my childhood.
I almost step on her. It is Barbie. Barbie the Pauper to be exact, Annelise, and she is lying prone in the street. I pick her up and brush the dirt off her. She has not yet been run over and is no worse for her exposure. I jog a few feet, happy with my trophy; excited that I have finally rescued something on one of my runs other than a turtle. I hear of other joggers finding cool stuff: money, toys, hats, Barbie etc. But me? I never see anything but turtles, deer and cigarette butts.
I stop suddenly, ending my rescue reverie. Perhaps someone is missing Annelise. She can't have been out here long and they will realize her missing and come try to find her. Some child will be devastated. I search the street and see it: the green power box. I prop Annelise up and I leave her now, elegantly seated upon her electrical throne, and fall back into my pace.
I round the neighborhood as I did as a child. My foot falling where my foot has fallen a thousand times in my youth and the sounds of the old neighborhood fill my head. I press repeat and listen to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World" again and jog past my old house and down to the cul du sac where my best friend lived. So much is the same and yet is very very different. Gone from the pool, I am sad to see, are the diving board and the slide and I wonder if the bulletin still holds my records for the butterfly and the freestyle. I doubt it. Kids are so much faster these days. Gotta be the hormones in the milk.
I leave the old hood and lope back to the school. It is still early so I try to meet up with my friend Tara for some shopping. We just miss each other at Target and so I head back towards the school. I am driving down the road my parent's street is off of and I suddenly see him: The Turkey. I nearly drive off the road because I have long thought this was just some other road legend my parents yammer on about but I see now that he does exist. It is true and he is magnificent, mytholgocial, and enormous--nearly 4 feet tall. He is just standing there on the side of the road like some totem. A turkey totem. . . .
See what endorphins can do for you! Go running! Get addicted! Get high and see turkey totems and save Barbie in suburbia. Ah, the bliss of a good run. Joseph Campbell was definitely talking about running when he advised to follow your bliss--run to it, run into it, run with it.