Monday, June 22, 2015

Ice cold ...


It all started on Thursday morning when I was gums-deep in an everything bagel. I felt this strange sucking sensation in the left side of my mouth and at about mid-chew I realized that the crown on my molar had disengaged. I poked around at jagged tooth fragment with my tongue while drooling swear words and dialing my dentist.

("People still eat bagels?" he would later ask me. Touche, Dr. B.)

Turns out it was my lucky day. It was just a temporary crown, a placeholder while my real crown was being crafted into a porcelain facsimile of a tooth by a team of dental artisans with tiny, nimble fingers. So instead of getting on some sort of emergency visit list, I decided to tough it out through one weekend and one half marathon until my followup appointment on Monday.

This wasn't necessarily the right decision, but what's life without a few spine shaking temperature shocks on an exposed tooth nerve or whatever.

So I was still in the Porta-Potty when the race started. This was a better position than it should have been. I'd pulled one of those look-clueless, insert-self-toward-front-of-line tricks that work so well in crowds of passive Northern folk. So I'd graduated to about fifth in line when they sang the official "Star Spangled Banner" and I was singeing my nostrils with strangers' high-fiber runner waste when the start-horn blasted.

This was the first time I set out to run 13.1 miles without considering that I wouldn't finish or that the whole thing would end with me in with a Saucony-sponsored body bag. I won't say I trained-trained. That was derailed about midway through the 12-week pre-race period. Even though I wasn't running-running, I was still using the elliptical machine and sometimes working out for the duration of two episodes of "The Good Wife." I considered this the equivalent of about a 7-8 mile run. I'm not ridiculous enough to believe that cruising on an elliptical and running on Scenic Hwy. 61 have anything in common and I'm not going to waste my I-Have-A-Toddler card on explaining how it's tricky to get away to perform something that more accurately represents a long run. I knew I would finish. I had no idea how long it would take me. I bored myself by repeatedly saying to well-wishers, "I haven't trained, but I'm in better shape than I usually am."

I planned to smile, point myself west and go.

So that's what I did. Except, for the first time in my personal history of half-marathons, I was cranky. My socks were too thin and my foot was sliding around in my shoe. Some women were wearing matching T-shirts with matching cocky runner statements -- but they were walking. Someone running behind me said to someone else: "So how are your summer classes going?" and then they talked about that for too long.

Some dude chugged up the middle of the road and yelled:

"WHAT'S COOLER THAN BEING COOL?!" And there were a few half-assed "Hey Ya"-approved responses ("Ice cold.")

I spent two miles trying to remember how I knew the woman who had just passed me. I was pretty sure her name was Lisa. We'd met under circumstances that were athletic. Grr. I figured out eventually that she was part of a story I'd written earlier this year, but not before wringing out every ounce of my brain.

I had to dart around parties that ran three-wide and the miles weren't passing as quickly as I'd hoped.

Every time I chugged a drink at a water station, and I hit them all, the liquid blasted my absent molar-spot and made me yowl in pain.

And did I mention my feet, sliding around in my Nikes?

The only part that was working was this mist-o-rain that was absolutely terrific and should accompany every half-marathon. That was incredible. And despite it's corniness, seeing my people parked beneath the Skywalk gave me a nice boost, too.

I finished 15 minutes faster than last year, but about 10 minutes slower than when I last opposite-of-trained and just stayed up all night so I didn't miss the early morning start. I couldn't find my way out of the gated runner area. Chacha insisted on being carried by me for the mile-plus walk back to the car. My socks had holes and were bloodied and, rookie error, I'd forgotten to cut my toenails so my toe skin was shredded into something far more festive looking than a foot.

Then I ate the best omelette ever. I've been limping for two days.

Chacha ran her first race of the season on Friday. She did not win. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Half and half ...

I come to you from my bed where, in true pre-half marathon fashion, I've opted to submerge myself in cozy blankets rather than use the elliptical machine in the basement in a way that resembles running. I always lose by zsa zsa zu for running well before race day. I've got a weird cold that feels like my lungs are getting squished and I recently found out that it is impossible for me to win the 7-week fitness challenge I'm competing in, so motivation is at an all-time low. Plus, if all this running has taught me anything, it's this: I miss writing things.

To that end, just before this, I wrote a very non-reviewish book review that looks more like a journal entry, which was fitting because it was a review of Heidi Julavits' diary. So. In case you were wondering, I liked the book.

Anyway, while I was at the doctor's office (the lung thing, he prescribed me an inhaler) I ran into this woman who announced her arrival by telling me she'd just finished MOWING THE LAWN. THAT'S WHY I LOOK LIKE THIS. When her 3-year-old charge scurried off toward the toys, she yelled after him:

"Come back, J! Grandma has to get a mammogram!"

Which made my day. I love it when people stay in character always and forever. And, truth, I'm pretty sure she told me she's his aunt and not his grandma, so this whole thing is getting really weird.

***

Chacha told me the other day that she'd just burped in her neck.
(She's also told me that she tooted in her butt.)
She called me "Big. Mama."
She told me the only boy in her ECFE class is "cute." (But when he hugged her at Transportation Night, she didn't even pause to stop chewing the sugar cookie.)
She calls the "newspaper" a "zookeeper."

The other day at the park, she and some other park rat rode down adjacent slides at the exact same time and when their feet hit the sand they turned and looked each other and laughed so hard they must have stretched their mouth skin.

And she always goes wildest when she's wearing a tutu.

She got to put her hands in clay and mess around with making a pot, but it was all nullified when I prematurely allowed her access to a Bounce House and she was nearly trampled by a sock-footed 6-year-old with extra high hops.

Today she wanted to put some Ketchup on her eggs, but I know how that goes: She pinches fistfulls of Ketchup and places it deep in her mouth until her fingers are stained red and you never want to eat again.

Except she forgot what Ketchup was called. So she considered the sound it makes and the shape of the bottle and asked me for "Lotion."

"You don't put lotion on eggs," I told her in my most theatrical voice.
She shrugged off the want and I was able to eat without barfing.