Monday, March 21, 2011

Back to Night Running

I have a case of hay fever. Granted it may just be allergies, but my nose is red from blowing it, my ears are ringing and oddly itchy inside, and I have to tilt my head occasionally to gain my balance back. I took allergy medicine, a decongestant, smeared myself with stinky herbal stuff, and ate more garlic today than I have in a month (and, I do love me some garlic).

Still, even medicated, I wheezed, coughed and sneezed all day. When I got home, I put on some running gear, Dorothy bowed to my shoes, put a water bottle beside my car and we trotted off. My second time to the El Scorcho 50K is not that far away.

My thoughts were, that yes, I could get worse breathing in the pollen enemy, or I could shock my system. Beat it to submission. Tough girl Raarrrh! One mile, two mile... a little wheezing. At 2.5 miles, I began looking around my neighborhood again. My breath was steady. I have been running and hashing different places and taking the easy tromping approach to running. Just go when and were I can as long as I could without hurting myself. One run was a tail marathon after not running for 8 weeks. Yep, my first ever 26.2 miles. That one, well, hurt. Not advised.

Houses were now tidy with new landscaping and painted brick. Someone must have had a pipe burst because the front yard was dug up and plywood placed everywhere. Houses for sale. Old pot holes were patched. One house with the roof ripped off yawned to the night.

Dorothy still knew the route after months of not running here. I let her pull me along with thoughts of work projects in my head until, coming around the corner, I see what looks like a gurney with a body bag. Really? Two people wearing paper gowns over their clothing were guiding the gurney and long black plastic bag into a waiting suburban. Yes, just like the movies and TV shows. Three police officers were talking to someone hidden in the shadows with firm concerned words, not in hushed consoling tones. What happened here? Lights were not blazing, CAUTION tape was not wrapped around the house, and no chalk lines on the road. Seeing my headlamp and an obvious green dog in the street lamp light, one of the police officers looked at me. I nod, not really knowing to stop and give condolences or just keep tromping. He looks at Dorothy with a questioned look and tilted head. Hrm? I really did not want to get in the way. I chose to keep tromping disappeared into the shadows.

I was then quiet, listening to my feet tap on the ground and Dorothy's tags and leash jingle. I see a walking couple come around the corner and one says, "With that light, I thought you were a train comin' round the bend!" I smile a hello, and keep tromping. Then, even though my breath had been steady, it caught. My chest tightened like I wanted to cry. I wheezed and became lightheaded. Short, shallow little breaths. Panic feeling rushed up into my chest. Who was this person? Was it a usual procedure for police to show up when you die? Then Sesame Street sang in my head, "Do you know the people in your neighborhood? The people you meet each day?" I see people everyday. They wave as I am getting in my car for work. They watch me run at night. Sometimes, they cheer with the number of times I've been around. Maybe it is out of shyness or focus or stranger danger, or whatever, I always say hello, but I do not know their names. Like the grandfather who sits in the driveway on his woven lawn chair surrounded by his concrete lions and flowers drinking wine. He sometimes has a newspaper. "How many you and Dots doin' today?" "Five laps," I reply. "Okay girl, keep it up!"

With this all roaming in my head, I keep tromping. At 3 miles, I stop for water at my driveway. Dorothy pulls me back to the street for another loop. I stand there, wheezing, and look at her wanting to call it a night. Tug, tug. Wag, wag. Front feet step in place. Tilted head with ears up. "Okay, runner dog. One more." We tromp another mile and loop at 4 to the house with the odd scene. Nothing was there. The house was dark and quiet. Wind chimes sang in the wind. As if, nothing happened there. No one in the yard. No lights on, and no cars rushing to the house.

I finish at 5 miles not really wanting to see that house again. Dorothy was panting and did not object. I went inside. Fresh water for Dorothy. Shower for me. Who was that? I need to know names.

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