Some days just don’t seem to go according to plan. Saturday was one of them. I had a great day planned. The boys’ basketball games in the morning, meeting friends at Hidden Valley ski resort at noon to learn how to snowboard, church and closing out the day at Luke Hoffman’s annual ice skating fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s.
The day started off fine. I got up, put my hair in braids, made some coffee and met Mike and the kids over at school for an 8:30 basketball game. Since Ethan also had baseball practice on Saturday morning, Mike and I had arranged to divide and conquer. I stayed at the school at watched Silas’ game with Ally, while Mike took Ethan to the JCC for batting practice. When the game was over, we still had some time to kill, so I took the kids back to my house for a bit. I didn’t realize until we pulled back up to the school that Silas had jumped in the car without his coat. He was only wearing his basketball uniform. And it was 18 degrees out. Parenting fail. So, I threw an extra sweatshirt of mine around him to get him into the school and offered to drop his coat off at Mike’s house later. Disaster averted. But still, Strike 1.
Ethan played his heart out for the next hour. Even though he didn’t score as much as he has in previous games, he is still a joy to watch. He had one play where he drove down to the basket and passed it off to his teammate Adam who threw it up for 2. Let’s not forget that the assist is just as important as the shot itself. It’s all about teamwork. Well done, boys!
After the game, I came out of the school (where I get absolutely no service to my phone) to find a message from Emily. We were supposed to meet at Hidden Valley at noon, but she was still hadn’t heard from the boys who were running 16 at Forest Park that morning. I took my time heading to the ski resort since I knew we were already dealing with “Nick time” but contemplating that the icy running conditions may have slowed them down even more. So, I stopped and filled the car up with gas. While I was there I decided to run in and use the little girl’s room. I walked out to find it was my secret girl crush, Amy Marxkors, who had been trying to break in on me. We stood in PetroMart cracking up at the apropos absurdity of our chance meeting. I’ve said it before, if we try to plan a get together we can’t make it happen, but of course we would find each other at a gas station bathroom. Especially since I knew I would see her that night at Luke’s event in Shaw Park. We parted ways, but before we did, I had to ask, “How far are you going?” I felt a pang of jealousy as she responded, “Sixteen”. Only another injured runner understands how I could possibly be jealous of someone running 16 miles in 18 degrees. Seriously, is EVERYONE I know training for a spring marathon right now? Well, I thought, its ok, my hamstring seems to be getting better. I still have a shot at 26.2 this spring…
In the meantime, Emily had located Nick and Steve so we made our way to Hidden Valley. I was the first to arrive, so I went up to the lodge to check things out. I arrived to find a sign stating…We are out of rental snow board boots sizes: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 13. Ugh. Maybe I’ll ski? And the sign continued…We are also out of Helmets medium and large. No worries, I have a tiny head, a small is fine. Do they have youth? That would work too. The sign…And we’re out of ski poles. Sigh…Strike 2.
I pulled out my phone to text everyone this new information and saw that Steve had just parked. Steve and I waited in the cold until Nick and Emily arrived and we could discuss. I had already warned Dan off since he was coming the farthest. Serena had bailed due to an ankle injury and we couldn’t find Jen, who we learned later had made her way on to the slopes to ski without us. Good thing she didn’t wait around. So, back to the drawing board. I was ready to do something. I needed some physical activity. Everyone else had already run…42 miles between the 3 of them. My jealousy reared its ugly head. Then Emily suggested bowling. Yes! Bowling! I jumped up and down in the snowy, gravel parking lot at her suggestion.
Our caravan set off down Manchester toward West County Lanes. Ok, so it wasn’t the intense cardio of running or the challenge of learning to snowboard, but it was something. And at least I was still going to put the hockey skates to good use later. We were salvaging the day. We paid for 2 games, got our shoes and Steve filled in the computerized score monitor with nicknames for all us. The order was Emily Pink, Lindsey Goat, Pirate Nick and Vancouver Steve. How I got shafted with the goat name since it was Nick who started that whole thing with his inability to read “COAT ROOM” at the Racine Marriott, I’m still not really sure. Anyway, Emily gathered all the sparkly and pink swirly bowling balls and we got underway. My first frame I snagged a spare. Oh yeah, it’s on! Yes, I’m even competitive at things I suck at, like bowling. My second frame, I got up, grabbed a ball, started toward the lane and just as I released the ball I almost fell to ground in pain as the ball went straight into the gutter. The hamstring! Oh, No! What have I done?! I limped back, grabbed the ball again. It’s ok, I’ll just go slow…? Another gutter ball. It was bad. I sat down in pain feeling dejected. Had I really just re-injured myself while I was BOWLING?! Of all the lame ways to keep myself out of the running game. And so much for skating later. Strike 3! I’m out.
