What’s worse than runner’s knee? Knunner’s ree. But that’s another story for another time.
Yesterday my wife and I were training for our half-marathon—one month away in Cleveland. It was a ten mile run. The weather was a surprising 80 degrees; other people were outside. I waved. Mile 2 my knee became stiff, and I ran through it. Mile 5 my knee seized and my body dug into the asphalt like Iron Man falling from the sky. “Ah poop,” I said.
The great thing about living in Rochester is that I’m constantly given opportunities to have a
bad attitude a great attitude. It’s been a tough winter (as I’ve said and said and said) but we’re finally out of it! (Tomorrow a snow storm is expected). And though I’m limping like a sailor, I’m happy to say—
I can’t do it.
I’ve reached my max here.
This knee thing is the pits. I’m well aware that I signed up for 23 credits with a part-time job and, well, what should I have expected? But this marathon? It was going to be everything. It would represent my ascension into post-Spring semester heaven. I would be running. Those cheering on the sidelines would be yelling, “Kevin, you made the right choice moving to Rochester. Way to go!” Or, “Keep up the good work, Kevin! Never mind the opportunity costs associated with uprooting and college. You’re almost there!” And finally, as I’m given a small cup of water, with extra, because I deserve it: “You can do it! Your wife’s career is mildly suffering but it is worth it for you to study at a private school! Woo!”
Megan and I would run it together, too; crossing the finish line, holding hands, we become a symbol of achievement. Everything her and I have gone through in the last year as a couple would melt away. All the loss. All the adjustment and readjustment. There would be cheers and pictures and it wouldn’t be snowing. We would pause and cue music.
A Little Hempel From My Friends
Yesterday, during the walk back to the car (because I couldn’t run, remember?), my wife and I talked about our attitudes, about how we’re going to survive one more year here, and how we need to live in the present moment instead of always wishing to live in the future.
We walked along the Genesee River and I looked at the muddy brown water. It’s beautiful in an ugly sort of way, I thought, though really, I was just happy to be outside. Megan shared some great insight from a book she’s been reading, and, I too, thought about lessons from recent literature. In class, I had read “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” by Amy Hempel. She has this line that stuck with me, it says: “I don’t know why looking back should show us
more than looking at.”
I guess I need an attitude alignment. Even if my knee is bum. Even if the snow dumps (in April). Even if the opportunity cost to live here is high. I need to remember to look at instead of back. I need to enjoy the moment and every day, because I believe God exists, and as outrageous as that can sound, look, and feel sometimes, I understand that He gives hope worth living for.
Because living in the future is a fantasy and an easy way out of commitment. Also, sour neon worms make me feel better. Maybe with God, my wife, and the worms, I can try a little harder to enjoy where I live. The algorithm starts there.
Any advice for attitude realignment? Runner’s Knee fixing? Sour Neon Worm fan society entrance?
Thanks for reading!
(Picture at the top: Taken during yesterday’s run)