On Sunday, I got up, knowing I needed Some Kind Of Plan for things to do all day with Helene that would keep her from moaning and whining with much drama about recently imposed limits on iPad time. I remembered that there was a 1:35 Nationals game, and that her school had gotten a block of seats. I'd already missed out on the group tickets, but if I could just find out what section they were in, we could buy other cheap tickets and find the Capitol Hill Cluster School group - this late in the season, there would be plenty of empty seats around, and the ushers wouldn't care. I started texting and emailing a few people to see if they were going, and browsing the Nationals site for tickets. An email popped up on the school listserve - one of the librarians had two tickets for the game that she wanted to give to someone, as she couldn't go. I texted her immediately. The tickets were still available, and she lives just a few blocks from us. I'd said I'd be over in 10 minutes.
Ajax wanted to come, so we walked down the street (literally, down the street 4 blocks) to Ms. Bloom's house. She insisted that she didn't want any money for the tickets, since it was a special school fundraising deal. I introduced Ajax as one of her future students, and she said some really nice things about books that Helene and one of her classmates had made together last year during library time. I left with tickets in hand, and a smile, because this, THIS is why I love our school and our neighborhood. Teachers live in the neighborhood, have raised/are raising their own kids here, and they are truly part of our community.
We eventually got ready to go, and decided to take my bike with the trailer bike on it. Helene loves traveling this way. It's an easy ride from our house to Nats stadium, and they have a free valet bicycle parking lot that is one of the most awesome things ever. On our way there, we encountered several other cyclists with Nats gear on - adults, kids, another trailer bike. I recognized my friend Todd at the lead of the pack, and tucked in behind the last rider, making an impromptu bike caravan to the game. People stopped to look at our group of 6 bikes rolling in our own peleton to the stadium, and you just know they were envious. We reunited in the bike valet, said happy hellos, made introductions, piled our bikes all together in neighborhood camaraderie, and walked into the stadium together. Again, I thought THIS is why I love our neighborhood. Where else would I just randomly run into my friend, his family, and their friends (all Cluster School people) pedaling to the game too? Where else can you bike to an MLB game?
Seth & Helene showing off the trailer bike on a different day. This is for illustrative purposes since a lot of people have never seen one of these.
We fortified ourselves with popcorn, lemonade, and beer, and found our seats, blissfully in the shade on this still-summer day. The Nats kicked off the first with three quick runs against the Marlins. Around the top of the third, we spotted one of Helene's good friends, Sam, and his dad heading towards us. There was room for them to sit next to us, and the kids happily looked at programs, binoculars, and the jumbotron, while Sam's dad and I alternated food runs.
It was such a great day. Helene is old enough to really be interested in the game, and what the score is, and what's happening. I got to sit and drink beer and actually watch the game, and talk to my girl. She and Sam acted crazy to try to get on the jumbotron, and screamed with excitement when we saw one of their friends up on the screen. Sam's dad and I explained game rules. We ate all the ballpark food groups - hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream, Cracker Jack, fries, and stayed until the end to watch the Nats crush the Marlins 13-3. Then we happily wandered our way out of the stadium and cycled home. It really couldn't have been a better day; I felt like everything in the universe conspired in luck to give us that great day. Serendipity.
I biked home from work last Wednesday, and walked into the house to the usual chaos of children hollering at me ("MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMA!!!"), climbing my legs, asking a thousand things, all while I tried to just PUT ALL MY STUFF DOWN and talk to our nanny Janine about the day. Somewhere in here, I tried to just, you know, WALK THROUGH THE LIVING ROOM, and I stepped on a #$%!#$ toy diecast car (one of the fleet of thousands, it seems) and turned my ankle. "OW!" I yelled, slightly hurt, but mostly annoyed, and then I forgot all about it in the crazy sprint from getting home to dinner to baths to bed.
I got up to run at 6 the next morning as usual, and noticed during my run that my ankle hurt a little. But not bad enough to stop. I got annoyed again, and pissed off about being 42 and everything just falling the fuck apart. I've been struggling to get over a weird foot injury that is probably a tear to the plantar fascia (soft tissue in the heel area), and I just assumed the ankle was some offshoot of that, and grumble grumble, pain is weakness leaving the body, still ran my 4+ miles. (Yes, I had completely forgotten about stepping on the toy car.)
Later that day, my ankle REALLY hurt; now I was seriously gimping around, and I could not figure out why. What the hell? It finally dawned on me Thursday night that I had rolled my ankle on the car the day before. And then run 4 miles on it. Ohhh. Yeah. That would be why it HURTS.
Now, normal people would rest the ankle, blah blah blah. But I have a short relay race on Sunday 9/27 that I committed to months ago, and I am NOT bailing on this race and my team of friends. This is supposed to be FUN, and I WANT TO, and I am GOING TO DO IT IF IT KILLS ME. I tried to run on Sunday. Made it 1/2 a block, my body going "DANGER DANGER YOU CANNOT RUN THROUGH THIS ONE." Ordered all the tape and ankle braces on Amazon. Tried to run on Tuesday, with an ankle wrap. Made it maybe 1/4 of a block. Decided on a strategy of keeping my ankle wrapped/taped/braced/not hurting and not running at all until the race on Sunday. Then, on Sunday, I shall (1) kinesio tape my ankle; (2) put on compression socks; (3) put on this ankle brace and lace that bad boy up as snug as it'll go without cutting off circulation; (4) take a whole bunch of Tylenol about 30 minutes before I run; (5) run 4.5 miles; (6) try not to die; (7) drink a beer after the race and possibly shove my whole damn right foot into the ice in the beer cooler.
This is probably a bad idea. But the REAL lesson learned here folks is this one: CHILDREN ARE DANGEROUS. (I am so goddamn annoyed at this stupid injury and being felled by a toy car.)