Touching Twenty and Other Stories

How do you know when your worlds are colliding? You can’t remember who you said what to nor when. Or…if you even said anything at all. That’s the worst.

It’s been over two weeks since my last confession. In that space of time I have traveled to Peaks (ran 11.73), sailed to Monhegan (ran 5.22), went to NoHo (ran 19.73), and ended up in Holyoke (ran 5.38). Every location was punctuated with a run but the lasting memory was that of a connection.

Peaks. Peaks was a chance to reconnect to my sister. Have I mentioned how much I love this island? And yet, for this visit it was a place of worry (El Faro – need I say more?) and indecision (would the boat run to Monhegan? What would Joaquin do?). I wanted to stay in the cradle of Casco Bay for one more night, if only to clear the questions and keep close to my sister.

Monhegan. What can I say about 04852 that hasn’t already been said? A twilight run without biting dogs and bird watchers. That was great but honestly, it wasn’t the best part. Heaven came when Kisa and I got to spend every afternoon down by the ocean. Sifting through sea glass and watching the setting sun; lulled by the insistence of the rising tide. Heaven was made perfect when my mother was able to get away from tourist obligations and join us just in time for the sunset.

Northampton. This is when I almost touched twenty. But, the story is not about running 19.73 miles. The story is in what happened next. After the 19+ the Nike running belt I was wearing, the one that weighs next to nothing, was killing my lower back. Don’t ask me how. It just was. I don’t remember taking it off but somewhere between here and there I lost it. Dropped it. Whatever. Despite dead of night searching it was gone, gone, gone. Outwardly, I thanked my lucky stars the only thing in it was a tube of Burts and my butt ugly drivers license (good riddance although I ordered a replacement immediately). Inside, I was quietly dying. That belt had seen me through countless miles of walking and running. I was going to miss it. Fast forward a day. I get a message from a colleague. Her friend found the belt about 15 miles away while he was on an extra long bike ride. After looking me up on FB he discovered our mutual friend and had her get in touch with me. So, here’s this guy, riding his bike in an area he usually doesn’t frequent, finding my belt. He does some social media stalking and discovers he knows my colleague and the only reason why I know her is because she went to school with Kisa. That’s the crazy thing – this mutual friend was originally my husband’s friend from high school. As a colleague, she’s an adjunct; barely on campus. Our paths don’t cross ever. Ever. Now I have reconnected with my belt and soon (oh joy) I’ll have two (two!) butt ugly licenses. Ah! The power of social media.

Holyoke. Ashley Reservoir. I love this place, oddly enough, almost as much as Florence and Monhegan. It’s a different kind of place – one that I can’t really explain. The run itself was a nondescript 5.38 miles. The devil is in the details: my pace was a steady 9:17. For those of you who don’t know this turtle, sub-10 is my race pace. Not my gentle recovery run pace. But, But. But! Not once did I tell moi or myself we were running too fast for my heart to keep up. Not once did my lungs ask for a break. If anything my legs connected with my madness and we raced against the clouds in the darkening sky. In the end we felt joy in the raindrops that seemed to wait until the end of the run to fall.

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Categories: Confessional, running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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