I didn’t run track in high school. I didn’t run cross country either. Until I was thirty-two, the farthest I had ever run was two city blocks, and that was only because the police were chasing me out the back door of a party.
For me, running happened by accident. After my first child was born I became a bit of a cardio junkie in an effort to lose the baby weight. When I became pregnant with my second child, I did the elliptical five days a week up until my due date. When he was born I resumed the elliptical with a passion.>
For my 32nd birthday my husband bought me an IPod Shuffle. I was so pissed! What the hell was I supposed to do with an IPod? I watched TV when I worked out. I was never one to have headphones on and listen to music…I just didn’t care about music.
So one day I showed up at the gym, dropped my kids in the gym’s daycare and headed for the cardio room. The kids were only allowed two hours at the daycare so I had to hurry to get my workout in and shower before my time was up. When I got to the cardio room, all the elliptical machines were being used. I waited and waited and no one got off the machines. UGH! I was upset, this was eating into my two hours!
So I looked at the track.
I figured I could go walk the track while I waited. I grabbed my IPod Shuffle and headed out at a brisk pace. The music really pumped me up, so much so, that I actually broke into a bit of a jog. I had never jogged before.
Amazed that I made it around the track one entire time without stopping, I decided I would run around as many times as I could without stopping until I couldn’t run any more. With music blaring in my ear I started running. I ran one lap, then two, then another…I felt like I was dying but at the same time I felt like I was the most awesome person in the gym, cause I was RUNNING!
I finally came to a stop after reaching five whole laps. I was euphoric. I was on top of the world. I looked around to see if anyone else saw just how fricking amazing I was. I mean, they were just walking, but not me…I ran.
I assumed I had run a couple of miles. I mean, it was five laps, maybe a lap is a mile, I didn’t know. I approached a little old lady walker to see if she had any idea how far a mile was on the track. She was really nice, probably honored to be talking to a runner, and explained that eleven and a half laps equal one mile.
WTF! Actually, I didn’t use that acronym, it wasn’t really around at the time but in my head I was saying the real words. How was it possible that I hadn’t even run a single mile!? I didn’t even make it one mile. I was so bummed. And then I decided to set a goal. One mile, non-stop.
I gathered up my will, cued up an especially inspirational song with a great beat and set out to run eleven and a half laps without stopping. I was a little smarter already, after my first five laps I had already learned the lesson of starting off too fast. With a much tamer pace I ran one lap then another keeping a focused look on my face and desire in my heart. As I entered the virgin area of lap six I tried not to let the unknown drag me down. By the time I was on lap eleven I was convincing myself that if I could do a mile, I could be president. I could literally do ANYTHING, if I could just run this mile.
The point marking eleven and a half miles was in my sight, I thought I would die before making it there. My legs were on fire and I could hardly breathe. I damn near pushed people out of the way so I wouldn’t need to waste any energy going around them. You could hear my sickly gasps for air all the way in the weight room…I was sure of it.
I did it. I made it eleven and a half laps, came to an abrupt stop nearly tripping an old man behind me, and held my hands up as if cutting the tape on a marathon. I did it. I was the BOMB! I simply could not wait to tell my husband, friends, and family (especially those on Facebook…poor thangs) just how awesome I was. I RAN A MILE!!
My life has been forever changed since that day I ran eleven and a half laps around the track at my local gym. Despite the fact I was unable to descend stairs without sitting on my butt for a full week after running my first mile, despite having to pee standing up like a boy because I could sit without assistance, despite the delayed onset of excruciating pain…I continued to run and still do to this day. It's been over six years. I've run every distance up to the marathon and evolved into a triathlete. Amazing how things can change so dramatically in one silly day.
That stupid IPod is to blame. Had it not been for my silly husband buying me a stupid gift that I would NEVER use, I probably never would have run on the track that day. My husband’s gift, gave me a gift that I am forever thankful for.
#running #triathlon #beginner #track #crosscountry #funny #Ipod #Race #elliptical
Being the ‘back roads traveler’ that I am, I have made it clear that I delight in the beauty of my surroundings, especially the #wildlife. There is however, another side to these roads…a darker side…the wild death.
