I should have listened to Tom T. Hall and added the Watermelon Wine to my morning–or something stronger–because I needed it.
Monday morning I convinced myself to go for a run in preparation for a 5K that’s been staring me down from the calendar for the past couple of months. As I’ve admitted in an older post, I’m not really a runner. I’m a poser trying to control the jiggle that seems to be accumulating around my belly and the shaking ‘triceps’ that make me feel like a grandma when I wave. At any rate, I’m trying. In between ice cream cones and icy Cokes, I’m trying.
So, as I said, Monday morning I peeled myself out of our new king size bed, ate my farm-fresh protein and laced up my fancy new shoes. At this point I should have grabbed some sort of tranquilzer or legal drug, regardless of the fact that it was well before noon. I would soon come to regret–deeply regret–this oversight, but then again, how could I have known the trouble awaiting me? Who would have thought that 2.8 miles could be so. difficult.
Just an innocent suburban mom trying to keep the flab at bay, trying to go for a run… with three kids and a dog. We had done it a million times before and made it home safe and sound. That day, however, would open a chapter that demanded the book be *slammed* shut and put away until all bike sprokets are at least 10 inches in diameter and the little legs that propel the sprokets are at least two feet long and full of energy.
Things started off OK for the first block. Chris Tomlin was singing his praises in my ears, and I could feel my legs moving without effort. We got down to our friends’ house on the next block [we can see them from our mailbox, so it’s NOT that far!] and already Morgan, our youngest was whipping up some fake tears and complaining of some kind of devastating leg pain. I stopped, trying to run in place, not wanting to miss out on Chris getting to the good part, and tried to yell over my huffing breath. He was not happy. My friend was in her driveway and graciously offered to watch him while I kept going, but in the move of a century, I declined. Big mistake.
By the time we reached the edge of our neighborhood I had already stopped four times and was starting to see the writing on the wall. This was not going to help my ‘training’ at all unless I planned to stop and walk this much during the actual race, and I assure you, I do not. Still, I don’t want to raise kids who give up at the slightest discomfort or heat-induced irritation, so I kept going [stupid] and hoped he would follow like a fluffy little gosling traipsing blindly behind mother goose.
We reached our turn-around point with the help of my daughter sticking to his side and letting me keep my pace. Pretty soon though, sweat was emerging from his lime green Diego helmet and he was doing nothing to mask his annoyance that I would have the audacity to continue running. And that’s when the proverbial wheels fell off and we descended into the eighth circle of hell. I conceded defeat, ripped my earphones from my ears, turned off David Crowder, and tried earnestly to be concerned about his [fake] injury.
In between sobs he pleaded that he did NOT want to ride his bike. He did NOT want me to run. He did NOT want to be at the back of the line, unable to keep up with the rest of us. He did NOT want to be on the bike trail, and he DID want to be at home.
Well, what was I to do? I’ve always wanted the super power to beam myself instantly to a new location, but clearly, it still elludes me. So, I let him dismount and walk, and I took over walking his 12 inch bike. Yes, that’s right: a bike with 12 inch wheels, perfect for a three year-old, but more perfect when he’s riding it.
After about 100 yards of that nonsense, bending over like an old woman picking strawberries in the sun, I begged my oldest to ride the mini-bike, allowing me to push a 10-speed that was closer to my height. Now I was only bending over like determined garage-saler looking for another deal on someone’s table. Not as bad.
That was going swell until I saw the mini-bike come to a screeching halt on the path ahead of me.
Super. I thought. Honestly, WHAT could it be now?!
I was dying to run ahead to diagnose the problem, but Morgan was walking so slow that I had to actually stop to wait for him to catch up. Walking. I felt like I was stuck in the returns-lane at Kohl’s after Christmas. Move ahead, stop. Move ahead, stop. Flames were building up and shooting out of my ears. My hair was singed and I could practically smell it burning, I was so mad.
We finally made it up to my son on the mini-bike where he divulged the last in a series of blunders that broke the camel’s back: the chain on the bike had fallen off.
Mom? He asked cautiously. Could I ride the 10-speed again, because I can’t even ride this bike anymore.
Well for crying OUT LOUD, I thought. Of course I gave him the bike. I mean, I had to.
He looked at me and said, “You know mom, we’re supposed to be slow to anger, remember?”
Well for CRYING OUT LOUD!!! I thought again. I replied, calmly, that I was slow to anger. It took me 2 miles to get this angry.
Refusing to go back to strawberry picking with the mini-bike, I decided the only option I had was to carry it. Carry it the remaining .8 miles home. While my youngest son walked in the Kohl’s return line with the dog–who walked equally as slow–I carried the blasted bike. All. The. Way. Home.
I did not get a workout. I did not get washboard abs. What I did get was a series of red indentations on my arm from supporting the weight of the cotton-pickin’ bike, which remained on my arm for THREE HOURS after my “run.”
And so, the moral of the story is: Old dogs and children do not make good running partners. If, in an emergency you MUST take small children and old dogs, forget about Chris Tomlin on your iPod. Forget about any so-called time to “commune with nature.” Forget about trying to have a bless-ed 25 minutes to yourself.
Just don’t forget the watermelon wine. Or something stronger. You’ll need it.