Tom & I are training for a half-marathon.
My heart believes it. My legs are in denial.
He’s done four of them and I envy his shiny medals. I want. Unfortunately, in my commitment to this I overlooked what I temporarily deemed inconsequential. I have an all-time running high of…two miles.
I am a crazy person with delusional goals.
I had this image of myself, running like a gazelle, happy and free. However, my gazelle is very territorial and doesn’t venture beyond say, one mile from home. Tom’s gazelle regularly takes trips into what I’m sure are perilous locations…miles from home. It’s unsafe I tell you.
Clearly, left to my own devices, my half-marathon would consist of a leisurely stroll and a 45 minute medal ceremony.
So, Tom hired himself as my trainer.
I don’t remember agreeing but it’s nice to have someone push me (umm, that’s not a motivational euphemism, it’s meant literally) up the hills when my legs go on strike.
Our running sessions go something like this:
“Sweetie, remember to keep your breathing controlled”
“TOM, I CAN’T CONCENTRATE ON ANYTHING BUT GETTING UP THIS HILL…WHY IS IT SO HARD?!”
“Because you’re not breathing” (in a voice of quiet authority).
So, earlier this week we decided to go on a trail run. Mix-it-up and all that jazz. I do well when the scenery changes and I can forget I’m running. It’s an extremely delicate balance though, people.
A single flower? Pleasant distraction. A field of daisies? I must stop running and lie in them.
I might be ready for this marathon in 2019.
We started our trail run as a trail walk, made it to the edge of the river and then…Tom spotted The Canoe.
Last semester he would spend Sunday mornings canoeing on the river before church. Something about communing with God, spending time in nature and praying – I assured him I did all these things while still in my bed. A picture of the river. The real river. Potato/Puh-tato.
He looked eagerly at me with The Face.
The face I cannot resist. The one that will always melt me. The one that, in the past, had resulted in my driving a tractor and baking cookies at 10 p.m (not, umm, simultaneously).
Though it was a sunny evening, when I looked at the water I saw this:
I waited with fear and trembling, as he righted the canoe, placed it in the water and helped me carefully down the bank.
Then came boarding.
I like boarding much better when it’s a plane. There are little steps to assist you on board, a friendly person in a suit to welcome you, a cushioned seat and the promise of a snack. Clean. Efficient. No crickets.
The canoe had none of these amenities.
I had to crawl (how…medieval) to the front, swing one leg awkwardly over the seat while balancing the other just so in order to avoid capsizing. I’m neither delicate nor graceful and, most of the time, I’m not a multi-tasker. All of these are most essential for boarding a canoe.
I would know.
In January I capsized a kayak. In a mangrove canal. In Roatan, Honduras. That is a whole other story for a whole other time. However, my point is that I know the perils of water sports. Oh, how I know.
Tom climbed in next in one fluid motion. At least I think it was one fluid motion. I was frozen to the front seat of the canoe.
We started down the river, Tom paddling diligently with a tree branch that weighed 40 pounds. I, clinging tightly to the edges of the canoe as if my life depended on it, Which, it did.
He tried to play the part of tour guide but, when I’m nervous, my voice gets unnaturally high and loud. Which, I imagine, doesn’t put my wonderful man at ease.
“Look how pretty it is, babe!”
“YES DEAR, IT’S REALLY LOVELY….ARE WE DONE HAVING FUN YET?”
After five minutes on the river Tom decided he needed a different paddle. So he steered us towards a tree to break off a lighter branch.
I closed my eyes.
His loving voice broke into my daydreams of a hot tub, solid ground and chocolate.
“Umm, sweetie, do you think you could just hold the tree alittlebit so I can break off a branch?”
After two minutes of struggling around moss, spiders and tree roots he gave up and turned the canoe back towards shore (from which we had progressed 30 yards).
We arrived back on shore. Technically, I was on the bank before the canoe had stopped moving. I turned around to see Tom slowly drifting back towards the center of the river.
Apparently, the thoughtful thing to do is anchor the canoe after you make your exit. No matter how dangerous it is to linger by the water’s edge for another moment. Tom insisted I would have survived but…I couldn’t risk it. It would have been a shame to perish on shore after having survived our river expedition.
After several minutes of deep breathing exercises I regained my composure enough to run. I blamed my awful mile-time on my near death experience. Tom sympathetically agreed but I think he may have had doubts.
Moral of the story: I don’t like dark water or wobbly boats.
Ok, that wasn’t really a moral.
Moral of the story – attempt #2:Avoid dark water and wobbly boats for the sake of your life and health of your relationship. Also, have cookie ingredients on hand when you want to thank your man for his patience with your inadequacies.
Ahem. Lesson learned .