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Tiaras and Trucks

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Slow Down

Mascara dampens my eyelids the minute I open the front door to leave the comfort of our air-conditioned house.  Humidity immediately presses my lungs a few inches smaller, Ryan’s words “take it easy” ring in my ears before I insert my earbuds and quiet the world around me with music.

Starting slowly isn’t a problem.  A little sore from the previous day’s long run, my muscles need a few minutes to find ground.  Balmy air blankets my body; I felt my legs picking up pace, the heat working out aches and worries at the same time.  The fast stride is freeing, but I force myself to slow down.
Left.  Pause.  Right.
Right.  Pause.  Left.
Thick, hazy air lulls my legs into submission, slowly moving along to the cadence I had planned.
Left.  Pause.  Right.
Right.  Pause.  Left.
Propelled by muscle memory, my body pushes through the familiar route without thought, allowing my mind to wander.  My growing to-do list plays on an endless loop in the background.
Dinner for the week – turkey burgers, tacos, homemade pizza.
I should make bread tomorrow.
Bangs or no bangs?
Need bananas.
Milk.
Right.  Left.  Right.  Left.
You and me could write a bad romance.
Left.  Right.  Left.  Right.
Lady Gaga invades my subconscious.  My controlled pace quickens with the beat.  Sweat burns my eyes.  Slow down.
Working against the music, I concentrate on matching the slapping of my feet against the pavement to my mental count. 
One and two.  Three and four.
Slowing down should be simple, especially with sweat coursing down my back and the muggy air tangling my ponytail into a damp nest against my neck.
It’s not.
I can’t imagine that Lady Gaga slows down when the lights on stage get too hot.
Focus.
Slow down.
Five and six.  Seven and eight.
Go Brooklyn, go Brooklyn…
LL Cool J pulls my legs into a slower, smoother run, offering relief from the pounding beats that normally pulse out of the metallic pink square that logs all of my miles with me, clipped to my shirt or shorts.
Relaxed, my arms swing back and forth.  Dusk threatens to slide into darkness.  I fleetingly wonder how fireflies know to glow as the night fades.  Maybe they blink on and off in the daylight, but they’re eclipsed by the sun?  An easy fact to find, but I intentionally let the question dissipate into the air behind me.  Some magic shouldn’t be explained by science.
Back and forth.  Back and forth.
One and two.  Three and four.  Five and six.  Seven and –
The hill.
The one that always hurts.
Up and down.  My legs are pistons, tired yet strong.  Up and down.  My breath catches.  Up and down.
The ground levels out, and I gasp a little before regaining my breath and my stride.
Left.  Pause.  Right. 
Right.  Pause.  Left. 
I want somebody to speed it up for me, then take it down slow.  There’s enough room for both.
Right and left.
Left and right.
Madonna might be onto something.  An almost imperceptible breeze grazes my cheek.
Right.  Left.  Right.  Left.
Home.

the prompt
Write about a time that rhythm, or a lack thereof, played a role in your life. And don’t use the word “rhythm.”
thanks to Lady Gaga (Bad Romance) LL Cool J (Doin' It) & Madonna/Justin Timberlake (4 Minutes) for getting me through a steamy run

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33 Comments:

  • At July 19, 2011 at 9:44 AM , Anonymous Taming Insanity said...

    You are doin' it well. I loved this. I could feel myself slow down whenever you did.

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 10:22 AM , Anonymous Kir said...

    oh how I love when you write about running, mostly because I know nothing about it and yet I am next to you, keeping pace, the music in my ears and the sidewalk under my feet. It was wonderful, such good RHYTHM to it. ;)

    my favorite line: Some magic shouldn’t be explained by science.

    this was so good, so tight and wonderful. GREAT JOB, my friend. xo

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 12:26 PM , Anonymous Jennifer said...

    Running is so woven into your soul that when you write about it I feel it, like I feel a friend when they are talking to me. This was really, really amazing. I found myself moving my lips when reading this.

    My favorite line: I fleetingly wonder how fireflies know to glow as the night fades. I love those wonderful, random magical thoughts that come and go so quickly when doing any kind of endurance exercise. Talk about nailing the prompt!

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 3:04 PM , Anonymous LextheMom said...

    Your passion is vivid in this piece.  I couldn't pick a favorite line in this - it's just so beautifully written!

