Got up this morning at OMG o’clock so I could go run 10 miles with the peeps and maybe ride my bike after.
I love/hate Memphis. It’s a cringing kind of love – “Oh, no. He did not.” ”Oh, yes. He did.” But so heartrendingly sincere in all its misguided steps that you go along, trying to ignore the broken parts and loving what you can.
The Rendezvous. Memphis in May. Elvis and Graceland. The River. Paddleboats. The lit “M” arch of the bridge. The Peabody and the ducks. Mid-town. St. Jude. The Greenline, the Farms, the Greenway – and so much more. The politicians, the leadership, the lingering us-vs.-them-vs.-them-vs.-us racial issues that have to be periodically resurrected by some politician, business man or pastor who didn’t get what they wanted, not so much.
Having grown up in Arizona I feel a kinship with the desert that is soul deep. Hot summer evenings when it’s still in the upper 90′s after the sun has gone down, sitting outside with friends, the air as soft as kitten breath on your skin, looking up at bright twinkling stars you can see though a sky not laden with a haze of humidity.
So when I get up for a run in July in Memphis and check weather.com with whom I still have a shaky relationship, but noaa.gov doesn’t seem to quit fit either, and it happily announces that it is currently 75 degrees and NINETY-NINE percent humidity all I can do is shake my head and add another bottle of Gatorade to the pile already in the truck.
By mile 7 I’d sweat so much that my feet were squishing in my shoes while my tired legs constantly tried to remind me that it was SUNDAY, for God’s sake, and should we not be home drinking coffee and looking at the crossword, EH?? Lisa O, my running buddy today, was feeling inexplicably chipper which was an excellent foil to my suffering. After emailing with some of the group yesterday she’d gotten it into her head that she was doing 12 today and by dammit we were doing twelve. Even when Bill, the 12 mile instigator, showed up late and left early (having recently broken his hand in a bike accident and still casted and pinned, he gets a bye on this one for sure). Oh, no. We are doing 12 miles.
“We’re about a half mile from the car and we’ll be at 11, do you think we should just call it?”
“No, we can pass the car, loop the lake and get that last mile.”
“Oh – look! There’s the rest of the peeps waiting for us! Probably we should not make them wait any longer!”
“No, they’re fine.”
“I bet we’ll be at 11.5 at the car, 11.5 is good.”
“Fine, if you want to stop go ahead.”
“But you’ll regret it later….”
ah, dammit. And when we hit 11.80 and she surged, I was right there too. Gonna finish this sucker off with a kick! Then we pulled out the bikes and covered the length of the Greenway, 16.5 miles. The last 3-4 miles I was the sweeper as Lisa, hubs and Catherine pulled strongly ahead. I didn’t care. Running on tired legs, biking on tired legs – day off tomorrow and they can learn to get stronger, it’s all good.
Despite the dead legs, however, it was a great run and I’m definitely glad we got the miles in. I know we got the miles in because when I got home and stood next to the desk my Garmin started beeping excitedly. My Garmin downloads automatically to the computer any time it’s nearby. My Garmin, in fact, is so enthusiastic about downloading to my computer that any time it’s near my computer it downloads, then downloads, then downloads in a continuous loop of data transfer with its beloved, the Garmin ANT agent, until eventually it dies. It’s a bit like Romeo and Juliet, only – and fortunately – after the Garmin has essentially sacrificed itself for love the computer does not do the same. I have to be sure to remember not to leave it on my desk because resurrection takes about 5 hours and I don’t really care to realize, at 7am the next run day, that it’s dead and I will have to wait until noon for it to charge if I want to wear my gadget on the run.
Don’t suggest I run nekked. Don’t wanna. Can’t make me. Love my gadget. Too much joy. I love to come home from a tough run, get cleaned up, sit at my desk all fresh and clean and dry with a cup of coffee or an icy Diet Dr. P. I pull out my running journal. I scroll the training screen on G. and with my favorite pencil I carefully write in the distance, time, pace, HR, who I ran with, splits – anything that seems important to me. Then I look at my journal. Sometimes I just flip the pages and watch them turn. Half the pages’ ears are notched: half a year of running. Half a year of weeks and days and memories of friends, runs, good weather and bad, feeling great and hardly breathing, sighting deer or killdees or bluebirds. All pieces of me, in there.
Today I think I may print a picture and put it in the journal too. We were near 6 miles when Lisa and I stopped to look at the Wolf River, which is quite low right now due to the overall lack of rain lately, but, while still low, was running fairly strongly today since we did have rain the past couple days. It was fun to watch the muddy, stirred up mocha-colored soup of river flow by. Lisa took a pic while I stared myopically at an upended chunk of tree on the opposite shore. Oddly, part of the chunk looked like a cat’s face, turned to look over its shoulder at us.
“Lisa, look at that,” I pointed, “what is it?”
At that moment it stood, stretched, leapt upon the log behind it and then loped into the trees.
‘IT’S A BOBCAT!” Lisa exclaimed, “We just saw a BOBCAT! And no one is going to believe us!”
I don’t know why she thought no one would believe us. I’m deeply hurt. I think anyone who is the Queen of England should not be questioned.
We excitedly looked at the pic on her cell phone. With the glare of the hazy clouds it was difficult to know if we would be able to see the bobcat later, but we could tell she got that part of the river in the frame.
Proof! We saw a bobcat!
Then later – AND YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE THIS!!! -
And this one was so tame, I was able to PET IT!