Sunday, April 11, 2010

Beat on the Brat

Run one of 63 today. Just three miles. Should have been easy. Should have been. But just before the halfway point, my rebel toe went and stubbed a corner of sidewalk that had been pushed into a cockeyed angle by an angry tree root elbowing for space.

For a millisecond my legs tried to convince my teetering center of gravity to err on the side of staying upright. But even as I let myself entertain the hope that I was gonna get off with inelegancestuttering a few steps before rediscovering the rhythm of my stridemy self preservation kicked in as I realized it would be easier on my body to let myself fall (nothing causes as much injury as trying to prevent injury, I've heard). So I put my hands in front of me and did just that. Even remembered to roll into the fall to spread the shock.

From what I could gather, my spill was pretty spectaculara Lexus slammed its brake in the road beside me as I went down, only speeding up again when I popped up, dusted off my scraped hands, and kept running. Once I turned the corner, I slowed my pace to take a quick inventory: Limbs still attached? Ankles feeling healthy? Embarrassment making my face burn even hotter than than my sweat-reddened face was already burning? Check. Check. And absolutely check.

Chagrin aside, I take full responsibility for the fall. No, seriously. I was asking for it. Moments before I went downand how!I was smirking at the utter foolishness of the song my playlist had just offered up for my running enjoyment: "Beat on the Brat." by The Ramones.

I felt a quick twinge of guiltwas bopping along to lyrics that demanded I beat on a brat with a baseball bat as bad as giggling at a tasteless joke? I don't know, but the song's too catchy for me to care.

So I started rationalizing.

What if the brat was my name for my inner critic? Yeah, that was it. Because beating on my brat of a critic is perfectly acceptable. And in the second just before I fell, I laughed, imaging writers everywhere doing the newest dance crazeThe Baseball Bat. All you have to do is swing your arms like you've got a major league beef with that brat who's too dim to figure out he's overstayed his welcome. Which was right about the moment my brat decided to trip me.

Here's hoping the rest of my runs go off in a perfectly upright manner.

Catherine Elcik is running her first marathon to raise money for a scholarship fund for Grub Street, Inc, and independent writing center in Boston, MA. Sponsor the run at

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