Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chariots of Fire

So I've been a little absent the last couple of days. Sorry about that. I've really started writing my book and I've found that its not a switch that I can just shut off for the day. I'm currently writing about "the day"-- the day my world turned upside down. The day of Darrell's plane crash. I kept a journal during that time. Reading my journal brings it all back but writing it, dialogue and all it makes me feel like I'm there again. So I write and I become immersed in the panic and the fear that I felt then and then I have to shake it off and live in the real world. I feel like I'm living in two worlds right now. I have heard that some writers go into seclusion when they write. Now I know why. However I don't have that luxury.

A few months after Darrell died, I began to work out for a variety of reasons. But one of the many benefits was that if I was having a rough day or feeling down, a work out made me feel better. Yesterday I decided that might be the antidote to this as well. Before I worked out at the YMCA. This time I decided to run. I had run in the past, distant past, although my more recent workouts a year ago included some running on a treadmill. I didn't expect to just take off and run a half marathon. I get winded running up the stairs. I decided to take it slow, really slow, and work my way up. And today was the day.

Today was a really intense day of writing but it was very productive and I was happy with the outcome. But I found myself only half here. I needed to run.

At dinner I announced to the kids my intention run within the next hour. This was met with shock and amusement. I started humming the Chariots of Fire music and moving my arms in a circular, pretending to run in slow motion. Ryan found this very entertaining and joined in. Ross was making jokes about my advanced age. Julia was upset that it was beginning to rain and I was still going to run. Emma was busy taking her straw out of her juice box and Jenna wanted to make sure Julia didn't eat her chicken nuggets. Pretty typical dinner at our house.

After dinner (while the kids cleaned up!) I went upstairs and dug out my old workout clothes. Amazingly enough they still fit. Of course, Spandex/Lycra does stretch but I'm sure even its elasticity has a limit. I got my shoes on and opened the front door. It was pouring rain. I don't mind getting wet but I'm not crazy. So I sat around and waited awhile. Checked again. Still pouring rain. This wasn't going well. I was starting to feel antsy. Pretty soon the rain let up and Ross said "If you're really going to run I think that's about as good as its going to get. You better go now." I think I heard some snickering under his breath.

"How long are you going to be gone Mom?" Ross asked as I headed to the door.

"I don't know, not that long, why?"

"I just wanted to know how long I should wait before we need to go out and look for you." More snickering.

"Very funny." I sneered at him and then I turned more serious and half whispered "If I'm not back in 20 minutes..."

"Yeah, yeah, get out of here." He laughed shutting the door on me.

It was all me, alone in the dark and a light rain, ready to star in my own private Nike commercial. I hope Nike doesn't mind that my shoes are New Balance. I started to jog. The Chariots of Fire music was playing in my head. I jogged to the street corner, across the street to down the sidewalk. Now what was my path? I decided to jog around the horseshoe street behind my house and see how it went.

I had run about 200 feet when my right shin began to ache, left knee felt a twinge and my lungs were beginning to complain. The scripture The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak instantly came to mind. I know Jesus was referring to temptation but I found a whole new interpretation.

I pushed myself another 50 feet and then allowed myself to walk as I crossed the street to the horseshoe lane. After about 25 feet I made myself jog again. In my mind I could see myself as an agile runner but I'm sure the reality must have looked more ridiculous. This was not lost on me.

I pushed myself to run jog to the stop sign and then stopped because a car was coming. A brief moment of terror hit me. What if the driver knew me? But I realized that was unlikely. I was in the dark, in the rain, in running clothes and my hair pulled back into a short pony tail. I felt like a superhero's alter ego. I ran like one too.

I ran the short rest of the way home reflecting on my "run:"

I estimated that I had run about a quarter of a mile and I was worn out.
I realized its harder to run when rain drops are hitting you in the eyes.
On the other hand, the rain drops keep you from getting too hot.
That my body ain't what it used to be-- yeah, no kidding!
That I have an overactive imagination.
That I felt better.

But my spandex built in bra is killing me.


Lindsey's mom said...

Ok..I am getting on my treadmill that will be the 3rd time this week! Go girl run!

Denise said...

You go girl! I'm now regretting selling my treadmill in my mega garage sale last May.

Lindsey's mom said...

Did 25 minutes..I can not run but brisk walk...trying to get min of 20min in 4/wk for now.

The Johnson 5 said...

You go girl. What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger....RIGHT? Or maybe it really kills us, I don't know :)

Crystal said...

I have a treadmill that I say I can't use because the lady beneath us (we live on the 3rd floor of an apartment building) complains about everything. The truth is I'm lazy and I just need to do it. She does complain a lot but I think I could get away with it if I did it early enough. You have inspired me to start jogging again! Thank you.

P.S. I always have a good nights sleep after jogging. Did you?

Denise said...

Come to think of it I DID sleep well and I was tired enough to go to bed earlier than my usual past midnight bed time. But then I probably only went a quarter of a mile, if that. What a pansy! Maybe I can go farther tonight.

Lorie said...

Denise, you are so funny and quite an inspiration. You can do it, you honestly didn't expect to get out there and do a mile your first time. Good for you...keep it up, I wish I had your umph and just did it. (And I am very proud you didn't let the rain stop you, that would have been excuse enough for

Teresa =) said...

I can hear that "Chariots of Fire" music playing in my are my hero!! While I'm swimming laps to get myself in better shape, I do believe this new venture of yours qualifies you to join my Fitness Challenge. Do you have a goal for weight loss, or just wanting better general health? You should add a ticker to your blog...knowing we'll all be checking on it will keep you motivated (or at least it's working for me...keeping me honest, ya know?)

Teresa =)

Denise said...

I guess my motivation is multi dimensional. My primary motivation last night was to release some endorphins to help with my writing "hang over." And it worked.

But I have others too. My fat jeans are feeling a bit snug. :>) So obviously losing weight would help with that issue. And of course, the main reason I started exercising when Darrell died, is to get in better shape. I'm the only parent all these kids have so I better take care of myself.

So Teresa, I'm playing hooky from writing right now (shhh... don't tell!) and I'm heading over to your blog find me one of them counters.

Brandy said...

Congrats for doing it. I would have used the rain as an excuse and just ate chocolate instead.

Denise said...

And see, I ran my dinky 1/4 mile, came home sat my big booty in a chair and ate a piece of chocolate cake. I can have my cake and eat it too.

Sorry, it was too good to resist...

Guess since Teresa has roped me in to the weight loss counter I better stop eating off of that SEVEN POUND chocolate cake I got at Costco on Monday.

wingepr said...

I gotta tell you, I love reading your blog so much, I CAN NOT WAIT TO GET YOUR BOOK!

Kristin said...

Well, as much as I know I need to get in shape, I just can't get motivated after work to do anything about it!! Dave goes running at 5am during the week.

What? Are you crazy? There is no way I would do that.

So, what is a busy mommy to do? I need to figure it out. I'm having issues getting dressed in the morning because some clothes make me look too frumpy. Lovely old person phrase.

Seriously though, I am glad you got some good writing time completed. :-)

Kay Bratt said...


Not comparing my experiences to the death of your husband, but I can really empathize with you on having to shake out of it after writing for a spell. I've been needing to do edits on my book for months, but everytime I start, I get very down in the dumps because it all comes rushing back in a flood of memories. But it will be worth it, I think it really is therapeutic.

Keep at it!


The Gotch 5 said...

I love your Blog!!!!! You really have a gift of writing. Thank you for sharing your fun stories!! I would like to say you inspired me to go and run but after a long debate in my head and the 39 degree temp outside it was a big NO!! Maybe tomorrow right!!??