I had so much to do this weekend.
Work – tons of it – hours and hours.
Clean out my truck – you know, skis and shit.
Fix the broken window in my truck – in case, after getting my skis out of there, I decide that I want to pack my camping gear so that I am ready on the turn of a dime.
Write a piece for a book that I’ve been contracted for a contribution.
What did I do?
Not taxes, not dishes, not work.
I ran a load of laundry but then walked away from it for two days so everything has to be washed all over again to get rid of the still-wet stink.
I went for a run. I went to yoga. I napped. I went to the desert.
When I ran on Friday, I decided to try something new.
I know, totally new concept.
At 54 I’ve discovered what the rest of the world seems to know; to stretch is to not hurt.
I’ve been struggling with my running for a few years – my problems have gotten progressively worse, and yet I have continued to put one foot in front of the other because for as much effort as it takes, running with lead-filled legs is better than not running at all.
The other major problem with my running has been the need to pee. And pee.
Since giving birth, I haven’t been able to run more than 100 yards without stopping to dribble.
Between my legs becoming hard as a rock within 25 steps and then having to stop and drop my pants, my runs have become far from fluid and have consisted of this weird pace of runwalking that I can continue for 15 miles but certainly wouldn’t want anyone to witness.
Post-surgery, post convalescence, I have realized that I am fragile. That as tough as I am, my body needs more care than it did when I was 30 and could do 10 miles, off the couch, with not a sore muscle afterward.
I’ve realized that perhaps, I need to take a little bit better care of things (me) so that I no longer have to live by the motto, “Pain is inevitable, suffering, optional.”
So on Friday, as I am clawing my way back to the land of the living, I decided that I would try this stretching thing. I climbed up to a slickrock bench overlooking a canyon and spent 30 minutes doing a combination of yoga and 1980’s field hockey stretches.
And lo and behold, I could run. for the first time in years, my breathing, not my legs, wore out. This may not seem like a big deal to most, but I feel as if I have just discovered sliced bread; something everyone else knew existed, but I hadn’t bothered to try.
Also, because of the surgery, my bladder is fixed – back to “normal” – and I can bounce without anything falling or pouring out.
This means, for the first time in 22 years, I can drink water when I run.
Before it wasn’t worth it. One sip of H2O and it would dribble right down my leg with the first two steps. I have been dehydrated for YEARS.
Between the stretching and the drinking, I felt like a powerhouse superhero Olympic athlete for almost all 3 miles.
Everything changed. I have found a new love and appreciation for this tired old body. I am reveling in taking care of this bag of bones that has taken such good care of me over the years.
And with my new joy, I decided that I should definitely go to yoga on Saturday. Which I did, but then needed a nap to recover in the afternoon. And then, wanting to try out this stretching thing again, I had to go to the desert to see how it worked there.
We hiked, then we stretched, then we hiked more. And I felt great afterward.
Until I got home to the piles of dirty dishes and stinky laundry and shit tons of work that got ignored while I practiced being an athlete.
Which is why I had to say goodbye to TAM (This Amazing Man) last night and sit at home, alone, late into the evening reading through handwritten letters from prison inmates.
And which is also why I have been up since 5 am pouring coffee down my throat, reading more of those letters to prep for a meeting this morning in just a couple of hours.
My dog won’t even get up yet.
And as I sit here with a pile of files on my lap, all I can think about is my new discovery of athletic prepping, so instead of those fucking files, I’m blogging about running.
Still playing hooky.