We all have a day in our life that we call our best day. Some runners and exercise enthusiasts have their best run or work out. I have been lucky enough in my life to have been blessed with two best running stories. What follows is a funny (hopefully) story of my second best run ever.
I opened the door at 4:30am like I had for the past four months. Training for a marathon is not easy. Especially when you have to get your runs in around a busy work schedule and a family. At least Eydie, that’s my wife was good enough to allow me a full hour to train. I realize that it was pretty early, but once I got used to living on five hours of sleep, it worked pretty well. Besides I was adding years to my life and lowering my functional age with every run. I figured I was 10 years younger than when I started.
I walked to the end of the sidewalk and started jogging. I breathed in through my nose and headed toward the beach. The street lights offered globes of light to run by, gut they did not overlap. I would enter darkness and exit repeatedly. Great. My first run since day light savings had shifted and it was pitch black out.
The beach was wonderful. The smell of salt water in the air, the sound of the waves, a breeze made it magical. This is what it must be like to run in heaven. I headed west toward the public access beach. I felt strong and I knew that I would cover the two miles in about 16 minutes. My body gave no indications otherwise.
A quarter mile from that point, I had my first intestinal urge. It was mild, but I knew I had better pick up the pace just the same. I went up a gear in my pace. No reason to delay the voiding of my bowels. Besides, after I could always run a bit of a recovery pace. This was my scheduled long run day anyhow.
I was still marveling at how dark it was out when I arrived at the public restrooms. My innards relaxed as my hand went for the doorknob. It didn’t move. A wave of panic came over me. I firmly grabbed the knob and tried again. No movement.
My eyes were darting left and right, the lady’s bathroom. Waves of pressure were building in me as my hand grab the knob. It did not move. My sweat level seemed to double instantly.
I am an experienced runner, and always left with a bit of t.p. for just such an occasion, but I was in a touristy area of the beach. Moments before, I thought I had been alone in the dark in my own private heaven. Now the place seemed to be crawling with people of all types. There were people gigging for flounder in the shallow surf, couples holding hands strolling the beach, and exercise types like myself taking advantage of the boardwalk area. I sensed that every person on the beach was watching me, treating me with suspicion.
I closed my eyes and inhaled slowly and deeply trying to reverse my internal propellants. It worked! I had an easing of the inevitable. I had to think quickly. The only place that I could think of where I could relieve myself was a half-mile off the beach. It was a wooded area that had been missed by development. I thought I could make it if I hurried, though I knew I could not stress myself. I ran with my knees stiff and lower quarter clinched.
I remembered as I approached my haven, that it was adjacent to a housing project, a housing project that was repeatedly in the news for drug busts, gang violence, and other ailments of the nether world. I wondered how an area like this could be located so close to a tourist destination. Those thoughts left me as involuntary spasms again had my attention. Surely members of the element would be asleep, I thought.
I made it to the wooded section and quickly found a tree to support my back and allow me to relieve my load. Oh, the primal joys of elimination.
Tears of joy were streaming down my face when the first flashing blue strobe light illuminated the woods. The police car was one hundred yards away and slowly moving in my direction.
Not yet done and in now full panic, I tried to make myself small behind the tree. A spotlight was scanning the woods and moving in my direction. Oh, what would my Mother say? Arrested in the woods near a known hotbed of criminal activity for public indecency. I was stricken.
The tears of joy I had been discharging were know tears of panic and humiliation. My legs were shaking from the static holding pattern I was in, combined with my adrenaline-pumped physical state.
I was thinking how I could turn myself in without exposing myself to the law and still with a grain of decency. I could be shot. No miraculous ideas entered my head, so I stayed crouched, tried to be small, and did not move.
There are times in our lives when the universe shows us a bit of grace and mercy. On that day, on that moment, the universe provided me with a moment of forgiveness.
The spotlight was ten feet from illuminating my backside and opening the floodgates to scandal and unimaginable consequences when its beam went off and the car speed away.
I am not sure how far I ran that day, or how fast, but none of that matters. It will always be my second best run ever. Live right, be grateful, and perhaps you will be shown some mercy in your time of need.
Thanks for reading.