November 3, 1989, a day I shall never forget. I had fallen drunk through the glass top of my coffee table, cut myself to smithereens, and nearly bled to death. November 3, 2019, to celebrate 30 years of being clean and sober, and health, I ran a 5k with a running buddy and family members. It was at the Miles in the Maize, Colony Pumpkin Patch, in North Liberty. Recent snow, plus a corn-maze-dirt-path, equals — mud! Yep. Oh, well, I had certainly rolled in the mud, blood and beer in my using days, maybe it was symbolic. A little poetic justice, eh?
I had also timed the release of my second book, “Bossy” to coincide with my 30-year anniversary. It’s a book of short stories about my family and myself, fictionalized, of course. “Bossy” was our family cow. Only Mom could milk her. If interested in the book, my contact information is below.
Our first steps on the muddy, corn-lined path was almost too much. Mud clung to our running shoes, making each step feel like ankle weights. Ugh. There was even sloshy mud puddles to tiptoe through. Oh, boy. Keep going. One step at a time, like my sobriety. It’s only 3.1 miles.
My running companion, Lonnie, from New Boston (Iowa), had run another 5k the day before. Can you believe it?! However, in the past he has run 7 half-marathons (13.1 miles) in 7 days, so what’s two 5k’s in a row? I noticed he was agonizing over the mud also, trying to kick it off with each step. He normally wears ear buds to listen to music as he runs. He didn’t have them in today. Was this to listen to my breathing so he would know when to dial 911 in case of my heart attack? I think so.
A little kid went flying by us, flinging mud like a helicopter. There was a huge puddle ahead. He ran right through the middle, slipped, his feet went over his head, and he came down on his back. Ker-splash! There was going to be a special award for the muddiest person. I’m sure he was a strong contender.
Up hill, down hill. Mud clinging to our feet. Huff, puff. No walking for me! Although, it’s been proven, in one study after another, that the run/walk strategy is actually faster, especially at my age (71), than running the whole way. Nope. I’m from the old school, by golly. Walking is for sissies!
Finally, the end is near. I can hear the announcer’s voice over the loud speaker. Hurrah! Lonnie and I raise our hands together at the finish line. Ginnie is waiting. She hands me a gold medallion for 30 years of sobriety. The medallion is from a friend with 32 years of sobriety, so it’s proven tried and true. Thank you, God, for health, sobriety, and Ginnie!
Now it’s her turn for the one mile walk. I join her and her sister. It’s the least I can do for all their support. However, because of the mud, they only do a half-a-mile. Wimps!
We went out to eat at the Olive Garden in Coralville. You can eat all you want after running. I had Italian Zoodles — noodles made from zucchini, for the health of it. The whole University of Iowa varsity basketball team came in to eat, having to duck their heads through the doorway. All eyes were on them, including ours. I wanted to run over for an autograph, but got to thinking, “Hey, we’re just as great as they are. Didn’t we just run a 5k?” They get pestered enough when out in public, anyway.
At home, Ginnie picked corn out of the caked mud on her favorite walking shoes. Ironically, the New York City Marathon was on television. No mud for these gazelles!
My, my, 30 years, clean and sober. Going for 50! One day at a time.
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at email@example.com or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.