(Oh, the pics are sideways because of my new so-not-an-iPhone phone? Thank you!)
When last we saw me, I’d startled an elderly gentleman golfer with a request for a photo op, slugged down a 40 of water and undoubtedly gave cause for hundreds of drivers to give thought to middle-aged, sweaty hikers wandering in and out of roadside shrubbery: “If she’s not okay, don’t worry, somebody will stop.” Perhaps I’m too cynical. Perhaps I digress.
I arrived at the gym. Here is what greets you at the entrance (31 of those pounds are mine):
As I said in my latest post, I do an hour on the elliptical every day. That was the goal again. Check.
What you see here is not half the long and winding road ahead of me to get to stop 3. It’s not even a quarter of it. But I’m not going to get there (or to the end of this post) just staring at it with you.
It’s only 2.4 more miles. Only 2.4 more. 2.4 more. 2.4. I distracted myself by photographing my “finds” along the way (BTW, if you are a “Zombies, Run!” team member - an inside reference - you would have had a field day with all the useful stuff just there for the taking):
I hadn’t anticipated golf balls under, “potentially hazardous situations,” but sure, if you walk next to a golf course, you should probably keep your eyes peeled for flying stray balls.
My favorite find: an open and half-used package of dental floss sticks. It doesn’t seem like the kind of thing to randomly fall out of a backpack -- and why would anyone feel the need to fling it out of a moving car? Good dental hygiene is important on the road!
A bungee cord. A crushed pudding cup. Not as many fast-food wrappers as you’d think. I can definitely tell you the most popular brand of alcoholic beverages being enjoyed by our underage and/or environmentally insensitive citizens, their favorite brands of cigarettes, and about an item or two better left unmentioned and not photographed.
(In the bushes? On the side of the road? Really. There’s a litmus test for you: is that sad or hysterical or both? One thing we can all agree on, though: stop littering, it’s disgusting. People are panting and shuffling along our nation’s highways, keep them clean, America).
At the 11.5 mile mark, I had to pass my house en route to stop 3 – the grocery store.
I really, really, REALLY wanted to stop. Just a wee stop. More like checking in on the dog, keep going after that. I noticed I wasn’t really sweating anymore. The temperature had dropped, my pace had slowed, but I still recognized it wasn’t a good sign.
The timing couldn’t have been better for me to start walking past the second cemetery of my journey.
I drank more water. I knew if I made the detour to my house, I would flop on the couch, having completed 11.5 miles – a very good accomplishment, but NOT the original goal. Just not.
I no longer cared about keeping up a decent pace.
I no longer cared about what my large-ish (more “large” than “ish”) butt looked like wobbling down the street during rush hour on one of our town’s busiest roads. If anyone sitting in their cars was thinking about me, I told myself they would be rooting for me or savagely jealous that I was moving faster than they were.
I just wanted to get to STOP THREE.
I did it. I have to say, I felt a little dizzy, and I know it wasn’t from happiness. It had been 4 hours since I’d started out. I sat down on a landscaped ledge on the edge of the parking lot at the grocery store. I felt good. Calm. Triumphant, even. And then I saw it.
A TICK WAS ON MY HAND.
No photograph, you may ask? No. NO. Nooooooooo, I knocked that thing off my hand like it was... a TICK. On my HAND.
(Do NOT Google "tick" under Images. You'll be sorry. I did. I was sorry. No photo.)
I practically ran into the grocery store, feeling crawly all over.
I grabbed what I needed and then told myself to calm the hell down. I ran my fingers through my hair. Good. I looked at my pants. Good. I smoothed my tee-shirt over my hips.
I went nuts again, sweeping the thing off me – it landed on the grocery store floor. Ihateticksihateticksihateticks
And that was a dilemma: you can’t stomp on a tick and kill it. And now it was in the store, with other people around. So I trapped it under my foot while I tried to think.
They have a very discreet group of employees at that supermarket, because when an employee asked if I needed help, I was kneeling on the floor crunching that…. eeeeeewwwwwwwwTHING…. With the corner of my iPhone.
(You don’t read about that kind of usefulness on the Apple website, but it is one finely designed piece of technology.)
“Yeah, you have a tissue or a napkin or something?” I said.
I truly didn’t notice the last half-mile of my walk. A shame, but bent on getting home as fast as possible and stripping down to shower and take care of any possible infestation, I didn’t care.
OH MY GOD HOW DID A TICK GET INSIDE MY RUNNING BRA????
For the record, I am not a squeamish person. I am my household’s official cleaner-upper of unfortunate-body-fluids, and it is a FACT that in 6th grade Biology I once used my fingers to crack open a frog’s skull like a pistachio to get three desperately need extra credit points (for an intact brain) because my partner WAS a squeamish girly girl whose only contribution to our effort was threatening to throw up every couple of minutes. Sorry I don't have a photo.
I do NOT do ticks.
Ew, ew, ew, I had to remove this one myself.
I bagged my clothes. I think I showered for half an hour.
To give you an idea (not like you're slow on the uptake here) of how strongly I feel about ticks (not fleas, mosquitoes or spiders, just blood-sucking ticks) and how well-known this is, when I texted my daughter to tell her I’d safely returned home from completing 12.4 miles – along with three ticks -- she sent back, ‘EW, Mom!” not “Congratulations on the longest distance you’ve ever completed.” I was not offended or disappointed in the least.
To celebrate, I logged my activity into SP and decided I could have anything I wanted for dinner. I calmly and happily (THAT’S a twist) had a burger with a side of chips and –Heaven!- a glass of red wine.
I guess the lesson is this: you can have it - guilt free - if you earn it FIRST. And you don't have to worry about working it off later.
And: if you want to shake up a plateau (I dropped 1.5 lbs the next day) a crazy goal may help.
…if you’re going to hit the trails, bring some bug spray. 40% DEET? Don’t mind if I do.
PS. Yes. I put the tick in a bag, just in case. You are very sweet to remind me.