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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Never a dull moment when I'm running

I guess I forgot to post about my third run, probably because I was too scared. On Thursday, after thrice assaulting my alarm clock for only doing its job, I got up at 6:03am and was out the door by 6:15. Although it wasn't such an awful experience when I tried it, my moral compass has since told me that it is not acceptable to leave the house without brushing my teeth - EVER - so it's taking me a few extra minutes to get ready to run now. I roll out of bed, get dressed before I even open my eyes (thankfully there are three holes in my shirt and only two in my shorts, or I might have some problems telling them apart by feel alone), pee but don't flush for fear of waking the kids (sorry if TMI, but you're the one reading my blog!), and tip toe downstairs. Despite knowing where almost every creak is in our 1922 staircase, I inevitably hit one on the way down and stop abruptly and hold my breath to make sure no one makes a peep. Admittedly, even if someone did wake up, I wouldn't abort my plan to run, but I'd feel guilty. A little bit. I'd hurry out the door as quickly as I could so my husband thinks I didn't hear them, but then I'd feel guilty for most of my run, knowing that I know the truth... (For someone who just converted to Catholicism 5 years ago, I sure do have a lot of guilt... But that's another post for another day...) Anyway, I get downstairs, wash my hands, lace up my sneakers, and brush my teeth at the kitchen sink. Of course I wash my hands - I don't flush the toilet because I don't want to wake the kids up, but I still believe in basic hygiene and good manners - I carefully walk down the stairs without touching anything, which is probably why I end up hitting one or two creaky spots, and head straight to the sink to suds up. I do have standards, you know...

So, finally, I'm out the door. I stretch for a second or two - just in case my nosy neighbors peek out it can at least look like I know what I'm doing. Then I'm off - I push the start button on my newly figured out chrono stop watch and briskly walk to the end of my block. By then, my eyes are mostly open, and I push "lap" on my watch and start to run. For my third run, I zigged then zagged around my neighborhood, smelling my neighbors' coffee and catching tidbits of the news as I ran by their open front doors and blaring tvs. I scoffed at their lawn ornaments, tried to decipher their coded vanity plates, and even peeked in a few windows to see what I could see (hey, I'd be lying if I said I didn't, and you would be, too!). I came to the end of my neighborhood and hit High St., which is a partly commercial/partly ridiculously-huge-and-ostentatious-but-I-still-fantasize-about-owning-one-of-them-anyway houses major street through our town. Unfortunately, it's also one of the worst sidewalks in our town, too - I tripped and nearly wiped out at least three times in the 7 minutes I was gawking-I mean running on that street. Guess I should have listened to my mother when she told me time after time to "watch where you're going," but then how could I also people watch??? After drooling over the incredible houses and avoiding being run down by an ambulance backing out of the hospital (maybe it was a slow morning for them and they were trying to drum up some more business?), I banged a right onto Beacon St. I ran past the rectory where my priest lives, feeling embarrassed and somehow improper. I felt almost naked as I passed his house, despite being dressed perfectly appropriately for running. I'm just thankful Father wasn't outside to see me, although who knows - he might have been in his bathrobe at that hour!?! Crap - looks like I'll have to go to confession already for having impure thoughts... Anyway, down the hill, dodging overgrown bushes and weeds on the vacant lot that threatened imminent twigs poking me in my eyes, prickers scraping my legs, or spiders (or worse!) attaching themselves to me as I brushed by. Then it happened. I think I saw a ghost.

I should preface this by saying that I didn't have my glasses on and the building was on the opposite side of the street. My vision isn't horrible but I am at the border of the "you need your glasses to legally drive" cutoff, so I think they probably help a little bit. Anyway - I was running past the Catholic school. It shut down this summer, after 81 years of operation, due to lack of funding. My friend has spent hours and hours there, helping clean out old files, pilfering leftover school supplies, and do whatever else there is to do when a school closes. I imagine when any place that old and especially that religious closes, there's some definite doom and gloom to it. As I disclosed above, I have a habit of looking into windows when I run. (Maybe this experience then serves me right?) Anyway, I was looking in the windows of the school when something caught my eye. In the second floor, there was a classroom that I could see into perfectly. I could see the chalkboard and maybe an easel at the front of the room. Then there was a person standing next to the easel, or so I thought. The person didn't move, though. It looked like a woman, with plain white or off white clothes (like period dress, I secretly thought, but that just sounds too cliche) and maybe a brown or black hat. I kept watching, and it kept not moving. I think that's when the idea of "maybe that wasn't a person, but a ghost!" first crossed my mind. Interestingly enough, that's also the time that I think I picked up my pace a bit. Purely as part of my training schedule, though, and having nothing to do with fear, mind you.

So, I ran the last bit home and got online as usual to measure out how far I'd gone with 2.4 miles - woot woot! :) I also Facebooked (is that a legitimate verb now?) my friend who was working at the school to ask her if there was a statue or mannequin in that classroom. She is almost as addicted to Facebook as I, so she wrote back in 2.7 nanoseconds (I would have responded in 1.8 on a slow day, but what can I say - she is FORTY?!?) that she didn't think so. A couple of her friends (who I don't even know) saw the post and started chiming in. It turned out to be a daylong discussion with everyone making guesses or hypothesizing that maybe it was some obscure statue the school had of some even obscurer saint, but no one sounded too convinced. One person even drove by to check it out, and she didn't see anything! If I can convince myself to not be too afraid and just put on my big girl panties (you know, under my running shorts that have the underwear sewn in already), I'll have to run by again this week and check it out. I'm not sure I want to know the answer, though...

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