Sunday, February 7, 2010


Twenty degrees lined up outside the backdoor this morning.  I appreciated each one of them.  I pulled on my underarmor, sweatpants and jacket and dived in.  The roads had been plowed for a reason.  I couldn't let that effort go to waste.

After a mile -- why don't I stretch first, especially on a frigid day -- my right calf started whining.  I tried to talk the stubborn muscle into relaxing, but it gradually got worse.  I stopped, stretched, and walked.  Then I tried a little massage, more stretching, walking, jogging.  Stop, stretch, massage, walk, jog.  The pain lingered, but I ran the 7 miles I'd planned, to make a deposit at our nearest ATM.  Even country boys have access to ATMs.

I thought back to the day I learned to ride a bike, on the lawn of the farmhouse we rented in rural Ohio.  My training wheels made me feel and look like a baby and my dad thought it was time.  He ran alongside, then let me go.  Twenty feet.  Boom.  "You okay?  You've almost got it."  A few more tries and I was a cyclist.

Diving was next.  First, jump in backwards.  Ouch!  My chin hit the side of the pool.  "Next time, jump back a little farther," Dad said as he drove me to the doctor for stitches.  I vaguely remember thinking I'd already figured that out for myself.  About three days later, he says, "Let's try again.  The longer you wait, the harder it is."

That became a mantra for life.  It's what you say after being thrown by a horse, flubbing a flip off the high diving board, or exiting a bad interview.  Skydiving?  I won't go that far.

I'm pretty sure this morning's problem was just a little muscle cramp or tear.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow's run, even though the calf is mooing now.

"Your dad's been gone 12 years, right?" asks Virginia.

"I don't think so," I say.

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