April 5, 2014 by scratchtype1
On Thursday, we had just been laughing about things to sell and that came to a stop. I then felt my stomach roll and could almost feel the stomachs of 2 of my co-workers roll. One of them looked up at me where I stood in the doorway and asked, “Oh, I don’t know what I’m going to end up doing.” The smile from shortly before had vanished from her face. I put my right hand to the back of my neck and rubbed it. “I’m not sure either,” I said.
Tuesday evening I got home and changed out of my work clothes. I then ran about a 30-minute warmup before I hit the hill that I’ve been using for hill repeats during March. They’ve been the speedwork I’ve been doing for a 5K race. I had skipped over them the week I was sick with an upper respiratory infection, then had done a set of 10 last week. I only wanted to do 4 or so for this session. It’s been a difficult recovery from when I was sick, my running paces dropped badly. Tuesday’s repeats were encouraging some, not quite as fast as I would have liked to have seen, but at least almost where I was before I got sick.
Now here I am Saturday morning and the 5K race is this afternoon. I feel rather subdued about it. I woke up yesterday morning and my throat again had a faint tickle to it and my voice had taken on a gravelly tone. I think I’ll still go, but I don’t think I will be able to run top speed. Training got compromised by March, a combo of the weather and getting sick as badly as I did. Sometimes it’s hard to find a break or what to feel good about.
Thursday’s run was a struggle. Perhaps some it was because of the 4 hill repeats on Tuesday, perhaps some it was because another bug was taking hold and would begin to show itself more overtly when I would wake up Friday morning with that tickle in the throat. Or perhaps it was because of nothing to do with running, but the day of Wednesday.
Tuesday I had been feeling nervous what was to come on Wednesday. Maybe some because of that, I did run the last 3 of the 4 hill repeats solidly hard. I would go past the starting point, hit the split button on the Garmin, and look up to the telephone up the hill where the repeat would end. Run. Hard. It’s almost like falling into a black hole, where the body would get stretched out like spaghetti before disappearing into oblivion. Perhaps life is a series of black holes, perhaps hill repeats can serve as training on how to survive and come out on the other side still able to run and to live. You can think an awful lot inside those stretched out bits of time. This is me, run hard. OKCupid is not doing much for my love life, why is that? Is it my failing? Maybe I’m just totally incompetent at raising anyone’s interest. Fuck. What’s tomorrow bringing? Run, run hard. Telephone pole. Is it getting any closer? Are any goals getting closer? There, finally, slow down, turn around, cruise down the hill.
Today’s going to be a pretty day. Some green is starting to appear in the grassy areas. I saw some daffodils on my way to work the last 2 days. The sky is empty of clouds.
I have 4 weeks of work left at the job where I’ve worked for 13.5 years. Wednesday the company I worked for announced they were closing down our division of the company. I learned that I’ll be one of the ones who will work the final day at our location. I will get to turn out the lights and put boards over the doors. So now my work has become a crazy combination of the usual tasks and beginning to plot how to break stuff down and empty the place. It’s weird. I do a specific task that I’ve done many times now. I get it done and realize, sometime soon I will do that for the last time. Then my stomach twists and I have to fight back an urge to cry. It’s not been any great-paying job but it suited me well. I like the people I work with and I haven’t had anyone hovering over me about what to get done — some because I get it done but also because the leadership was never overbearing. Am I ever going to find someplace like that again? Even if I do find something close to it, I won’t have 4 weeks of paid vacation anymore. Crap. I will miss that, even if my vacations of recent years haven’t involved any distant travels.
I had some really bad thoughts while trying to fall asleep Wednesday night after work. The worst of the shadows began nibbling at my edges. Everything was quiet and lonely. Everything was quiet except for the doubts and memories playing out in my head. It’s crazy. I’ve talked with the guy who hired me back the fall of 2000 a couple of times while we figure out how to handle the closing of the location. Both times he’s said, “It’s going to be all right, Matt.” He knows that I’ve always been someone who’s mental attitude is prone to darkness and depression. Still, I think even in trying to reassure me, he was also talking to himself then. He’s had an even longer time at the company. I remember a day back in 2005 when he took some of us from one of our old locations to the new one that was being built. He showed us the office space that was being constructed, where there was going to be a conference room, where there was a small office for me next to it, where this office would be for another, where the file room would be. We made the move in the fall of 2005.
Now all that space which feels so much like mine will eventually be leased to someone new. And I won’t be driving to there in the morning Monday through Friday. I will no longer open the door to my small office. Someday I will turn off the computer in my office and pack it up to be sent somewhere. The shelving in there will be taken out.
It’s a hard blow. I’ve gotten to feeling more hopeful and stable and I’ve been helped a lot by running. But doubts are at the edges again and my edges fray easily. But even while ragged, I can be stubborn. I still ran Thursday evening after all of Wednesday. I managed to deal with the thoughts of Thursday while running. I was in Xeros but they allowed enough feel to make me feel the run. It’s no wonder I lost running back in 2010 and after a breakup. With my feet in thick shoes, I couldn’t really feel myself running. And the thoughts were terrible and haunted. I suppose sometimes even now when I run the thoughts are terrible and haunted — ghosts have long lifespans in my universe, and they’ll likely outlive me. But if barefoot or in Xeros, if I can feel my feet connecting to the world, the run has a stronger reality and I can continue to run. Maybe that’s the lesson of Thursday. Maybe. Certainty is rarely so certain as we often wish it to be.
The decision’s made. I will run this afternoon. It may be a crappy 5K, I may be slightly sick and unable to go hard like I had wanted to when I first set my eyes on it in December last year. That’s life. Nothing’s perfect. No one is. No life is. Any stray readers who may wish to wish me luck, I’ll take it right now. But none is expected or required.