Last Saturday I missed my training walk for the half marathon because I was volunteering with the Delta Society tests. We had 14 dog-handler teams scheduled for certification testing or re-testing. Sounds boring? Not if you have secret aspirations of community theater! N, who bears a remarkable resemblance to my mother (originally from NJ, raspy voice, short, not the most patient in the world) and I are the designated arguers. At a particular moment in the exam, we start arguing very loudly in order to see how the dog responds to this audible distraction in the midst of other visual and audible distractions. Being me, I like to throw N curveballs and yell "How could you say that to her about me??" or "I hate anchovies on pizza! Who puts anchovies on pizza!" or one of my favorites, "No, I'm taking that dog home with me, you can forget about it." (That last usually throws the testee a bit and makes them relax.) This year, a woman with a giant mastiff was being tested, so I threw out "Now that's a dog! Not that little pipsqueak thing you call a dog!" N was startled and didn't know what to say (of course I didn't mean it, gentle readers. Her dogs are very sweet, and one is usually our neutral testing dog). I also tried a wailing "How could you??" with a tear in my voice, because honestly, we've never run across people arguing in the hospital, but we come across people crying all the time. As an acting improv, it flopped. (Stinkerbelle gets very solemn when she spies someone crying and goes over to them and is quiet--a rarity for her--and tries to lick them better.) I got to be flapper (hospital gown flapper, that is) but not bumper this time. But the test runs all day, and I left my house just after 8 a.m., so that meant no time for a Saturday walk.
Or a Sunday walk, as I spent last Sunday weed whacking my backyard down to the nub and raking all the grass up to get ready for this weekend, when I thatched, spread winter rye grass seed followed by a manure topping mix. After cutting 7 bags full off my Texas Ranger shrubs the week before. Just call me Little Mossy Garden Busy Bee.
So that puts me and J one week behind schedule for our half marathon. But since the training schedule has two or three 6-mile Saturdays when you're supposed to work on pace, I decided to skip one of those designated 6-milers and just keep increasing distance so we'd be back on track in just a couple of weeks. J couldn't walk this Saturday, so I did my 7 miles alone, listening to an audiobook.
All was going fine until about mile 6, when my hips started aching really bad and I realized I'd forgotten to take a Tylenol before I left home. Luckily, I ran in to S and her dog R (R visits with Stinkerbelle at the local hospital) right about then, so I slowed to walk with them and chat for a bit. S has an ACL injury, so it really was a slow walk, then I took off and walked the last mile at a leisurely pace. And found, when I got back home, that I had to sort of pour myself out of the E because even though I stretched back at the car after that mile-long cooling off final walk, I still had stiffened up into pretzel as starched as a nun's veil.
Now I've spent half an hour researching hip pain on the web and terms like lordosis and sacroliliac joint dysfunction are skipping around my brain. So two pearls of wisdom to keep in mind from now on:
- Stretch, stretch, stretch!!
- Middle age ain't for sissies.