So, I laced ‘em up and hit my regular suburbia running route the other night. Take a left out of my neighborhood and down the sidewalk, over the dirt path created when the new ‘hood being built ripped up my sidewalk several months ago. Only, now they had the sidewalk completely blocked off with tractors and other large, menacing, smoke-belching machinery.
My four and a half mile run turned into an impromptu steeplechase.
Here I was hurdling the ditch to get to the road. Here I was sticking my shoes into a patch of mud. Here I was mother-humperdinking like a mother-humperdinker.
Then, here I was avoiding the rush hour traffic on the road so as not to join the dead raccoon carcass festering on the median beneath a swarm of flies.
If I wasn’t so worried about the Chevy Suburban hurtling towards me, I would have raised a fist and shouted something clever with the proper degree of righteous indignation at the shovel wielding Run Ruiners. Instead, I pushed on intent to put the sidewalk chaos behind me. Until I stepped in a puddle of water. Apparently, I didn’t clear the last hurdle.
The next couple of miles were uneventful. Flat concrete. A couple of Garmin stopping, nuisance intersections. Several inhaled bugs. A brief contemplation on the transcendentalist movement during the 2nd Great Awakening. And a quick 360 scan for the All Clear to Fart signal (Note: This sometimes unintentionally becomes the All Clear to Shard signal. Again, unintentionally.)
There is no way to avoid the monster Tonka trucks on the way back unless I wanted to turn my short run into a medium run, which I had no time to do. So, back into the steeplechase, though this time with better mental preparation. I decided to fore go the clever pointed comment I had for the several large men busy providing a place for their shovels to lean . They were within shovel whacking distance.
Back out onto the road, navigating the water puddle. Around the orange pylons. Here comes the ditch. It’s several feet wide but, by this time, I have visions of my inner gazelle springing across the divide and landing in full majestic stride. I’m going to show them. My friend’s say the animal I most resemble is a horse’s ass but, no, no, it’s definitely a gazelle. Now’s my chance to prove it.
Right foot planted; left foot swings ahead. Leap. High into the air. What a great start! Maybe I am a gazelle. This is going great. Wait. No. No, it’s not. I’m coming up short.
My left leg jams into the ditch a foot short of the western summit. My head and shoulders snap forward. That hurt. My vision of bounding away gracefully down the sidewalk is destroyed. It’s replaced by the reality of a barbed wire tangled, wounded gazelle scrambling out of the ditch and staggering on amidst, one can only imagine, the shared smirks of the Run Ruiners. But I’m none the worse for wear and still have a hard ¾ mile pick-up run to go through my neighborhood.
Once complete, I limp to the door of my house and cross the threshold tugging violently backwards. My pride, dragging behind me, is caught in the screen door. Gathering it like a flaccid (+2) parachute, I slunk into the house. My eyes aren’t focusing. My neck hurts. Something is not right.
After some cool down, it’s clear that the left side of my neck has pulled or torn a muscle. It’s stinging. I’m doing an unwanted Quasimodo impersonation. I’m thinking a small monkey has climbed onto my back and is stabbing me just to the left of my spine. A quick check in the mirror reveals no monkey. Though I do need to wash better. (Is that a piece of hot dog back there?)
The last few days, my invisible monkey has continued to stab away. Heat pads, ice, and pathetic pleas for Mrs. Nitmos sponsored back rubs won’t take the tormenting monkey away.
My running route is (temporarily) destroyed.
In the meantime, I need to find a way to get this monkey off my back.
Have a safe, fun Memorial Weekend!
Update: My knee is now swollen. Those dirty S.O.B's.