Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wanna Race?

I was almost done working and came across a very sweet patient of mine who was going home soon, and doing laps with his walker in the hallway as I had asked him to do. I came alongside him and said, "Wanna race?" He proceeds to bolt down the hallway and let me tell you I almost had a heart attack. But I also had the first good laugh for a long while.

I like to write about running. Running in the redwoods, on the beach, through the marsh and even on the track, as I am a fool for a good interval workout. But if you are not running, you cannot really write about running. The brief, panic-stricken jog down the hallway of the hospital with my walker-driving opponent is as about as close to a real run I have had for awhile.

It is not that I cannot run. I am not (knock on wood) injured. I am packing extra pounds for sure, from lack of activity, lack of sleep, and too much snack-scrounging from the despicably unhealthy doctor lounge. It is just that a 150 hour work week sort of takes the wind out of my sails. Plus, my community has become so laden with crime (methamphetamines, heroin, methamphetamines, pot, methamphetamines, poverty) that running in the dark seems a lot scarier than it used to. In my town, a gentle priest is not even safe from the violence. And when I now realize it is necessary to ask even the septuagenarians about their meth use, because apparently there is no age limit to this shit, my illusion of a sort of peacefulness in rural living is shot quite dead.

I will run this weekend. 13.1 miles with my eldest kid. Her first half and my first half where I am not trying to break any records and just hope to God I can finish the thing. The course is described as "one of the fastest in the San Diego area and the US", which makes me picture one of those moving walkways like in airports, but instead a moving half marathon course and man does it move fast.
I mean, doesn't the runner do the fast part? What exactly does the COURSE have to do with being fast? Yeah, sure, it is flat or lacks wind or whatever. But really, fast runners run fast wherever. This weekend, I will not be among them. I shall be very happy and content though for two reasons:
1) not at work
2) with my daughter

Running is not just about not being the blob I have become in recent weeks, thanks to work.
Running is not just about winning races or being a fasty.

Running, like Beethoven and sleep, is about survival. And I have not had any Beethoven, decent sleep or running since


I cannot actually really remember when.

Also, Buster died. Just a dog. But the grief is heavy.

It makes me wonder: what am I doing, exactly?

And what really matters?