Saturday, September 08, 2007

Ya run 16 miles, and whaddya get?

Another day older and a butt full of wet.

Emergency surgery may have stopped my mom in her tracks for a few months, but marathon training waits for no one. And now that Mom is convalescing safely at home with the best of all possible prognoses, I finally had some some time to think about running. And then actually maybe do some running.

Unfortunately, when I was frantically throwing things in my duffel bag last weekend in my race to Iowa to see her in the hospital, I didn't think about running. And I certainly didn't anticipate my two-day trip stretching out to almost an entire week. So all I had with me was a long-ago retired pair of running shoes. No orthotics, no running shorts, no moisture-wicking shirts ... not even a package of running gel.

Which all meant one thing: SHOPPING! I had a number of errands to run for Mom anyway this week, so I poked my head into a few sporting goods stores while I was out and about and I came home with some cheap-o gym shorts (because I already have more expensive running shorts than I can fit in a drawer and I certainly don't need to invest in more), some thick-soled arch-supporty running socks to act as a piss-poor set of orthotics and a few packets of PowerGel.

As happy coincidences would have it, my folks' old neighbor was running 16 miles this morning and he invited me to come along. He and I have run together before, and we not only make awesome pace buddies, but we have tons of stuff in common to talk about: skydiving, engineering, medicine and the tiny little fact that he was the OB/GYN who brought my niece into the world. I was scheduled to run only 10 miles today, but Mom's stay in the hospital had precluded me from running two 5-mile runs this week, so 16 seemed a good compromise.

And we ran at 6:00 this morning on the breathtakingly scenic Sac and Fox Trail, which gave us a cool canopy of trees, a meandering river, heavenly views of fog rising into shafts of morning sunlight and even the occasional doe (which is a fancy name for a deer, a female deer). It was the perfect setting for the perfect run. My only complaint: that cool/canopy/river/fog combination made things quite moist. And since I was running in cotton underpants I now have a crotchful of chafing and a terminal case of what we will politely call swamp ass. Plus those new socks were about as effective as box full of kittens at preventing long-dormant foot, ankle and knee injuries from creeping back to life. So I'm thinking I'll lay off the running again until I can heal and get my orthotics back in my shoes. And until my butt stops screaming.

After the run I had a long ahower and a short nap, and then NoFo reader and family friend Kirk (Hi, Kirk!) brought his magic folding ladder and a surprisingly sturdy plank to my folks' house to help my dad and me hang a quilt over a staircase wall. Mom took pictures, but she's in bed right now and I can't find the cable to connect her camera to their computer so I can't download them to show you. But after the quilt was hung and I went in the bathroom to wash my hands, I looked in the mirror and discovered I had the worst case of bedhead in recorded history. If I were sitting in pink tulle and eating Yoplait with my best girlfriend right now, I'd call it electric-shock therapy head. A bomb just went off in my hands head. A community of squirrels just went condo on my head head. I just saw up Britney Spears' dress head.

So it's really too bad you can't see the pictures. Because I'm sure they'd be funny and you'd have a good laugh at my expense and you'd wipe the tears of mirth from your eyes and then the next time you saw me coming down the street you'd cross to the other side so as not to be accidentally photographed next to me by paparazi. I see how you are.

But my week in Iowa is drawing to a close, and I'm too busy preparing myself for re-entry in polite society (where we have to go to work and we don't talk about poop all day) to think about it. So I'll forgive you. This time.

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