The other day, in one of the facebook groups I’m a part of, the question was posed “What is your most awkward running related moment?” Awkward was qualified as having to be seen by or noticed by another individual, immediately there went a handful of good stories. (Most poop stories, like the time the tree I was leaning against gave way, were inadmissible.) I stareted to do some thinking and realized that I had a couple. I won’t recant the strange awkward runs from high school or college as pretty much everything I did at that age is now awkward and embarassing.
In the week following the VT100, my feet were too swollen to fit into my standard running shoes. While it didn’t deter me from running, I was taking things incredibly easy and so chose to ‘run’ with the double jogging stroller to the local pond for my son’s swim lessons. The pond is about a mile away, and right on the road, but in order to get to the beach I had to run an extra tenth of a mile up the road to the driveway and then double back. Or, I could just hop the curb, hold onto the stroller down the embankment, push it across a little bridge and arrive safely to the beach. I hate walking so I decided on the latter option.
Previously, I had taken the single jogging stroller down the steep embankment to the beach, so the double wasn’t too big of a stretch. As I approached the downhill, I did as I did with the single – I let go. The tether was still attached to my arm and I would have better control of my body weight leaning backwards than trying to control the stroller as my weight leaned down the slope – physics. Of course, what I failed to realize was the slope has a pitch to it and my 40 pound son was on the low side, also the same side as the tether.
In a sort of slow-motion train wreck, one of the back wheels of the stroller started lifting off the ground. As I reached out to grab the handle of the stroller, it rolled further down the hill and the wheel got higher off the ground. Suddenly, the balance of the weight in the stroller tipped and the wheel went from hovering off the ground to flipping over. Luckily, the kids were strapped in so no one “fell” out of the stroller, but they were pinned underneath the stroller, upside down. My son and daughter screamed mid-flip which caused all the other parents at the beach to witness the flipping. All the while I was in my home-made huaraches, still hobbling from the VT100. Parent of the year right there.
The Jelly Shoe Girl
When we lived in Georgia, I did a good number of my runs late at night. Sometimes I wouldn’t leave the house until 11:30 at night. The problem was that while the city was still alive and well, none of the businesses were open. More than once I ran into the issue of having to use the facilities but having no facilities available, but too many street lights and too many people to find some place discreet.
On this particular evening, I had gone for my run and was on my way home when it hit. I needed a bathroom bad. The house was only 3/4 of a mile away, but that 3/4 of a mile wasn’t happening. There was really no place I could go, so I stopped by the local track knowing that there would at least be a trash can and while it would be lit up, the chance of anyone being there was slim.
As things work, the Jelly Shoe Girl was there. I never talked to her, but I did bump into her a few times at the track. She would run a handful of laps, walk a bit, then run some more. She was a runner, but wore jelly shoes, and jean shorts. She didn’t look the part at all. We made eye contact a few times, but she had an edge of wariness to her.
I approached the track and saw her running her laps. There was nothing I could do: if I turned around, there would be a mess on the road, at least here it would be contained. As I shuffled towards the trashcan I noticed a t-shirt that had been there the night before. I gingerly squatted as little as possible to pick it up and continued my shuffle to the trashcan. I tied the arms together to make a kind of bag, the type you might see on a horse in the city. I tried to pull the trashcan into the shadows, but there is no doubt she saw what happened. There’s also no doubt the security cameras at the track (it was a private school in a rough area)didn’t see what happened.