(In the following story, picture the guy above, but in the road with a bloody eyeball hanging from his head.)
Mary and I go biking on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. We usually meet around seven and ride the narrow back roads of Scott and Harrison Counties until nine. Mary and I have gotten to know each other pretty well since we started biking together a year ago.
We chit-chat as we bike. While she rambles on about something, I listen patiently, giddy with anticipation of my turn to ramble. This is our time. We get to vent and decompress and after two hours of bike therapy, we are new women and ready to take on the day.
It took a few rides before she realized I was a little animal crazy.
On a ride last August, Mary and I were surprised to find a possum sitting in the middle of the road. With its teeth sneering at us, we didn’t dare get near. As we passed, I could see it had been hit by a car and suffered head trauma. It had been circling in the middle of the road, with a little blood trail behind it. The animal rescuer in me panicked, Mary kept rambling as if there were no suffering possum in the center of the road.
I tried to make eye contact as we passed. I was hoping to see sweet lovie eyes, the kind of dark glossy innocent eyes a puppy has. But this guy only had angry eyes for me. He had a frothy grimace on his face that dared me to rescue him. Mary warned me to leave it alone. And we rode off.
On our way home, the thing was still there, alive, but now laying in the middle of the road. My heart ached. I simply could not leave the thing there, only to be hit again by another passing car. I had decided in my mind to come back with my car later, scoop it up and get it the care it needed (whether he liked it or not). I would never admit this to Mary, she is a good friend but she may draw the line at rescuing a half dead possum.
I had to get the thing to the side of the road however, if I wanted to have a live possum to come back to. I told Mary to stop and let me move the thing. She panicked at the risk. I maneuvered my bike so as to use my wheel as a shovel. I pushed it across the road, as it snarled and bit at my tire. Once safely on the side, I telepathically told him I would be back and not to worry.
After returning home, I loaded up my kids into the station wagon and set out to rescue the brain injured possum. I explained to my kids the situation, they knew the drill, they were not strangers to their mommy’s animal antics. We arrived at the curve and rolled down our windows in search of the poor angry possum. Crunching along, tires turning slowly so as not to miss the thing, I spotted the telltale white hair…and then the entrails. The intestines and liver….yep …that’s him. “Looks like the turkey vultures got to him first kids”. Oh, well, can’t save ‘em all.
I never told Mary about returning to the angry possum. Had we known each other better then, I would have considered it. Had I returned to a live possum that was ultimately saved by my heroic efforts, I may have told her. But it was a half-baked effort to save a mostly baked possum and it was by far more embarrassing then brag worthy.
Running the Numbers
As I entered the spring of 2012 I knew my schedule wasn’t going to allow me to train for or travel to races this year, at least not during the summer. So I made a decision early that this would be a fun summer. This would be the year I could get back to the joy of my sports and not feel the pressures of meeting a training schedule.
What a relief. At last I could take my time on my runs. I could stop to rescue a turtle or pause to watch a deer and her twin fawns. I could go back to pick up the baby bird in the road and set it safely in a hollowed stump. Hell, I could sit on a rock and paint a picture in the sand if I wanted to…this was my ‘fun’ summer.
Now don’t get me wrong. I still wasn’t ready to give-up my Garmin. Even though I wasn’t worried about my mile splits or my average pace I still wanted to know just how much I was enjoying my runs as a reflection of my time. Does that make sense?
Now I knew my numbers would be affected. I knew that impromptu stops to smell the wild flowers were not conducive to speed records. I fully expected my minutes per mile to rise like a slow boil in a pan of ramen noodles. But what I didn’t expect was the exact number they rose to.
So just last year I could carry myself for a few miles comfortably at a 7:38 pace. The thought now gives me shivers a little, but it’s true and I was pretty proud. Now I go out for my normal six mile run at exactly eight o’clock every morning and every mile my Garmin beeps at me with my mile split. And do you know what that mile spilt is almost every time? It’s 911! I am not kidding!
And just so you know, I leave at eight o’clock because my husband leaves for work at exactly nine o’clock, so that would give me plenty of time to get hope and slap him on the donkey butt as he headed out the door.
But now that my morning runs have turned into more of an escapade with Diego. And I spend more time picking up trash and petting dogs, I find I’ve been arriving late to my home. How late you ask. Exactly eleven minutes late! That’s right, I get home at 9:11am.
I’m not superstitious and even if I was I am not sure what it would be that my Garmin is trying to tell me. Is this ‘fun’ pace going to lead to an emergency? Or maybe every time my mile split pops up at 9:11 it means I have a new animal rescue…I just need to go look for it…it’s probably in the woods somewhere and I should go for a hike rather than run.
I went looking for answers on Google. ‘What does 911 mean? I asked’ and unbelievably, I found the answer!
According to wiki.answers.com: (The words in hyphens are mine;)
In numerology, you reduce numbers into single digits. So 911 becomes 9+1+1=11
(OMG! 11 is my lucky number! My birthday is 2-11… same as Burt Reynolds btw.)
11 is one of the master numbers. (I am a master! I have a dog!) It is one of the few numbers that is not reduced down to a single digit (I can’t be reduced either!).
The 11 is also known as the psychics number, it’s the most intuitive of all numbers and it represents illumination and deep insight. The 11 is also very sensitive, charismatic and inspirational. (Okay, ya got me there. I don’t know what all that’s about.)
I’m not sure where this column is going. All I know is that I am a runner. I like numbers. They tell me how I’m doing and I can’t avoid analyzing them even if I have agreed not to. What I will say is this, according to my mile split times…I’m having a pretty fun summer.