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Jett Superior laid this on you on || October 20, 2006 || 1:07 pm

Like hell you say!

There is this Skittles commercial that’s aired here: In it there are three cats (two guys, one girl?) sitting atop a rainbow, munching on mountain oysters Skittles Candies. One guy on the left turns to the other two and says, “Hey, what if this rainbow really doesn’t exist?”

PLONK.

A trapdoor suddenly opens under the dummy’s fellow’s backend and he’s cleanly removed from the rainbow, then freefalls out of screen. There’s a whole big discussion on this and biblical parallel creeping around the back of my head, but for brevity’s sake I’ll just tell you what I turned and said to Maxim:

“It was because he doubted, he lost. You’ve gotta live in the Belief.” And I shook my noggin, gears already creaking to life, putting this together up there.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

I got off of work a little early today, effectively allowing me a head start on dinner. I got rice in the pot, stir-fry sauce and chicken ready in another and it occurred to me that I was dying to get out of the house and run. I’d leave that much of the dinner simmering while I ran, then add veggies and heat eggrolls when I came back.

Plan. Gotta love it.

On a whim I asked Mathias The Skinny Seven if he’d like to go with me. He was beyond excited at this notion (I don’t know if it was the thought of running or the thought of getting alone time with mom that enticed him, but that kid got crazy lit up about some jogging) and I directed him to change his denim shorts to athletic ones and to put on some sneakers. I went to change; I love this time of year and the crazy dressing it entails. Shorts? Yes. Big-assed hoodie. Of course, yes! Let us awaaaaaay!

Part of me quietly questioned whether running with a seven-year-old was just sheer lunacy, but as with all of my other finer reality-slippage moments, I proceeded boldly.

First I taught him some basic stretches, because I don’t give two shits what anyone else says, you have a better time overall if you’ve warmed up some. Then we walked to the end of our driveway, talking. It was decided that I would decide the first turn and Mathias would decide our direction thereafter. I chose right, and we started up the street, where we made a left. I told him the basics, run with the traffic, stay as far to the right as possible when there is no sidewalk. And, “for jeezpete, no sudden stops in front of mommy.”

We pounded away, gaits very different. For such a knobby kid, Mathias sure makes a powerful bit of noise. I tend to run on my toes a bit. I think that’s from running track and playing soccer all those years. Mathias seems to be doing it flatfooted, literally slapping one foot in front of the other. I tried to keep the pace easy, but he was having not a bit of it.

“Mathias, if you get tuckered, let me know and we can walk for a little bit.”

“Okay, mom.”

We ran, passing one block, then another, then another. A historical building, stately trees, stop sign and stop sign and stop sign, us jogging in place patiently if cars were coming. About halfway in, Mathias slowed it to a quick walk before picking up the pace a tenth of a mile later. We were coming up the back side of our block when Mathias said, “I hear Baxter.”

Baxter was having none of this business involving shadowy figures running down the next block. We made a left, then a left again, and there was our drive. It merited a sprint, whereupon I bent to hug –then high-five– my son.

“Thanks for the run. Go on in and get your shower; I’ll be in in a minute.”

I walked in small circles, looping about the drive. When sufficiently slowed on my insides as well as my out, I raised my head. I stared hard up at the night sky, bangs shocked out wildly from my hood, before saying, “Oh my God, thank you.”

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Back in May of last year I had an accident. I don’t think I’ve told the full story of that day yet (I was pretty doped up for a while, then pretty busy playing catch-up on life), but it’s kinda damned amazing that I am sitting here, much less sitting here with all my bits and (a few extra hand-crafted and skillfully applied) parts.

You see, the extent of my injuries was one Pretty Impressively Fucked Up ankle, right side. This meant some serious surgeries. That meant that there was to be no driving (no job, natch), no jumping about, no getting up off of your elevated-leg-having ass. There was a boring morass of humid, television-filled days ahead. Thank God for the oversized ottoman, because it was one bulky pleasure in a sea of discomfort and discontent. When I was first in the hospital, they had me maximum high. I know this because I remember thinking, “Oh, this isn’t so very bad,” when it came time for me to haul up out of bed and get to the bathroom. Also because I made lofty plans: I Will Use This Time To Be A Prolific Writer. Drug-addled pronouncements are just so dang cute. Cute in the same way that five-year-old pronoucements are: “I know everfang. Just axe me.”

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Apparently the wise and wonderful doctorman told Maxim early on that I’d not ever have full function from that foot-and-leg combo again. There would be loss of range, as well as a decent limp. Maxim did not tell me this. About six weeks into my recovery (ass-end still fixed to the couch) I heard this in a roundabout way. I pursed my lips and filed a burning question right in the forefront of my recollection. When I went back to the orthopaedist, I made sure to shoot it at him –full-bore and flaming– straight into his face. I wanted to hear it directly from him; his mouth to my innards.

