Grouchy Running Guy

My Nana turned 82 last week.  As a birthday gift for her, my aunts arranged for the family to come over on Sunday and re-do the landscaping in Nana’s front yard.  I assured Catch that there would be so many of us that it would be no big deal and we’d be done in a couple of hours.

Unfortunately, only a small percentage of the family actually showed up.  What could have been a little work ended up being quite a lot of WORK.  Shoveling, squatting, bending, kneeling—all very physical, and very tiring.

When I woke up on Monday morning, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.  I could barely move my arms and legs.  Unfortunately, Monday also happened to be the day this week that I was free to do whatever I wanted after work, and what I wanted was to go for a run. 

I never run out in the real world.  I prefer sweating it out in the privacy of our bedroom, where our treadmill lives.  I know, though, that running on real solid ground is not the same as running on the treadmill, and I really want to start working on the whole solid ground thing.  (Goalz—I haz them.)

So, I mapped out a very short, 2-ish mile run from my office complex to a local park, then two laps around the park and back to the office.  I left the office in my running clothes and made my way through the building feeling totally exposed despite being appropriately covered.

I hid behind some bushes to stretch.  It probably made me look insanely creepy, but it felt better to do my pre-run lunges in the privacy of shrubbery than for an audience of the Baja Fresh patio next door. 

Then, I was off.  Running from my office.  Oh, the irony.

I failed to take into consideration that it would be about 80+ degrees and totally sunny at 4 pm on the first Monday of Daylight Saving Time.  It was hot.  I was already sore and uncomfortable.  This was going to be a SLOW run.

There was another gentleman running around the park in the opposite direction.  We passed each other a few times—he was running significantly faster than me.  As we passed, I would look up with the intention of smiling, but he never looked at me.  Eventually, I just figured that a) he was just a grouchy guy or b) there’s some unspoken rule that I’m not aware of about interacting with other runners. 

Toward the end of my last lap around the park, I was really struggling.  The sun was getting to me and I was so sore and tired.  I felt like there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to keep running all the way back to the office.  I started to negotiate with myself.  Just finish this lap and then you can walk back. 

Suddenly, I look up and find myself face to face with grouchy running guy.  He gave me a big smile and a thumbs up.  I gave him the biggest smile I was capable of in my total misery.  I know it couldn’t possibly have conveyed how much that thumbs up meant to me, but I hope it gave him an inkling.  His gesture was all it took to give me the final push I needed.  I picked up the pace a bit and ran my ass off all the way back to the office. 

Thanks, grouchy running guy.  I really needed that.

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