Steve went to his car and grabbed a brand new bottle of Advil. “Can I just eat these like M&M’s?” I joked. I had to laugh to keep from crying. In reality, I was devastated. I could barely walk, let alone continue bowling. But I did manage to prove that I am the world’s best granny bowler! And I still managed a significant ab workout since Emily spent a solid 5 minutes laughing at Nick’s question, “When is New Year’s?” Hey, it’s good to laugh at yourself, it’s even better to laugh at your friends.
Steve, who had declared himself a terrible bowler, managed to beat everyone both games. Somewhere along the way, the other Steve showed up and took over for me. And Nick and Emily thought about going round 3 to break their tie, but ultimately, we all agreed to call it a day.
I headed home to get ready for Brian’s arrival for the evening. Even though I likely couldn’t skate, we were still going to the fundraiser to support Luke and be social. When Brian and I pulled up to the Shaw Park skating rink that night and I pulled my skates from the back of my car, Brian looked at me like, “You’re not seriously going to try this, are you?” It was a bad idea, I knew it. But the idea of being the one to just stand there while everyone else participates, is more painful than the hamstring injury itself.
We arrived and immediately said hi to Megan and Amy. Shane, Heather and Gerry showed up with skates on a minute or so later. Brian went and got skates, while I stood there holding mine and contemplating my dilemma. Everyone went out to the ice while I went in to say hi to Luke and buy raffle tickets. And then Shane started with the peer pressure. “Get those skates on, Lady”. Knowing that he was going to be there, I really should have left the skates in the car if I had any chance of avoiding getting on the ice. A few minutes later the skates were on, at least I was as tall as everyone else while I stood around in the cold. And finally, I ended the debate in my head, even if I went around the rink only one time, I HAD to. So we made our way to the ice. I was slow and careful and deliberate with my footing. And as I skated, I realized, this is ok. It’s really not too bad. The big fear was if I started to fall and had to use my hamstring to stabilize myself, but I went around and around, hoping for the best. Until finally, it happened. I hit a chunk of ice and while I managed to stay upright, the damage was done. Ok, yes, I admit it. I was dumb. It was a bad idea. A really, really, really bad idea. So what made me ultimately risk it and get on the ice? Pride. Of course. There is absolutely no other reason. I should have accepted Strike 3 and left it at that.
As we got off the ice, Luke’s girlfriend Kim, who is a hilariously awesome and wonderful human being (and has beautiful red curtains) grabbed me to let me know I had won the Qdoba gift card in the raffle. Awesome. So now while I am injured and unable to run, at least I can eat free burritos.
So now where do I go from here? Well, the good news is I have an appointment to get my hamstring looked at tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just keep swimming and biking as much as I can. Of course, we had yet another snow day today, so swimming was cancelled. So much for that idea.
If nothing else, Winter 2014 with all of its snow days and setbacks is reminding me that I don’t get to be in control and sometimes I just have to roll with the punches. On Saturday as I felt that jealousy twisting in my stomach over my friends running mileage in double digits in a day (I haven’t even done that in a week lately…or a month), I had to wonder…am I jealous that they are doing that? Or am I jealous of the feeling they get when they are done and they can say, Yeah, I just finished a 16 mile run. Honestly, it’s a little bit of both. As much as I say I don’t have anything to prove to anyone else, I’ll be honest here, I sure do like the look on a customer’s face when they say, “So did you run today?” And I respond, “Nah, I ran 20 yesterday so I took today off. I’m training for another marathon.” It’s pride. And I like to keep proving my abilities. But it’s times like this that I am forced to remember that while I am a runner, because I love it, it’s not all that I am. There is so much more to it.
The other night I was having a text conversation with my friend, Kristen. She was feeling frustrated that her running ability isn’t where she wants it to be. And in my attempt to help her see the beautiful person that she is, she actually did the same for me as I read back through those texts. Sometimes we score, sometimes we assist. It’s all about teamwork. Here is a portion of our conversation:
RRG: You may not be able to do what everyone else can. That’s ok. I want to qualify for Boston, but I can’t quite get there. Does that make you think any less of me as a runner?
KS: Not at all. I describe you to everyone else as “epic badassosity”. Boston has nothing to do with it. You run, you push yourself, you laugh, you cry, you help everyone around you, and your strength has nothing to do with your ability to run, swim, bike or drink epic amounts of Rum Chata. What makes me put you on that epic badass pedestal is the person you are inside, not your athletic awesomeness.
RRG: And that, my friend, was exactly my point. It’s not about who runs faster or farther or any of that BS. Be true to yourself. People are attracted to real, genuine people. You’re awesome as you are. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If they do, I will kick their ass.
RRG again: Who you are is enough. Remember that.
It’s funny that I was having that conversation in an effort to make her feel better. And yet, I needed those words just a few days later. Yes, I have an injury. And it’s incredibly humbling to say the very least. Especially because it re-happened while I was Bowling. Nothing ever hurts more than a blow to the ego. But I am RRG and I will rise again. One way or another. In a way, I have already risen above this, because I remember that who I am is enough. Thank you, Kristen, for reminding me of that. This hamstring ain’t got nothin’ on me.
Hopefully Dr. Laiderman will say the same.