“Alright, let’s race!” My 6-year-old son said and got into ready position.  We were on our way to drop him off at his afternoon Kindergarten class.

“On your marks!  Get set!  Go!” He yelled and took off.  Arms pumping high in the air, excited steps with high knees and a smile from ear to ear.

I pushed his backpack onto my back, pulled the sleeve up on my arm, set my fitbit to run and began to run behind him.

100 yards down the sidewalk, my son stopped.

“Whew!  I am tired.  Okay, we can stop now.”  And he began to walk.

Not to mess up my fitbit mile collector, I ran slowly beside him and continued to talk.  I ran a little ahead, I turned around and ran a little behind.  I ran circles around him until I dropped him off at school and continued up the path.

Eventually, I felt my arm buzz to indicate I had finished mile 2 and I rolled my eyes.  One more stupid mile to go.  I was coming down a hill trying to determine the correct path to take to FINISH at 3 miles.

I blew my nose into a tissue and looked up at the path.

“Boy, these are trash miles.” I told the path.  And followed the course to collect the miles I needed to round out my week.

Trash Miles

Earlier this week, the most dreadful thing happened.

My treadmill broke.

Unlike most – I love my treadmill.  Love it, love it, love it.

Since it broke I have had a list of items “to do” mount as I did the most obvious thing first.

Perseverate about broken treadmill.

When the treadmill broke, I had completed 23 miles for the week.  I had planned on running 40 miles this week and had to figure out how I was going to reach my goal.

So, like most runners, I opened my front door and began to run outside.

In the dark.

On any other day I wake up at 5:45, do my small morning routine and get on my treadmill.  I run better in the morning.  My run is always my top priority on any day, so I love to get it done first thing.

To get my run done first thing in the morning now (to meet my husband’s schedule and care for kids), I get up at 4:45, throw on my reflective gear, my headlamp, grab another flashlight – and hit the neighborhood.

I’ve made wide arcs around the reflected eyes of wildlife.

I’ve learned that others you come upon in the dark, walking or out walking dogs, aren’t as nice as runners you meet on the trail.  They do not return your “Good morning!” call.  I guess if you can’t see each other’s faces, you just keep quiet.  (Or maybe they just need their coffee).

I’ve begun to figure who goes out to smoke in the wee hours.  Because what I thought were trees, slowly moved (and began to smell).

I collected 14 miles in the early hours the past 2 days.  To reach my goal of 40 miles this week, I saw I had two options.

  1. Get up tomorrow at 4:45 and run 3 miles.
  2. Suck it up and run 3 miles this afternoon.

I chose the second option.

They were bad miles.  I had no heart in them.  I had only had one goal.  Collect 3 miles so I did not have to get up at 4:45 to go out in the dark and face – well, nothing that I could actually see.

I could have ended my week at 37.  The number is respectable.  They were good honest miles.  But my head is strong.  And 37 is not 40.  So, I heartlessly rolled my eyes at the final 3.  Miles that did nothing for me as a runner – just tamed my inner beast.

And now, I will enjoy my pillow for a bit longer tomorrow morning, and think of (instead of deal with) the reflected eyes of critters in the night.

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