This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Runnin' by the Mississippi

Tim found an area for us to run in Memphis (we're in Arkansas/Tennessee for Tim's dad's funeral) on Mud Island.

I attended my senior year of high school about an hour east of Memphis, in Gosnell, Arkansas. I went to Memphis often for shopping and fun, and on a couple of occassions, the trip included time at Mud Island.

Mud Island, as I knew it, is a tourist attraction on a very small 'island' off the Mississippi River on the Tennessee side of the river. I had great memories of this place: a winding manmade stream that you could actually wade through in your bare feet, that wound throughout the island. There was an open area where I watched the 4th of July fireworks one year.

And when my friend Terri moved to Memphis a few years ago, she told me she was looking at places to rent on Mud Island.

What? I thought. How can you rent a place on a tourist attraction? I was completely dumbfounded until today.

There is yet another bridge from Front Street that connects to Mud Island, on the _other_ side of the "new" bridge (that crosses the Mississippi into Arkansas). And sure enough, it's full of high-end condos and homes. It had a nice wide path that followed the entire neighborhood. Not enough for a seven mile run one way (and possibly both ways) but nonetheless, a good little path for a run.

It was pretty nice as Tim and I started our run. I know I had a brisk pace. I was excited. I felt great. I was "good morning" the people that I passed. Man, I'm thinking, I am going to have a fast pace for my long run. I'm just getting all cocky in my head now.

Then we turned around and VOILA! A 40 knot head wind.

I noticed, as we were driving to mud island, pedestrians and hobos walking into the wind SLANTED. And somehow, I forgot all of that when I started runnng. And that's easy to forget when you feel like you're flying...not realizing that the 40 knot wind is helping you fly. Once we turned around, it was a block of wind pushing us back.

And then my cockiness went away and I thought about how I was going to manage seven miles. When we got to the other end of the route, we were only at 2 1/2 miles, so back and forth on this path was still not going to get us close to the miles we wanted.

But Tim thought we'd cross the bridge (running) and run throuh the streets of Memphis. A bold and brave move. Memphis is not the safest place in the world to be running in. But there appeared to be quite a few runners around so we felt okay about it.

But something happened to me at one turn toward the bridge: that my body needed to hit the head. And not just to pee. But this has happened before and I knew that in due time, it would go away.

So we ran up the hill of the bridge and I thought I had a handle on my, um, physical self and as I started down the hill, then I knew that this was not something that would go away. I really tried to debate and think: I think I can run and make this go away. But then I thought I better not chance it and told Tim that I better head back to the car because I've got a 'tummy' problem.

He said he could take me to the Welcome Center to take care of business and I almost told him not to worry about it until I started jogging again...then I said "Okay".

He took off - going fast to get to the car. I thought about how amazing this guy is to act fast in an emergency. But now I'm all alone, with a cell phone, near the empty lot of the Pyramid in Memphis. I decided it would be better for me to keep moving and at least get on the bridge, where no one could abduct me ;-).

I made it back to the Mud Island part when I saw the minivan and hopped in.

We made it to the Welcome Center and Tim and I parted ways so he could finish his run while I finished mine (pun intended).

My long run ended up being short of four miles. So much for being cocky. It just doesn't suit me because something always happens to put me in my place.

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