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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Running things I missed

Saturday, 8 am: time for a "long" run! I can leave a little later than usual since my long run is ... two miles.
I walk the first block, then break into a run as I pass Philip's Bar. "Hello, darling," a deep voice from behind lattices and shrubbery startles me. It's our neighbor Joseph's dad, hanging out on the courtyard. He's the same one who gave me bread during my run that one time.
I came home from my run with my ipod, Garmin, and two loaves of bread. 
He can see me, but I can't see him, although I know who it is: my hip surgery buddy (he had a replacement right before I had my surgery).

I wait for a streetcar to rumble by before I cross St. Charles, dodging the Dog Walker, the man I always see wearing a khaki vest and walking 6 or 7 dogs. I think he does it for a living. I turn off St. Charles into the park, pausing to allow the Tulane cross country boys to woosh past me, spraying me irreverently with sweat.

I don't expect to see many people I know in the park, not at this late hour: my smarter friends finished their long runs half an hour ago. But I nod to a runner who is on her way out and she waves back. She runs with Varsity sometimes.

I'm alternating running and walking for a total of five miles today. I'd like to do one mile of running spaced with walking for about a mile total on the first loop, then try for two miles straight on the second loop. During my first run segment I see my neighbor. "She's back! The Bullet's back!" He gives me a damp high-five. I swing into a walk and dodge the dog-walking ladies, a pack there every morning, who annoyingly block the whole lane.

Prison Yard Workout is at it again: it's our name for the muscled guy in a head scarf and denim vest over bare chest, who completes a very intimidating workout on the side of the path almost every day. We have nicknames for most of the park regulars.

I finish my first loop and stop at the water fountain as I complete my last walking segment. Another runner is in front of me, and he greets me. "You're the first person I've seen smiling out here in this heat." I explain that I'm just back from surgery, so every run is a good run. We chat as we run the loop, and of course (since it's New Orleans), we know all the same people. He ran Louisiana Marathon in 3:10:xx, finishing maybe a minute behind me, so we had plenty to talk about.

We part friends and maybe future training partners, but I can't go over 2 miles per doctor's orders. I leave the park and almost run right into my friend Jon, who is coming back from a knee injury. We swap notes on aches, pains, and PT before I run home. At the corner of Broadway I awkwardly wave to Mr. Big Red Truck's catcall....Ugh. I hate when this happens. I'm so blind that if I hear anyone call to me I always wave, to prevent being rude, but sometimes honks and calls aren't from people I know. Boo. Oh well, I suppose he thinks he's really something special.

Who do I see leaving just as I round the corner to my house? DAVID? Lazy bum. Just woke up! I'm sure he appreciates the sweaty kiss...
Then I'm back home. Time for stretches and Saturday pancakes!


  1. I love your narrative run! It's easy to picture it all. I have no park, though. No regulars! Just me and the skunks and bears.. and occasional trucks. But they never cat call here. I could use a good cat call! I miss living in a college town for that :)
    So happy to see you had the surgery and are running again, Gracie!!

  2. Love this! So much of the local colour. Every neighbourhood has its fair share of park-using eccentrics (mine has a guy on a unicycle and I once saw a man out walking his parrot). You must be overjoyed to be back!

    1. We also have a guy who walks his parrot! Or drives his parrot. He has a reclining tricycle and the parrot sits on his shoulder.

    2. This must be a thing in all the parrot instruction manuals. "Frequent walks or rides are good for your parrot."

  3. This is great. It just took me to where you live and reminded me about the locals that I see when I get out on my usual routes. Those little interactions can really make your day.

  4. So great to see an endorphin fueled post from you again post-run! :))))) So glad to see your recovery going well finally! Kristen