Monday, April 8, 2013

This has nothing to do with books and that's ok.

Last week was not fun. Each day laughed at the day before. Monday was a jerk, guess what! Tuesday was a bigger jerk... Anyway this went on until Saturday when I ran* my first trail race in New Jersey. This race killed me. It hurt. For the first time I said "I hate this" and for a short while I meant it.

For some reason my friends take care of me. When I'm acting like a super baby they really go all in for me, I'm lucky. They text me jokes and invite me to things early in the morning. Kim bought me more then one Bloody Mary—fitting concerning my shins were split. They buy me onion rings and give out Cadbury Eggs for cheer. They listen to my theories on NJ gravity strength vs. NYC gravity. They don't judge me to my face. They listen. They're just there. Always.

But as my mother would suggest, one does have to take care of ones self. I woke up Sunday expecting another bad day, the dooziest of all bad days. I expected it for 5 full minutes. Then I put on my running shoes, grabbed my keys, my phone, and an odd thing: my grandfather's bird seed. When he died last April we decided to make little bags with bird seed and a ribbon that said "Feed the birds and remember Rob Burns," or something to the effect. I'd kept mine for a year.

His passing was the hardest goodbye I have had to say. I could go on as to why, but the basis of it is simple: he was a great man. He worked hard, loved his family, country, and God. He was a listener, a great jokster, and he loved me without question. I know that no matter what I did he loved me, I think that's actually really rare in a person. I'm lucky to have it throughout my family but my Grandfather was solid about it. No matter what, we were all one of the "good guys."

Events around that time were no easier. My sister had flown from Hawaii to Michigan for the service and then came with me to New York after. We were here for a few days before taking the bus to Boston for the marathon. My father ran his 4th or 5th Boston Marathon that year—in record temperatures. We watched runner after runner limp past us and onto Boylston St.. None of them looked good, they were all miserable and and tired. It was fitting in a way, I know my mother and I were tired too. But we stayed and waited for my Dad who did come limping up that underpass eventually, severely dehydrated and scowling. He was dry and had stopped sweating. When I suggested something to drink he said it was pointless. When I suggested he slow down possibly even walk a bit he said "I'll be damned if I'm walking anymore." Well I could understand that.

Almost a year later, this past Sunday, I ran my gimpy, beat-up self up and around the park that I love so much. I ran by the Canadian honking geese and swans. I passed the ducks and sparrows. I ran past the horse stables and the children's carousel. I ran all the way up north hill with that little bag of seed and piled it up next to a tree with a few robins poking around it. I'm sure they would have preferred a hot dog, but they were looking a bit chunky and deserved some solid healthy food.

It was silly to wait a year and I didn't say goodbye to my grandpa, but that bad week sure did take a back seat.

*Really this means I fell over and over again, flailing myself along the forest floor of Tenafly, NJ . . . located somewheres across the Hudson where gravity is much, much stronger.