Debbie and I decided one weekend to go to Wendover and just relax for the weekend. I think it may have been some weekend where we had some extra days off during the school year.
I had been running several races during the summer, and when we got to Wendover I decided I should keep in shape by running to that rock off in the distance and back. I said goodbye to Debbie and jogged off into the desert.
The rock off in the distance was a bit farther off than it looked. I jogged and jogged; endless miles jogging for hours seems like only minutes. You really don't notice the passage of time and you don't really pay attention to the distance.
By the time I got to the rocky crag, I’d been jogging quite a while. I climbed to the top of the rocks and discovered the small bones. I put them in my pocket and started to jog back.
It took quite a while to get back, and when I finally arrived at the motel, Debbie was sitting on the hood of the car with the bags packed. I was hoping for a shower, but she had to check us out, since I had been gone jogging for about four hours.
She said she had planned my funeral and decided on a list of speakers. She had gone from furious to worried to panicked and back to furious when she saw me jogging up.
She stayed furious for the three hours it took to get back home, and it didn’t help I had to measure just how far I had gone by driving the car out and back. I can't remember if it was 12 or 15 miles, but it was a lot further than it looked.
I wish I had learned my lesson, but I didn’t. The last marathon I ran was a disaster. I was anemic, but didn’t find that out until later. But when you get to be an old coot like me, you may be able to finish a marathon just out of pure stubbornness.
At mile twenty, I stopped under a bridge to rest in the sun for a moment. I had worn a sleeveless shirt that day, forgetting I hadn’t been wearing one all summer. I was pretty sunburned after running in the hot sun for hours.
It was then that my knee decided I was done running. It kind of locked up and refused to do anything but walk. The few times I tried to run again it protested long and loud.
Needless to say, not only had the first twenty miles taken longer than I liked, the last six took much longer than I wanted. But I saved a bit to run at the finish line, even though the marathon crew had started to dismantle the course. It is also needless to tell you how long it took me to run, walk and crawl the twenty-six point two miles.
You know you are running very slowly when the police direct you to run on the sidewalk instead of the road, which had previously been cleared for the run.
My wife had decided to come along this time to the marathon, but I had told her I would be a couple of hours faster than I actually was.
It was the Wendover incident all over again. She was watching the news to see if some old man had been hit during the race and taken to the hospital.
She flipped from channel to channel to see if her husband had suffered a heart-attack on the course.
She probably planned my funeral again.
Since I like to shower and rest after a marathon, she had planned on shopping after I got back. I know she was more worried about me than about missing shopping, but when I dragged my sorry butt into the room two hours late, she told me she had been frantic. After she calmed down, I convinced her to go shopping and buy herself something nice.
I cleaned up and collapsed on the bed. After resting for about an hour, I twisted my leg and my knee popped back into place.
It was one of those pains that really hurt at the moment, but it felt better after it was back where it should be.
Is there a moral to the story?
If you ever get tempted to jog off into the desert, choose a landmark closer to the city. Or tell your wife you jog a marathon slower than you think you can.
Then you may be spared the details of your very own funeral.
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