A doughy 41-year-old man with a goal: Four times around the track in 5 minutes.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
The first day
Time: None. Distance: None. Shutup. Heart rate: You're a jerk. The big finding: Smashing one's head on a monkey bar hurts like a bitch.
Here's the deal: My wife and I set out with our daughter to Manor Park in tony Ravenswood Manor. I wore my running shoes, a fleece top, a Cubs hat, my heart-rate monitor system (a chest strap and a watch). We walked the mile or so there, and I was going to take off from there on a run.
I envisioned how it would go: I'd go 20 minutes, and the first 10 would suck. My legs would feel heavy, my lungs would burn. My movements pained, uncoordinated, my joints creaky. But slowly, I'd get into a rhythm. I'd pick up the speed, and be comfortable with a respectable pace. I'd sprint the last few blocks home, my face flushed. I'd stretch in front of my house, have a long shower, a good dinner, and sleep the sleep of the just.
Instead, I nearly cracked my head open on some monkey bars.
See, I was wearing my trusty Cubs hat (1919 model, see above). Maggie was on a jungle gym, on a platform about five feet off the ground. I saw her heading toward the gap between that and the next level up. I foresaw a fall, tears, a broken arm, maybe.
So Hero Dad leaps up the ladder to save her. Hero Dad pauses for a moment and takes a quick peek up and sees no bars standing in his way. However, Hero Dad didn't note that his hat -- which had been doing a great job of hiding the male-pattern baldness up to that point -- also hid a solid monkey bar, lying in the weeds.
So Hero Dad's heroic efforts came to a crashing stop when his skull smashed against the monkey bar. And Hero Dad soon become Jerky Dad to the other dads there, as Hero Dad bellowed, "FUUUUUUCK!" far too loudly and he fell to the ground below. Hero Dad... ok, fuck it -- let's ditch the third-person. My vision turned a bright purple for a moment -- it was like Prince-concert purple. I wobbled unsteadily on my knees, and Jeanne came right over with Maggie, who was never in any danger to begin with.
Jeanne led me over to a park bench, where I sat with my throbbing head in my hands. Good god, it hurt. I spat out a nickel-sized gob of blood, and it wasn't from biting my tongue. I had no idea where it was from. My neck stung like I'd been hit by a bat. I felt woozy, like I might throw up.
We left the park and I tottered home. Needless to say, my first run didn't happen.
This quest thus begins on a pretty low note. Hopefully, it's not an omen.