I went running this morning while Dave picked up The Three from sleepover, figuring I'd catch the cooler morning. Nice plan, except we're in the midst of a heat wave, and the morning was also really hot.
I planned a route that included my favorite trail (Upper Wildcat Canyon), one I haven't run in months. But to get there involves some decent uphills, and they hurt. Usually after a few minutes of uphill, I hit my stride, but this time it took every scrap of willpower to keep going, from giving myself nearby goals ("make it to that tree!") to thinking about how I'd been wronged by ex-boyfriends to forget the pain. Neither worked, but I finally plodded to a vista point where I let myself rest, choking for breath. I even sat down, and that proved to be a big mistake -- my feet and hands felt swollen and strange, and I felt dizzy and almost faint.
It was very hard to get going again, especially since I had another half-mile of uphill to go, and the break only made it worse. Then I started to get chills -- actual goosebumps on my arms, and had a few waves of nausea. My thinking was still fairly clear, and while I don't offhand know all the symptoms of heatstroke, chills, nausea and dizziness probably aren't good signs. But all would be fine when I reached the peak.
Finally, I made it to the top of my favorite trail, marking the end of the uphilling, and headed down with great relief. This trail is shaded, downhill takes far less effort (cardiovascularly, anyway; musculoskeletally, not so good), I'd play my music, and I'd be set. Wrong. Somehow not having to push through the uphills let my endorphins ebb or something. It took so so much effort to keep going, as my whole body hurt and I felt weak and strange. I had to coach myself for every step now, and reached back even farther for jerky ex-boyfriends (lots of those to fall back on). I didn't dare walk again.
It was the longest trip down that trail I'd ever taken, but somehow I made it to the farm, where I took a long, long drink at a fountain. Not because I felt all that thirsty, but because I was getting scared about how strange I felt and figured dehydration must be part of that. I'm not a big water drinker, and I never carry, or need, water when I run. The stop again set me reeling and made the relatively short flat jog back to the parking lot one of the hardest stretches I've ever done. I had to stop twice more, and twice thought I might faint, though I have enough experience fainting to know if I have time to think about it, I'm not actually fainting.
I made it back to the parking lot with more fear than relief. Quick stretch, then a long walk to my car (in a different parking lot), where I sat for a few moments to see if sitting would bring on more waves of weird feelings and if I could drive. I could. At home, some fruit, drinks, sitting and seeing my children all made me feel much better, but it took all day to shake off the weak feeling. It's too bad that my long-awaited reunion with my favorite trail was one of the hardest run experiences I've ever had.
OK, so much about me.
I've really been feeling bad that I haven't been doing anything with the kids, and that I'm so constantly distracted by remodeling things, my Dad's affairs, the turmoil of the rental house, and by our upcoming trip. Still, I think with all the sleepovers they needed some home downtime, and after my very rough morning, I wasn't in the mood to go anywhere today.
Downtime got old and the boys complained about being bored this afternoon. So I un-bored them by getting them to help me unpack, which made it a lot more fun. Julian liked unwrapping things, and Gabriel labelled some boxes for me -- very neatly!! He was offended when I offered to spell something that he thought he already knew.
Katrina mostly bopped around and played and "chatted" with me and the boys during our work. When Julian unwrapped a decorative jar of nuts, she zoomed right in on them. I dumped the nuts into a big melamine bowl and let her go to town. She picked out the pecans and put them into a little olive dish, then dumped the nuts back into the bowl, and played with them for over half an hour (wearing Julian's sandals, of course). It's amazing the little things that can entertain kids!
Julian couldn't resist joining in the fun, and after some admonitions from me, was able to sit back and mostly watch her, chipping in from time to time without making her screeeEEEEEECCCH!!! in protest.
It occurred to me during my run today (during one of the few moments when I was able to let my mind loose instead of focusing intently on survival), that Julian is old enough to be a playmate to Gabriel, yet young enough to be a playmate to Katrina too. He's the glue that keeps the other two from polarizing the family dynamic. Gabriel and Katrina interact a great deal, but even though Gabriel is not even 2 years older than Julian, his interaction with his little sister is much more on a caretaker level than on a peer level. Julian and Katrina truly play together, to whatever extent Katrina permits it, whereas Gabriel's play with her is much more like mine. It's amazing what a difference 2 years makes when you're only 4. Yet the childhood age difference will be permanently established in their adult relationships.
I got on a good roll tonight and worked hard organizing the garage, unpacking the living room, and emptying more odious boxes that torment me every which way I look. It will take months to undo all the habits our house-under-construction created with its odd spaces, just in time to have to dis-establish all our new habits from the rental house. Ample shelves in an attached garage can create some pretty lax habits!
But tomorrow, some play is called for.