The fluorescent lights are blinding as we step off, reflecting off the white floors and white walls. I walk slowly, wary of what lurks ahead. I have a chef's knife in my right hand, and I hold it at the ready. The undead are wandering, I know, having encountered them as we rushed into the freight elevator hoping to find a haven. Mark trails behind me, unconcerned with the danger and my safety, and my fury grows.
I proceed, deciding to leave him behind. The knife is still high, parallel to my ear, as I pass jewelry stores with looters blatantly breaking open cases as store workers stand idly. The hall turns to the right ...
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
I reach for my phone under the pillow and struggle to turn off the alarm. 4:45 a.m. the clock reads. It is time to rise and grind.
I tiptoe downstairs as Denali bounds like a freight train down the staircase. We both go to the bathroom – him outside, me on the toilet. I use the time to put on my running gear: sports bra, short-sleeve tech shirt and capris. Shortie Pro Compression trainers go on last. The time it takes to get dressed is my insurance policy, the extra minutes to make sure I am fully emptied.
4:52, the clock reads as I head to the kitchen. "Good," I think. I have enough time to switch over the laundry I started last night. I make the trip to the basement, where I put dry clothes in a laundry basket and move over wet ones from the washer to the dryer (I had set it on delay so the cycle had finished an hour or so before). There is still pile after pile behind me and so I throw in a load of towels, feeling like a badass mother runner and a wee bit smug.
◊ ◊ ◊
The drive to the YMCA is short but slow as I'm being extra cautious. Freezing rain had come overnight and the walkway at home had been slick. It's a shame, too, as the air is delicious – 33 and calm. It would be perfect for a pre-dawn run around the neighborhood. But the fear (and risk) of falling is too great, and the treadmill is the more prudent option.
I am not quite sure how far I want to run. My mid-week runs have been 5 miles but I'm sure Mark will have a delay, and I could get in 6. And then there's my running log, that temptress. I am at 81 miles for the month and as I have three runs before the calendar turns, I could hit 100 miles. I have never hit 100 miles in January – never ever. I would just need to run 7 miles today.
I push it all aside and hit quick start on the treadmill. I start off at 5.6. I am not sure how I'll play with the settings but I wanted to be prudent at the beginning. The pace feels good, almost too much, and I hesitate to think what it will feel like as I inevitably bump it up. But at a third of a mile, I do – just 0.1, to 5.7. I sigh with relief that it feels good.
My eyes dart from television to television. Fox News is on one screen, reporting the shakeup in management at McDonald's. The blame, I can deduce, goes to Chipotle and other fast-casual but decidedly more upscale chains. I would shrug if it were possible. Chipotle > McDonald's. Always. The local news is on just below, and I see the delays start to flicker across the screen. The regional districts and then the parochial schools. I wait to see Fort Wayne and before I hit two miles, I do.
I could run 7 miles, my type A self thinks. The reasonable side of me tells me no. The third trimester is no time to be setting records. I'll already be running more than any other January, and I should be satisfied with that. And, after all, the treadmill will switch to cool down after 60 minutes. Do I really want to restart it to get in another mile?
No. The answer was no. I settle at 6 miles, finishing just over a 10-minute pace. I feel good but not winded, and I walk more normally off the treadmill than I have in weeks. (Thank you, Jess, for the support belt.)
◊ ◊ ◊
My mood goes from satisfied to stressed within minutes of getting home. I had gone to the bathroom, and I noticed a spot on an undergarment. Weird. I cleaned up and noticed more. I was spotting, or had spotted. A first for me in this pregnancy and maybe both.
I consulted Dr. Google as I made breakfast (a cheese omelet with a Morningstar veggie patty), searching "light spotting 29 weeks pregnant," and found a whole lot of scary stuff about bleeding. I wasn't bleeding, was I? I went back to the bathroom to check. Nope. Not bleeding. And, this time, there was nothing. I went back to Google. One message board said something about an irritated cervix after heavy activity. Hmph. If my cervix was getting cranky, we were going to need to talk.
I passed the time till I could call the doctor/midwife office by putting away all of the laundry. I swear 70 percent of it was Miles' clothes, 20 percent sports bras and Pro socks and 10 percent real clothes. It's so ridiculous, and I shudder thinking that the amount of laundry will seemingly triple come April.
At 8:20, I make the call and talk to the doctor in my practice. How much spotting? What color? How do you feel? Not much. Pink. Fine. He tells me not to worry as it's just some discharge. But I was running, I insist. Does that make a difference? Nope. It's fine. Do I need to not run? Nope. It's fine.
I hang up, relieved. Mark suggests that maybe it's time that I start dropping down a bit. From 6 miles to 5, he assures me. I gape. He didn't seem to care when we are at the mall in my dream, now did he? He can't just pick and choose when he is concerned.
And then I laugh. I probably shouldn't hold my dream against him.
"We'll see. I'll think about it. But maybe. Probably."