Monday, February 5
It started innocently enough … my running partners were all hurt. I told Colleen (Kevin’s wife) that I should roll myself in bubble wrap, sit in a quiet corner and avoid unnecessary contact with the outside world.

Of course, I couldn’t let the comments end there. I may have also mentioned they were all injured because:

  1. they were old
  2. clumsy
  3. trying too hard to keep up with me (a well-documented lie, but it was funny @ the time)
  4. faking injury to avoid Stu’s 30K in March

Obviously, the running gods were going to make me pay for tempting fate.

Tuesday, February 6 6:00am:
This was supposed to be a morning run with Kevin, but since he was nursing bruised ribs following a tennis accident (who plays tennis outside in Massachusetts in February?) I hit the road alone for an easy 6 miles.

Three miles out, right before the turn for home I misjudge the height of a curb, catch my toe and end up sprawled on a patch of very cold, very hard dirt.

WOW – that could have been bad.  Three weeks ago it was Keith sprawled on the side of Old Stage Rd in Centerville gripping his ankle.  At least he had the excuse of a car bearing down on us, forcing us closer to the side of the road that caused him to lose his balance.  I’m just a klutz.

I spend the rest of the run on the center line of Putnam St (one of the busier roads in Cotuit) – only moving close to the curb if a car is visible.

Tuesday, February 6 9:30pm:
Our 3 year old, Colin,  wakes up, cries, calls out for Mom and proceeds to throw up all over his bed and floor. Michelle and I take turns sitting with him throughout the night. From 2-5:30am,  I sleep on the floor outside the bathroom.  Colin sleeps on the floor next to the toilet.

Wednesday, February 7, 5:30am:
Colin’s still sleeping on the floor next to me.  I put him in bed and hobble downstairs to make coffee.

My back hurts. My side hurts.  I check on Colin one more time. He’s OK – still sleeping – so I decide to do some stretching and weight lifting.  There won’t be any running today.  My body aches too much.

Wednesday, February 7, 9pm:
Colin is recovered.  He’s sleeping comfortably in his own bed.  Whatever he had lasted until about lunchtime and then he was back to his crazy, 3-year-old self.

Michelle and I are both exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before.  At 8pm we race to see who can be in bed first (I won).

The phone rings at 8:55pm.  My brain doesn’t register the fact that the far-away noise is a phone until the 3rd ring. We don’t have a working phone line in our bedroom, and since I know there’s no hope that I’m going to reach the phone in time, I lie there staring @ the ceiling deciding if I should get up and check caller id.

There are 3 groups of people who might be calling:

  1. family with some sort of emergency
  2. work with some sort of emergency
  3. a telemarketer with some sort of end-of-shift quota to reach (ironic, since I wrote my company’s telemarketing app)

Since there’s a 66% chance this is an emergency, I decide it’s worth it to climb out of my comfortable, warm bed and check the phone.

Based on her lack of movement and fake snoring, I can tell Michelle has no intentions of going to see who called.

I climb out of bed, rub the sleep from my eyes, walk down the hallway and FALL DOWN THE STAIRS.

No, this wasn’t a simple missed step, or a little slip.

I lost my balance on the top stair, hit my back and head and watched the ceiling zoom by as I fell the entire length of the stairs

I sat there – amazed.  I had never fallen down the stairs before.  How the hell did that just happen?  What’s the matter with me?

I shook off the cobwebs, let Michelle know that I was all right (she had actually come running when she heard the giant THUD on the stairs) and checked caller id.

Frickin telemarketers!!!!

Thursday, February 8, 4:00am:
Another crappy night’s sleep – this time due to my headache and rug burns from the stair incident. I get up to do some work and decide to give the treadmill a try.

My lower back spasms with each step, but I make it through 3.5 slow miles.  I’m beginning to think the bubble wrap idea wasn’t a bad one.

I tell myself that tomorrow will be a better day. Yes, tomorrow I’ll run 7 miles.

Friday (aka tomorrow), February 9, 3:45am
I wake up to a rumbling in my stomach.  Damn … I had too much pizza last night.  When did I get the stomach of an 85-year-old man?  A little extra grease and I have indigestion and heartburn??

There’s no sense in staying in bed feeling this way.  I decide to get up and find the Maalox.

Mmmmmm .. cherry maalox.

After guzzling the Maalox straight from the bottle, I pore myself a cup of coffee, sit down in my office, log into the VPN @ the office and … throw up a little in my mouth.  Oh god … that’s

about the worst taste ever.  Sweet jesus, where’s the garbage can.

I spit the nastiness from the back of my throat and realize that’s just the start.  That familiar feeling is building in my mouth – excess saliva mixed with butterflies in the stomach.


I dash to the bathroom and it’s as if I’m back in college.  Pizza, french fries, bites of chicken fingers, all mixed in w/ cherry maalox paint the inside of the toilet.  I’m seeing stars, my eyes

are watering, my back is still tight from the fall on Wednesday night and my nose is starting to bleed … good god, I’m a mess.

I spend the rest of the day shivering, sweating and wearing a path in the hallway to the bathroom.

Saturday, February 10, 6:00am
I slept in.

Seriously, why risk getting out of bed?

Since Monday afternoon, I’ve:

  1. tripped over a curb
  2. slept on a floor with a very sick 3-year-old
  3. cleaned up buckets of vomit
  4. fallen down a flight of stairs
  5. nearly dehydrated myself with the stomach bug from hell

Saturday is my day of atonement.  I pissed off the running gods, and they have made their presence felt.

I lie in my bed thinking of ways to repair the damage I’ve done.  My offering to the running gods needs to be heartfelt, meaningful, involve some work on my part and running-related.

Confession?  No, I haven’t been to mass in years, and I don’t think the church has a recommended penance for what I’ve done.

12-step program?  I considered individual phone calls to Keith, Rick and Kevin with apologies, but since its only 6am and I really want to atone sooner rather than later, I keep thinking.

Renew my Runner’s World subscription?  Not enough atonement.

Long post on the blog?  Doubt it will be meaningful.  I’m still woozy from Friday’s vomiting.

Clean the treadmill?   Hmmm .. that might work.

Is it heartfelt?  Well, I love my treadmill.  So I suppose this qualifies as heartfelt.

Meaningful?  Sure, why not.

Involve some work on my part?  Definitely, it’s covered in little drops of sweat that never come clean.

Running-related?  Um, yeah.

So Saturday morning, following a very slow 4-mile job on the treadmill I did the best I could,  lovingly cleaning the display, side rails, running boards and cover of my treadmill.

It’s still a nasty mess, and I’d be embarassed if any of my friends used it, but I feel like I made the proper offering to the running gods.

Sunday, February 11, 5:00am
After my Saturday treadmill-cleaning offering, the rest of the day went by without incident.

I didn’t fall.  No strange illnesses beset our family.  I was able to navigate every stairway cleanly.

I was back in the good graces of the running gods, but just in case I ran along the center line during my 12-mile run …. no reason to get too close to those scary curbs.