I often ponder the image of a Far Side #Comic, not one that has ever existed but rather one of my own creation. In the cartoon there is a convertible speeding down a road. The driver of the car is a deer in sun glasses, riding shot-gun is a raccoon flicking a cigarette out, in the back there is a squirrel and a possum with big grins and hair wild with wind. On the sides of the road are dead humans of all ages in different stages of decomposition, flattened, with tire tracks through them.
Being on foot or #bike on these back country roads one stumbles (quite literally unfortunately) upon all forms of dead little creatures. They range from the extremely sick and twisted headless dear to the average everyday leather pouch looking leftovers of last month’s possum. And of course, everything in between.
Last October found me and my family visiting a #Revolutionary #War reenactment at Fort Boonsboro. The family and I stood fascinated as an actor showed us how to skin and tan our very own deer hide. So as a #homeschool mom I was not at all surprised to hear my daughter say, ‘mom, if you find a dead dear on your run today will you bring it home so we can skin it?’
Much to my delight, a large snake met is fate near the end of one of my #runs and I cheerfully brought it to my children for approval. They were let down; this wasn’t the buck they had imagined. But after some convincing, I managed to get an audience. I carefully skinned the #snake with my husband’s fillet knife which was last year’s Christmas gift from my sister. Finally we found a use for it! The kids were sporting exited expressions as I pointed out the little guys stomach and ribs. The expressions faded to horror as the days went on and scent of rotting flesh hung in the air on my porch. The nice actor never warned me about that. Ultimately the snake skin was moved farther and farther from the porch as the decaying process resolved itself…so far that we never saw it again.
During deer #hunting season it seemed every dog I saw was guarding his own piece of the kill. Most of the dogs just warned me with their eyes as I passed and they gnawed on their bone. One particularly playful dog however simply could not let me pass without joining me for a romp. So he snatched up his deer leg and brought it along. As we ran down the road side by side I was being kicked in the butt by a deer leg. It was rather strange.
Recently on an out-and-back run down my favorite road I spotted a perfect deer skull in the ditch. The recent rains had evidently washed it down the embankment for me to discover. A few yards farther down the road I noticed a really nice deer leg. I made it to my turnaround and ran back with extra spring in my step. As I approached the leg I barely stopped, just reached down and scooped it up mid stride. The skull took a little longer. With a leg in one hand and the skull in the other I loped the last mile and a half home with a strange imbalance. As cars passed I smiled as if to say, ‘I know! Aren’t they AWESOME!’
When I arrived home I gently placed the deer leg and #skull next to the cat skull, bird skull and cow skull on my porch. I pushed my door open and found my kids eating breakfast with my husband at the table. As usual they asked how my run was. I gave them a big grin and said, ‘hurry up and eat kids, it’s time for science class!’
Wild Death (published in the Georgetown News Graphic Column, 2011)
Before I say anything else I would just like to say thank you for reading my blogs.
If you are one of the first 10 people to request it, I will send you a coupon for a free copy of either of these ebooks!
I am doing a series of stories, all around 10,000 words, called ‘The Running Suspense Series’. Each story is completely different but all feature a runner as the main character. Each is available for just $.99
The series does NOT need to be read in any particular order, though if you pay close attention, one character from The Run is in Falcon Point.
The first story: The Run http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008L5IRM4
Cora is a runner and mother of two whose husband is working out of town on business. Always a protective mother, Cora has never left her children alone. That is until a well-intentioned friend encourages her to. This is a story that will leave you questioning your parenting skills and wanting to read more great running adventures by Diane Strong.
The second: Falcon Point https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/206376
This one is for mature audiences and I would rate it R if it were a movie.
The third is not released yet but will be available by August (maybe sooner)
Luke is a single man with a pet cat. He is just shy of retirement and about to take the ride of a lifetime on a train headed west. He is prepared for two weeks of adventure. When a pause to take leak during a run turns into more than a quick stop, his plans change dramatically. Luke quickly discovers he doesn’t have to venture far from home for the adventure of a lifetime.