Today is the all-kindergarten field trip to the zoo and aquarium. Three kindergarten classes in the school, what’s that, like 60 kids?
The teachers requested several weeks ago that each child have a chaperone. Probably something about keeping 60 hyperactive 6-year-olds safe and contained on the zoo grounds throughout the day.
I briefly considered taking a vacation day to go along on the field trip.
And then the school called on a random Friday at 9:30 in the morning to report ‘Zoey isn’t feeling well’. Further questioning revealed no fever and no vomiting as of yet, and a lot of dead air as the not-a-nurse waited for me to say I would come get her. Goodbye, 8 hours of PTO! And then they changed the time of kindergarten graduation (conveniently scheduled on a Monday) from 2 p.m. (awesome, I can work most of the day) to 10 a.m. (are you f***ing kidding me?). Goodbye, 6 more hours of vacation time! Add to this the amount of time I’ve requested off this summer to save on my sanity and daycare costs, and that PTO bank is looking pretty meager.
And did I mention the nearly 60 kindergartners at the zoo?
Yeah. I can barely keep it together to teach an hour of science on the Wednesday afternoons I volunteer in the classroom. I am not your ideal chaperone.
Cue the phone call to grandma.
Grandma, I’m going to get off the computer now and pack you a fabulous picnic lunch. I’m throwing in Valium and ear plugs and the fervent prayer that the zoo has a Starbucks just inside the gates. Thank you for taking one for the team and volunteering to be Zoey’s chaperone today. I owe you, big time.
I was standing at exchange #8 yesterday, getting ready to run my second portion of the Rainier to Ruston relay, 50 miles with five of my good friends. I had run 4.something miles only an hour and a half prior; I was waiting to run another 3.something as soon as Maggie came in. The sun was out, and while it was a pretty day, running in temps that are pushing 70 can be challenging.
So I stood off to the side, getting my playlist ready to go and soaking in the excitement of all the runners around me. Just as we could see Maggie off in the distance (there she is! She’s almost here!), the song 22 by Taylor Swift popped in to my ears. It had to be a sign.
Remember last weekend, when we sat on my bathroom floor, and you were giving me one of your famous pedicures? You told me you were getting my toes ready for my race. We had music blaring in my bedroom and you were applying layer after layer of multiple bright colors, plus small flower decals and a clear top coat “because Mommy, this will help the colors stay on and not get chipped”. And when the song 22 came on, your new favorite, you started singing while you were painting, and I laughed because the lyrics coming from your mouth just sounded so sweet and funny. (It’s miserable and magical oh yeah…a perfect chorus for running with a neck injury and the beginnings of a blister on your little toe.)
Anyway, you were singing and I was giggling and I promised you that, next week, when I heard this song come on during my run, I would smile and think of you and my pretty, pretty toes.
So you were in my head as I slapped hands with Maggie and took off for 3ish miles in the sun. You were in my head the whole time, really. Sara Bareilles sang about being Brave and the group Fun told me to Carry On. I thought of you clomping around the house in my high heels and turning cartwheels in the living room. I thought of you snuggling up to me in the mornings and riding your bike up ahead of me while I run in the evenings. I thought of everything about you that I absolutely love, your perfect little six year old personality.
Thanks, Zo. You always keep me going, even when you’re not with me.
Week 5 of our training plan has brought some very unwelcome setbacks.
And it was a relatively easy week! We planned it that way, getting some of the more difficult workouts done last week, because today we run the Rainier to Ruston 50 mile Relay…and we wanted to be fresh and ready to go. This is a race Amy and I have been looking forward to all year–we ran it for the first time last year and had a blast. So there has been much anticipation and excitement and, basically, I’ve been up since 4:30 this morning because I’m ready to go and I can’t wait. (I’m excited to write a race report later this week.)
So. Let’s just talk about my neck for a minute. That ugly, pesky little herniated disc has started causing problems again, but hey, only when I actually have to MOVE my head. It all started Tuesday, after our hill-repeat-in-the-muggy-evening run. I had a dull headache afterwards but brushed it off. Wednesday morning greeted me with the same headache that I tried to ignore and pretend it wasn’t a migraine but, of course, it was. And then, BAM, Thursday I woke up and my neck felt all cranky. Add another migraine to the day and I was officially sidelined and a little panicky that I wouldn’t be in good shape to run our race.
I’ve been dealing with this injury since I started running three years ago. I’ve listened to all sorts of smart professional people tell me I really have no business running in the first place. However, I have found that with the right blend of anti-inflammatories and stubbornness, I can keep going. But this training plan, and it’s increased intensity, has started to take it’s toll. I’m wondering if I need to back off or quit all together. I want to keep running for a long, long time…a 10 week training plan that leaves me with faster miles but constant neck pain just isn’t worth it. But then again…maybe if I just back off a little bit, and rest, I can be back in the swing of things by next week.
It’s always a balance, always a gamble. I ran my slowest 3 miles in quite some time on Wednesday, and took Thursday off altogether. Zoey and I made it through 27 minutes of Family Circuit class at the Y last night before my neck started whining again, so we left. I woke up this morning feeling, so far, okay. I’m nervous that running today could really screw up my head, in more ways than one.