One arm, two waters

I went out for a run again tonight. This is a record for me – four runs in a single Sunday to Saturday week. I didn’t intend to break it, but I have been both restless and tied fast to my desk on writing deadlines for work that have caused immense stress, and the running has been a good way for me to get outside when I haven’t been outside all day.

I need outside. I need it like air. I learned a few years ago that even cold winter outside is better than inside all the time for me. When I worked in the big steel tower, I used to take the elevator down 40 floors during the day and just go stand outside in the winter light and the sometimes snow for 10 or 15 minutes for the light. For the air that wasn’t piped in and sanitized and reminding me with every whisper to be calm, quiet, respectful and buttoned down. This past winter, I broke through that cold grey cloud and faced the winter head-on, chunking along on unsteady running paths, risking my life by running in the road when the path was too icy. Nothing but the sound of clumps of frozen shit falling off trees, occasionally passing cars, the footfalls of my running and my own breath through the sweaty material in front of my lips via the balaclava.

I admit I got off on it a little bit. It’s like I figured out a way to make the winter my bitch. Lay down and let me run on you. Go ahead, make it difficult.

And so now different challenges as I take running to another level for me. My sciatica was beaten back by a short course of prednisone, thanks to my sweet, genius PM&R doctor, who always takes my calls, who always gets me in when I need a shot or an adjustment or some kind of plan or new idea. And I got four runs in, which is pretty cool, though I’m tired and very sore and am taking the weekend off. Forecasted thunderstorms have scuttled my plans to run my 2nd 5K on Sunday, and I have other ways to pass that time. The humidity and repeated runs are very hard on my exercise-induced asthma. I tried to pick up the pace a little tonight as it’s slightly cooler, but my energy wasn’t completely there and every step felt hard as my feet hurt. Then I saw a girl coming the other way who was missing most of her left arm, and I thought, shut up, self, fucking shut the fuck up and GET IT DONE. And so I did, just over three miles, though I had to stop for a bit after the second. Who cares.

I’m taking a bit of a break from some of my social media stuff, but I need the blog. It’s a reshuffling of the deck and laying out the cards in a different fashion. My sister broker her leg really badly some months ago, spiral fractures, and said today how tired she is of people telling her how it’s NEVER GOING TO BE THE SAME and how unhelpful that is. I pointed out that we are NEVER THE SAME. We are always changing, even if you intend to be the same – you are not. I am reacting and handling and directing some of those changes. Being aware of the change is good. I was struck with a weird feeling this morning as I set out for work – stress does these things to my brain. I remembered what it felt like when I was a kid and I kept thinking how I would “grow into” something, and how I had more growing to do in my body. Obviously I am middle aged, and long ago reached the point where I would grow no taller and the only growth would be sideways, and yet nobody sort of tells you when you’ve hit that point, when the switch should flip in your brain. No longer plan for bigger shoes next year, or bigger pants, because you’re done, this is the max. In fact, it’s a downward journey for me now, one that I hope continues, though if it doesn’t, I’m ok how I am. I wonder how much of our training in “you’ll grow into it,” or “you’re a growing child, you should eat” plays into the fact that you don’t really sense intuitively when that stops, when you’ve “made it” and you’re done, and now you have to maintain or gain.

Pulling back from social media has shown me that there is a tight circle of people who really think about me and care about me, and that circle is really to be treasured. As are so many things. My ability to run, when my sister is just now able to walk without a cane after her injury. To hold my phone in one hand and my iPod in another as I run, as I have two hands. Or as a HONY poster put it recently, and I paraphrase, “I am so lucky. When I go home, I have TWO faucets that run clean water, as much as I want; hot AND cold! Do you know how many people don’t have that?”

Reality check. Big time.

I love my friends. My family. My community. My creative brain filled with crazy thoughts and ideas that sometimes, people help me harness, direct and expend. I love that I can talk to a guy in Canada about PPE for work in negative 40 temperatures and then I can come home and go for a run in shorts and a t-shirt, with shoes my job enabled me to buy and thoughts tumbling around of what I will buy at the grocery tomorrow for my boy, for his packed lunches at camp next week. I fucking went to the movies a couple of weeks ago and was able to get a big bucket of popcorn and a drink and sit in a recliner! And now I can sit on my my couch, enjoy a glass of wine and relax instead of going to a second or third job.

I’m good.


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