How the hell did that happen?

Things have been rather hectic the past few weeks. 

Everything goes into a sort of whirlwind when someone dies: you literally have to take care of all the arrangements and paperwork in, like, a week. Lots of family and friends will come to visit, which is great when you need someone, but also not great because there’s always someone there. There’s so much noise and emotion coming at you all at once, from all the people around you and from within yourself, and it’s been hard to find any kind of solace, a place to put the brain-puzzle back together. 

I was off work for a few days on bereavement leave. My bosses were really understanding, although the timing of it all was cosmically awful – my boss was going on vacation the week after, so everyone is trying to help everyone else out and take care of the little things, but it seems like no one is really on top of things. Meetings were cancelled, things were put “on hold.” Too bad that no one else in the building knew why I was out, or that I was even gone to begin with, because very few people knew what had happened. That was the worst, having to tell everyone over and over again and trying not to lose it. Someone even asked me how my vacation was. Whoops. 

Since I took a break from functioning as a human for so long, I needed to ease back into everything, so I hit the treadmill at work. When I started running a year or so ago, I started on the treadmill at 4 MPH. I think I ran for three whole minutes my first day. Every day, I added thirty seconds. It doesn’t seem like much, but it made a big difference, so I went back to that tried and true method. I aimed for five minutes. 4 MPH is also slightly faster than normal for me, so I was looking forward to pushing myself a little. I was running with music the first day and tried to match my pace to the music, which was closer to 4.6 MPH – kind of a lot faster than I was used to, but I kept it up until the song was over and then dropped back down to 4 MPH. Day two: five minutes, thirty seconds. Day three: six minutes. Totally not easy without any scenery or music or TV for distraction. 

That was the end of last week: over the weekend we went to the wedding of one of Gary’s best friends – Gary was in the wedding party, and boy, does he clean up nice! Everything was beautiful, the food was wonderful, the people we met were awesome, and I danced my butt off. I didn’t get a chance to run again until last night.

We’ve been helping Gary’s mom clean out the garage – it’s so packed with stuff that you can barely walk around, and you certainly can’t find anything useful. Some of it was projects Gary’s dad had started many years ago, some of it is junk that he scavenged that he was going to use in some project or another (moulding, tiles, random pieces of wood, zillions of zip-ties, and rope), and the rest of it is all tools – lots of tools. A thousand sockets. Two buckets full of nails. Six chainsaws. Seventy five pairs of pliers. At least a hundred screwdrivers. He bought things in multiples “just in case.” She is going to have the garage sale to end all garage sales. 

I got home from another night of cleaning last night around 8:30 PM and I wanted to go running – lately I’ve been taking up a lot of time feeling sad and dwelling on stuff that’s not going to change, so I decided it’s time to make time to be happy and do things to feed my soul. I figured it was time for some speed intervals. Since it was late at night, I would run around the quad at the apartment complex, which is grassy and sidewalky and surrounded by apartment buildings and there aren’t any roads or parking areas. I figured, it’s decently lit, and there’s only a slight chance I’ll get hit by a car. I’ve only seen a car drive in there once. Seriously – drove right across the grass, through the buildings, and bounced off the curb into a parking spot.  

The only gear I brought was my cell phone – I used the mapmyrun app to… well… map my run. A female voice told me to start running when I hit GO, and I griped for a second because I hate voices in apps that talk to me or tell me my distance. I’ll keep that to myself, thanks. I alternated running briskly, jogging, and walking. The sidewalk is sort of a large rectangle, with a big circle in the middle and a big oval on the end. I jogged the circle, walked the straightaway, ran the oval. Suddenly I found myself at a half mile somewhere between 6:30 and 7 minutes… which is really, really fast for me. I did some quick running math in my head and realized I could run my fastest mile ever, so I kept pushing. The voice in the app spoke up at 13:19 to tell me I had run a mile. HOLY CRAP. HOLY CRAP, GUYS. I ran a mile in thirteen minutes. 


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