Making a laundry run
I did something this morning I don’t want to repeat anytime soon: run 12 miles while carrying a heavy bag of laundry.
The bag contained a change of clothes, shaving kit, towel, cell phone, keys, employee ID card and other assorted junk. It weighed maybe 10 pounds. But by the end of the run, it felt like 20 or 30.
I felt like I was running off to sea. All I needed was a sailor suit and a pack of Chesterfields.
But no, I was running to work, something that I’ve done many times before.
However, I’ve never done it quite like this. Usually when I run to or from work, I plan a day ahead, so I can stash what I need at the other end, like a change of clothes. That way, I can travel light, carrying only a water bottle and maybe a cell phone.
The key word is “plan.”
Alas, this was not a planned run. It was slapped together at the last minute. And it looked like it.
Here’s the story. On Sunday, when I was planning out my training schedule for the week ahead, I decided to run home from work on Tuesday night. That would give me a long run, which I wasn’t able to get to last weekend.
To do that, I would need to make arrangments ahead of time. I would bring my running stuff to work in my car on Tuesday morning, and stash it in the locker room, down in the bowels of this office building.
Then at 6 or 7 p.m., I would head downstairs to the locker room and change into my running stuff.
Properly clad and ready for anything, I would run up the steps, out the back door, across the parking lot, and begin my run home, some two hours away.
But between Sunday and today, two things caused me to change my plans.
First, I noticed yesterday that a big rainstorm is heading our way, scheduled to hit this afternoon. I really didn’t want to run 12 miles in that.
Second, as I was leaving work last night around 7 p.m., I was surprised to see it was already getting dark. (Daylight saving time doesn’t start until this weekend.)
Normally, I not afraid of the dark, but running from downtown to the far northeast side takes me through a few seedy neighborhoods, and I would just as soon avoid that at dusk.
So this morning, I scrapped my plans and decided to improvise.
At 7:45, after getting my son on the school bus and finishing my coffee, I decided to run to work, ready or not. I grabbed a shoulder tote bag I got at a marathon expo, with nylon strings for straps. I started grabbing things and stuffing them in the bag.
I blurted out my plans to Mrs. Trail Boy, as I ran around the house, slamming doors and throwing stuff around. She gave that “you are insane” look, but stayed out of my way. I was on a mission from God.
In less than 10 minutes, I had my bag packed, my running clothes on and was heading for the door.
At 8 a.m., I trotted down the driveway and began heading south, with my bag on my back. Immediately, I noticed a problem. The bag began jostling and thumping against my back.
Within 20 steps, I knew I would have to change something. I took the bag off my back and carried it under my arm. That was better. For about a quarter mile. Then I began feeling like an NFL fullback running down the longest football field in the city.
By mile three, my 10-pound bag felt more like 20 pounds.
By the halfway point, I had to repack the bag to keep my shaving kit from banging against my hip. I wrapped it in the towel, to cushion the blow.
By mile 10, I was slowing down. I could see the downtown skyline getting closer, but not fast enough. I began counting my footseteps to take my mind off my heavy load.
By the last mile of the run, I was shifting the bag from one arm to another every few dozen steps, trying to find a comfortable position.
I was never so glad to see my building, from two blocks away. When I arrived at the door, I dropped my bag with a thud, sat down for a minute to rub my sore legs and arms. Then I hit the shower and got busy changing clothes.
I reached into the bag and pulled out my oxford shirt, which had been wadded into a ball. It had more creases than a road map.
I pulled out my shaving kit. I noticed I had forgotten a comb and toothpaste. I also forgot my reading glasses and all my cash, which I left on my dresser.
Every time I pack at the last minute like this, I forget something critical. Glasses, cash, comb, isn’t that enough? But no, I also forgot a belt. I guess I could let my pant hang loose for one day. It will serve as an important reminder. Next time, spend at least 20 minutes thinking this through, making sure I have everything I need, before rushing off like a maniac.
So you might wonder: How are you going to get home, Trail Boy? Your car is in your garage, 12 miles away.
Well, thank God for the Indianapolis transit system. There’s a bus stop right outside of my office, and the bus will take me within a quarter-mile of my house.
I might have time to read a magazine on the way home.
And dream about handing off my laundry for the last time.