2? (Or 3?) Okay, 3.1

C3PO said it best, “Here we go again.”

He said it with a lot of emotion- for a droid. Not exactly looking forward to the journey, but on the journey nonetheless.

I am closing a remarkable week. I rarely, if ever, mention publicly that I do have a full time career. But I do. (Smiley face here). And this past week, I had the remarkable opportunity for the first time in my life to work from home as I completed an OSHA 30 Course. Beyond that, the time at home allowed me to stay away from pop (I was back to 10- 20 ounce bottles a day) and deal with the withdrawal without biting anyone’s head off. (Yes, my wife survived, too.)

The truth is, although I have been active at home and work and have been writing- I haven’t been feeling up to par. I knew I needed to do something drastic. I don’t think we fully understand what an addiction to pop does to us. Don’t focus on the caffeine. It’s got to be the other stuff that causes brain fog and makes me desire that couch and TV more than anything else in the world.

Seventeen years ago I was twenty-nine years old and embarking on a quest to change my life. I want that temperature back.

*** ***

Today was a day of determination. I set out to run two. I paid only enough attention to the weather to decided two sweatshirts would have to do the trick. I decided about a quarter of a mile in the run that two miles would have to be enough. The roads were ok… not much traffic, but I did not want to push too hard on the first day.

I have not run since November 18, 2022. That seems like an eternity ago. But it felt good. No immediate pain in my legs, hips, or knee. Ha, give it time. I turned the corner onto the long road where I would spend most of my day and everything was so pretty. Ohioans don’t necessarily believe winter is pretty. But it was this morning.

Sometimes a goal is to finish a run. Sometimes a goal is to get past a particular house without the dogs seeing you. I hate to wake up dogs- let alone people- before 8am. So far so good. I’m not as hopeful for the return trip in about 20 minutes. I bet those nice people hate runners just because of me.

I approached the mile mark and was surprisingly feeling good. Do I dare tackle three? That only means a half mile more before I turn around, when if I kept the two miler, I could turn around now. But it’s really awful when you are feeling good at the one mile marker. I decided to keep going.

It was almost a really bad mistake. As I approached a house, the driveway spilled into the road creating what was about 10 feet of sheer ice… but ice with clumps. I kept running, making sure my feet did not change their destinations. Meaning- don’t try to pick and choose where you land. Just keep landing. I am more likely to slip if I try to swerve or hit what looks like the best spot.

Running three means crossing a state highway. It also means there is a possibility of stopping, which reminds me of the danger of changing from two to three during a run on a very cold day. If I can’t make it to three- I will end up walking. And walking could be dangerous as the sweat now pushing through two sweatshirts and a t shirt will undoubtedly shiver me to the bone.

Which is also why I am hoping there are no cars on the state highway. Stopping just isn’t going to work today.

Seeing no cars, I hit the road. There is only a short distance now before I turn around. So the question becomes. Do I just run an extra five tenths to make the finish an “even” 3.1? Sure, why not. What’s 3.1?

Oh… yeah, there’s that walking thing. And the sweating. And the freezing. My OSHA training told me exactly what not to do in extreme cold conditions. “Don’t go out alone.” Uh, Check! “If you do go out alone, take a charged cell phone with you.” Oops. My cell phone is on the table. “Always dress in layers.” Well duh. I did that.

I turned around at 1.55 miles, at the exact point a tank used to sit in a field. The tank is no longer there, but I was comfortable with my spot.

Oh, I hate that first glance up the road when you turn around. Out and backs are not ideal. But the highway comes first, and then just a long stretch of road that I need to remind myself to just keep running.

I did not walk during this run, but it is close. People driving by might have said, “Look at that man trying to run.” Walking is altogether a different exercise.

Without warning, about 10 feet before the driveway with the ice, I encountered what was the rest of the sheet- this time it was about 30 feet across. I was five feet inside before I realized it, so I had no where to go but forward.

Oddly enough- this is where my OSHA training did help. I thought to myself- ok, I should stop, right? Walking is more safe than running on ice, right? I do NOT want to hurt myself. A slip on the ice could cause tendon stretches that could last for months.

Then I remembered- the front tires of a tow motor actually lack traction when they are unloaded. So… perhaps it is best to KEEP running because the weight of running actually produces traction which might disappear if I walked. Right? Anyway- I kept my pace and here I am, safe and sound back home.

I am not a scientist, and an OSHA 30 Card is not going to get me access to FBI files or anything, but I did enjoy today’s run. And I am looking forward to tomorrow. That is everything there is, right?

By Eric Ebinger

Constantly feeding the passion of studying presidents with reading, writing and walking humbly in their footsteps. Constantly- except for the 50 hours a week I serve as Human Resources Manager for a wonderful manufacturing company in north central Ohio. 

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