I shook my head at him and momentarily dispelled our very congenial relationship to Speak My Piece.

The hell you say.”

There were a lot of dreams and visions during this time, some horrifying, some consoling, and I wrote several of them down. There were some that I didn’t have to capture and quantify with words, however. There were all of me, running along, hair flying back from my face, feeling the same sort of excited freedom I used to feel while doing it.

Running for the sake of running. Running because it felt good to do so. Running for running’s sake.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

I used to be consumed with athletic endeavors. Basketball, cheer, track, softball, soccer; I did it all, sometimes concurrently. I loved to compete, I loved to get up and move, I loved to exert myself. There were times that I pushed myself beyond my physical means and ended up puking like a new frat boy at a ten-tapper.

At some point, I allowed extreme exertion to become rote and planned. It started, I think, when I was preparing for boot camp. Several days a week, I’d go out to MCAS Kaneohe and, in full gear, run up a hellishly steep hill. After I conditioned myself physically, I requested mental conditioning. This consisted of The Young Marine and three of his buddies running with me. Only they didn’t have an alice pack on, and they were having a great deal of fun heckling me. Two would run behind while two ran alongside, sometimes circling me, screaming their fool heads off. After a bit, those of the yelling persuasion would fall back and then the other two would pick up where things left off. The idea was to train me to train, to be as streamlined and focused and ready to absorb as I could possibly be when I hit Parris Island. Shit, I wanted to be Molly Marine.

‘Crazy but effective’, I need that on a tee-shirt.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

For the better part of seventeen months now, I’ve woken up with some sort of pain or stiffness in my ankle that radiates up the front of my leg and peters out about halfway to my knee. My husband thinks I came out of my brace too early. I think if I was still relying on that brace, I’d Officially Be Fucked. It’s not the first thing we’ve ever agreed to disagree on, and it won’t be the last.

Long about month ten I began to think that, since I could now walk fourteen feet without my leg screaming fire, it might be time to get back into the gym…I used to be a regular and just kind of let life get in front of me. My boss immediately put me on his membership, along with one of the other girls in the office. She and I had/have similar theories and beliefs with regard to working out, so we became partners in the effort.

I do not deal well with appearing weak to others. That being said, the first few weeks going to the gym entailed a lot of humility, as I could barely even get up a hill on the outside track without sweating bullets marked ‘hurt’ and ‘@$#&%!’. It was embarrassing to be someone that started out okay and limped, panting with pain, after twenty feet of fast walking.

I ate like a horse the first week, and went on the nods a lot during slow moments. The full mile of track was indeed kicking mine arse. But after just that first week, I began to see progress. My ankle would swell up to softball size after working out, but within hours would be smaller than it had started out fresh from a night in bed. I was limbering the tightly-bunched parts in there. Getting the lymph flowing, busting up some calcifications that had formed.

After the first six weeks, I recalled my promise to an earlier version of self:

“When I get both of my feet back, I’m going to start running once again.

“Whether or not anyone is chasing me.”

and I started doing so, five feet at a time. It seemed like it took forever before I could run open, flat (if curvy) stretches of track. Hills? Running? Out of the question for some time, but I kept at it. “I am stronger today than I was yesterday,” was my mantra, chanted to myself over and over in moments of ‘just quittitude’.

“I can do this,” I would encourage myself; “I can do this,” I’d spit at myself. The tone of voice utilized depended on the outlook of the day. It worked. The first day I ran a hill –down, across a wooden bridge, and up sharply again– I dropped to my knees on the ground next to the track, placed my forehead to the grass and just breathed, quiet and thankful.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

These days I have no noticeable limp unless I’m wearing especially tall heels (something which, by the way, required its own training…wacky) or I’m very, very fatigued. Even then, it just looks as if I’m merely employing a sort of shambly walk. Pain is intermittent now, and mostly evidences itself as an occasional throbbing or dull ache.

Two weeks ago marks my first solid mile since I began lifting and running. I was ecstatic on that day, and ever since then, running has not seemed such drudgery. I’m returning to a place where to run means I’m free, I’m fluid, I’m triumphant: The feeling in my dreams, where running felt like soaring. My injuries taught me a lesson about taking my body and things in general to do with it for granted. It gave me a better understanding of what it might mean to live disabled and/or with chronic pain. It made me thankful for what I have, my capabilities, the ability to work back to where I once was. Hell, maybe at some point, I’ll be even better than I previously could claim.

And that, bless it, was the reason I stood in the cool night air, face toward the stars and thanked My Creator for his infinite grace, mercy and healing.

2 worked it out »

  1. c 10.20.2006

    amen

     
  2. becky 10.20.2006

    wow.

    and add another amen to that one.

     

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