After 8 months of chemo in 2008, followed by pelvic-tissue-destroying rads and chemo in fall, then pelvis-mostly-removing surgery in spring 2009, I went for my first run since 2005 with my boyfriend’s leggy athletic pothead daughter. It was October 2009. In the past year, I’d been through times when I had almost no platelets, white blood cells, or hair. By almost no hair, you have to understand, I studied my whole hide and found exactly 4. All on my head, by the way. The only thing in my favor physically is that I too stomp around on longish pins, a fact few are allowed to forget for any length of time once they make my acquaintance.
Bunny was taught to bolt by a former boyfriend, an AWOL Marine. I suppose you can see why. I was trained to run cross-country in 1977, so I set a pace that lets me run indefinitely. You know how your basic pace and stride are sort of set in your bones? The raspy rhythm of my breaths has sounded exactly the same since my high school competitive days.
On the first run, the young lady hopped off ahead and I did the tortoise thing. When we met again on her way back from Morocco, I did a slow 180 and again watched her tight white tail bounce into the twilight. I should add here that these days, it’s considered “okay” to leave your father’s middle-aged girlfriend in the dark in an unfamiliar area populated, essentially, with large men passing from behind and in front clad in sweatpants and little else, even after you’d been with her in emergency rooms for sudden life-threatening GI attacks twice since July and were aware she’d been in for those a total of five times since May.
I got to the Citroen about 15 minutes after Bunny had, admittedly somewhat weepy because I was tired and just barely able to stay in motion by then. Barely. And plus, I just hate being left behind in the dark in an unfamiliar area populated, essentially, with large men passing from behind and in front clad in sweatpants and little else. Just a quirk of mine. Her dad recommended therapy and medication for it.
I calculated that I’d just run over 5 kilometers and was quietly displeased at the absence of cheering throngs throwing unattractive but free* t-shirts and similarly disadvantaged water bottles at me. Wabbit had run farther than I, but I’d stayed upright and moving for 15 minutes longer than she. Before thinking, she tried to argue my assertion that I had shown more endurance than had she. But, I reminded her, her body was in motion for about 30 minutes, and mine for about 45. That’s 50% longer, and made it hard for her to say she could have managed the same thing. Not without proving it, anyway.
— Caroline Collins, Ph.D.
*Caroline’s Law of Not Having a Bunch of Crap in Your House:
Never take anything for free that you wouldn’t pay at least $20 for in a store that day.