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 3:26 PM , Anonymous christina said...

    awesome.

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 5:43 PM , Anonymous Galit Breen said...

    Love it lady! Your words are like poetry and your running? Sounds beautiful.

    You had so many gorgeous lines, but this one -Balmy air blankets my body- was especially perfect.

    XO

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 7:57 PM , Anonymous Mama Track said...

    I felt like I was running with you. Which is saying a lot because I'm not a runner.

    I loved the pounding. It kept me so grounded, so focused, throughout the post.

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 8:47 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I am a pusher about running.  Isn't that terrible?  Ryan is running a half marathon this fall that I signed him up for :)

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 8:48 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks sweets!  Although we've wandered past balmy into sickeningly sticky LOL

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 8:48 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks :)

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 8:48 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks so much.  I do love it!

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 8:49 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you!  Those random thoughts are one of my favorite parts about running.

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 8:50 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks so much Kir!  Isn't it true that it's better to believe in magic sometimes :) ?

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 8:50 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    This is my favorite comment of the day.  LL rocks my world.

     
  • At July 19, 2011 at 9:28 PM , Anonymous Jackie said...

    I always wished I liked running...sigh...your piece ALMOST makes me want to try it again...almost.

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 12:02 AM , Anonymous Elaine said...

    I know the nest of hair of which you speak.  You made me want to go for a run!  But it's too late tonight... ;)  Nice!  I definitely felt the rhythm here!

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 10:47 AM , Anonymous Jackie said...

    Living in Michigan too I could feel the heat & humidity as you stepped out the door. And I give you props for being able to get out that door and run when it's so humid!

    You did a great job with the prompt. The running, the music, and the tasks running through your head were a great way to describe how rhythm plays a role in your life.

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 12:03 PM , Anonymous Sara Mooradian said...

    Just five seconds.... Madonna is certainly on to something here and so are you. This was a great post. I love the pace, the control of the pace that you set forth. It seriously makes me want to hit the pavement. Loved it! 

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 2:51 PM , Anonymous Roxanne Piskel said...

    This might be my favorite of the "rhythm" posts. I think you did a fantastic job catching the pace & the feeling of how you push through the heat & humidity to do something for you.

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 6:03 PM , Anonymous Cheryl said...

    So funny - I also did running for this prompt but decided not to publish (wasn't happy with it) so i'm glad you did! I have those songs that make me go faster and others for a more relaxed pace. 

    And my piece also included hills, since that is all we have around here. I so know that burning in the quads - and lungs. Sigh.

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 7:59 PM , Anonymous PearlsGirl said...

    I'm tired and hot just reading it.

    PearlsGirl

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 8:01 PM , Anonymous PearlsGirl said...

    I'm tired and hot just reading it. 

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 9:08 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Ryan is saying that I need to run at the gym tonight!  101 today, so it's still crazy hot out there.

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 9:10 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I guess running just sticks with you :)

    Oh, hills!  We don't have too many, but I sympathize for you.  I guess having a lot of them around is good training, but I might die.  Or quit running.  Although I would have a better tush.

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 9:11 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oh my goodness, thank you!  There were some lovely posts out there this week, so that means a lot to me.

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 9:11 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Honestly, I couldn't run without my music.  Even though it's just background, it helps me so much!

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 9:12 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Isn't the humidity/heat crazy right now?  Thanks Jackie!

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 9:13 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I still need to go tonight, which is always a bad thing.  Running at 10-11 doesn't bother me, but then I can't sleep forever.

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 9:13 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Do it :)  (I am a pusher!  I'm sorry!)

     
  • At July 20, 2011 at 10:40 PM , Anonymous jentos23 said...

    This was gorgeous!! Like I was running right there with you :)

     
  • At July 21, 2011 at 8:59 PM , Anonymous Kid Id said...

    You captured all the senses and experiences so well! And reminded me of all the reasons I hate running! : )

     
  • At July 24, 2011 at 8:27 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Aw, running's not so bad ;)

    Thank you!

     
  • At October 29, 2011 at 10:28 PM , Anonymous CDG said...

    I missed this the first go 'round. But I think that now that I'm starting to run myself--slowly--it makes more sense to me than it might have.

    Regardless, it's beautifully rendered.

     

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