My mom had a little saying that she would use from time to time when seeing someone she thought was out of sync with reality – generally an older woman, for example, dressed in a mini skirt and go-go boots or an older guy with open Hawaiian shirt, gold chains around his neck and driving a Corvette. She would judge – no, ”discern” – that the individuals’ were “mutton trying to be lamb”.
I always found her comment to be amusing, but of course I was 25 or 35 or 45 years old. Now, when I think about that phrase, it can have a bit of a sting to it. I just finished another trip around the sun – 78 of them at this point – and sometimes wonder if that’s what I look like out on the trails…. trying to be lamb. Yes – I’m still running….okay shuffling…. and I started falling a few years ago and hence sticks/hiking poles have become a more regular part of my ensemble or “kit” as it’s now known. The swear words generally pour forth….. Sierra’s forehead furrows, she circles back to me on the ground, I pick myself up, more swear words, rinse off the blood/dirt with whatever is at hand – water, Tailwind, whatever- and continue on. I mean when you’re out there, what else are you going to do? You keep going, or as Betsy says “never hunker down”. Generally, in these circumstances, my first and really only focus is: are my teeth okay? So far so good. Falls happen. Generally, the cause is that I have lost my focus or been fussing with my phone while negotiating single track. Not a good combo.
The other day, however, I was at the bank with a friend and suddenly felt so dizzy, I had to hang on to the counter to steady myself. It passed and I thought “boy, that was weird”, then thought no more about it. A few days later, I took Sierra out for her last pee of the evening. Suddenly, things went spinning and I remember thinking, “oh, no – I’m going down”. No swear words, just disbelief. What’s happening??!! The next day, I sent my doc an email describing the scenario. His reply: “see me in the office next week – might be blood pressure; might be A-fib”. A-fib? …..don’t old people have that problem? Ads on TV have the words “A-fib” rolling off the tongue like it’s merely a bad rash….”just take this RX and you’ll be fine in the morning” kind of thing. So, I followed up and went to the doc’s office to get checked out. The ECG was “perfect”; BP a little high. More tests to rule in/out possible cause for the momentary collapse. Like tripping on the trail, what else you going to do but get up and continue on.
I’ve since been back out on the trail – 5 miles here; 7 miles there and – now, with heightened body awareness – have felt okay. A friend asked recently, “what are you going to do for your 80th??” I don’t know, I’m not 80….. just pushing it…. which sounds more like what comes to mind when driving that Corvette. But I did sign up for the Marin Ultra Challenge coming up in March 2022. I have typically done the 25K at the MUC – I love this event! I love running in Marin! However, this next round, no 25K – a real disappointment since I love the Marin headlands and exploring on Mt Tam. But they do offer a 50 miler and a 50K…. so I signed up for the 50K – I guess as a way to prove to self that finishing the TRT 55K was not a complete fluke…. which, by the way, I don’t think I would/could have finished without the support of DPMR friends and encouragement from Helen and others – you know who you are.
Winter is coming (maybe…), it’s 65 degrees out and, while I’m waiting for it to snow so I can use my season pass at Palisades Tahoe, there’s lots of opportunity to hit up our local trails and Mother Peavine for some hill repeats and more scenic touring of the Reno hills and trails…. time on my feet.
Let’s put it this way: every step is a gift and I’d rather go face down in the dirt doing something I love — getting high on fresh air? — than hanging out in front of the TV spectating.
Love you guys…. thanks for being out there with me!