Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Running To Stand Still

I apologize for the lack of blog posts lately. With Paige giving up her mid-day nap cold turkey, I've lost my blogging time and any free time I have is used to do online research into how to abandon your family without leaving a trace. Let's just say, life sucks when Paige doesn't nap.

The weather in Oregon turned a few weeks ago. The rain began its hibernation early this year, the sun shook off its rust and we now are looking at a tremendous stretch of bright, 80-degree days that begin with a hint of a cool, refreshing Pacific Northwest crispness in the air in the morning followed by unlimited rays of warm sunshine by afternoon. These days are built for running.

Minus an unfortunate stretch of time in Wisconsin which I've deemed "those fat, alcoholic years," running has been a part of my life. Ran in high school because I sucked at most other sports. Ran well after college to attempt to shed the shame of those early Wisconsin years. Even ran when living in West Bend, Wis., when some hicks in a beat-up pickup truck drove slowly past me and yelled, "Run! Fat ass! Run!" Yeah, that one stung a bit.

I've deemed Paige my "Running Buddy" to get her excited about picking off mile after mile in our suburban town. And, once she dons her sweatshirt and sunglasses, asks for a snack, begs for a water bottle and demands a bag of Little People Princesses to hold and play with while we are running, I finally release the brake on the faded red Baby Jogger stroller (purchased prior to Lucy being born) and we're off.

Most days we do about four miles. Paige loves this one house about 1 3/4 miles away that has a cow mailbox out front (a mailbox with cow legs, head, tail and ears sticking out from it). We run to it, she howls in delight, I continue ahead to the two-mile turnaround and come back (to see the mailbox again on the trip back). Other days I'll push it to five or six miles but we always run past the cow mailbox.

On Friday, I sent Lucy to school with no lunch and not enough money in her school lunch account to buy. God forbid she can't eat popcorn chicken at school. So, I wrote a check and off Paige and I went in the Baby Jogger. Instead of popping onto the main street, we went in the opposite direction and twisted and turned our way through the subdivision's never-ending supply of roads where eventually Lucy's elementary school is located. It's a shade more than a mile from our house.

Of course, by going in the opposite direction, I was peppered with questions about the cow mailbox. Are we going to the cow mailbox? Where is the cow mailbox? Is this the way to the cow mailbox? The distraction of the cow mailbox caused Paige to forget she didn't bring her Little People Princesses with her. At the 0.9-mile mark heading toward the crest of a hill, it started. Screaming. "Daddy! Stop the stroyer! (all "L"s still sound like "Y"s).

I don't like stopping during a run, especially when I know my Running Buddy is pissed off. She explains the situation to me, I decline heading back to the house and try to start pushing up the hill again. Paige goes into bucking-bronco mode. I never thought 35 pounds of fury could stop my momentum but she is shaking the stroller so violently, it is impossible to move forward.

I begrudgingly relent and say we'll go back home. The shaking, screaming and shrieking stop. We run back to where we started, get the toys and traverse the same damn sidewalks to head to Lucy's school. As soon as we drop off the check at the desk, she immediately begins asking about the cow mailbox again.

The plan isn't to go that far but after our detour, I figure, "You want to get nuts!" (in my best George Costanza voice). We push to the cow mailbox and past it. By the time we arrive home we had covered a hilly seven miles. I am spent.

My Running Buddy isn't perfect. Far from it. But as long as the weather stays nice, we'll continue working on our patience and logging more miles than expected, and at least she's not calling me a "fat ass."

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