Something amazing happened on my run yesterday. I set out from my house to cover my standard three and a half mile training route which goes up Church Street, and then straight down Market to the water. My body felt incredibly awkward, at once rested from some time off, yet suffering the agitated side effect of evicting sugar from it. I couldn't get my stride to settle in and even my ankles felt bizarre. But my mind was, for the entire run, NOT ONCE, tempted to quit. This has never, ever, happened.
I know I told you my friend Gus the gay, Jewish, dog was going in to have knee surgery. Well, the doctor had updated me by saying that when he got in there, it turned out the old guy had just obliterated his ACL. It was basically gone. In addition to that, he had also torn his little dog meniscus. A very basketball kind of knee situation. I thought about him while I ran. All these times over the last 12 years I've seen him galloping in glee, completely satisfied to just have a body, my love, and velocity. Especially when he has a lot of room to really open up his legs. The guy loves a beach or an open field. One time we went to visit our friend Amy Yunis in Vermont and she took us on a walk through huge grassy meadows. Gus would run ahead until we couldn't even see him and then circle back around us, his tiny herd of two, making sure we were progressing safely, and then off he'd go to check up ahead, finally fulfilling his country roots instinct, free from urban constraints. He's so gorgeous at a full sprint. Entirely in his destiny, meant to run. Unlike me, meant to converse.
Except yesterday when I was just like him, meant to run, albeit a little graceless. A parade of grateful thoughts marched me through my stilted paces. I felt so excited to get him back, grateful to have the opportunity to take care of him the way he's watched over me all these years. All for some kibble and a little spooning. I felt so happy, at almost 40, to have my health, to have finally made a choice to respect my vessel, to live in it on its terms. Move it around and give it relatively good fuel. I felt honored to have such hearty support from people and to have a place to rest. Market Street at 6am is a great place for realizing all the things that matter. So many folks up all night or still sleeping on cement box springs in doorways. No protection. No health insurance. No Gus waiting for them to return home. I just ran and ran, a spandex sausage of gratitude, an ungainly hippie jock moving down the avenue as the city stirred, waking to a slow sun. And I didn't want to quit.
Gus is home now. I have been carrying him up and down stairs. He wants to do it himself, but he yelps when the leg catches on a ledge. So I gather his fifty pounds up, the same weight as a bag of flour from work, and I deliver him to each landing. I wonder if he knows how many landings he's delivered me to. I bet he doesn't care. It's just what he does. Like herding, born into it. He's so high, too. The pain meds keep him confused and agitated, until he can't fight them, and finally succumbs, canine nodding with a stuffed frog. I'm really impressed with him, I have to say. We're gonna have a nice eight weeks together, I think, with his recovery. And then we'll hit the beach like a LaMotta left hook.