To Run Or Not To Run

Chapter 20, Blog 1

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang

Atlanta would have to wait.

Two days later, I received a letter from my lawyer, Sterling Miller. Despite my pleas, Melinda still wanted a trial separation – maybe even a divorce. She was convinced I was beyond hope. Her lawyer, E.A. Peabody, had proposed an initial hearing.

I tried to call Melinda, but she still wouldn’t come to the phone. I swear she could be so stubborn. It had to be genetic. And that was why I loved her. I wanted her back. In the letter, Sterling suggested we propose marital counseling to slow down the process.

Again I questioned my priorities. Was I wrong? Maybe.

Meanwhile, I called Sterling’s paralegal assistant, Jan, and gave her the go-ahead to schedule “the damned hearing.” Three days counted off before she called back to say it would be at the Peabody & Pickett office on June 25 in Merrillville.

… that’s just great, you have to burn another comp day. This time Barnacle is going to throw a rod …

“Where’s those Cedar Lake drainage plans you promised me, Wells?” I could hear him taunting me. “You know, I needed them yesterday.”

Checking the calendar, I was surprised and then relieved. I saw the boss was slated for his annual Las Vegas conference (gambling expedition). Barnacle would be out of town all week or until he ran out of money.

HALLELUJAH! Now it didn’t matter. No one else would care what I did.

The minor miracle helped to lift my spirit. Sadly, school was out, and again I trained by myself. Plus, I had smacked up against a glass barrier at 1:48 and change. I needed help to crack 1:48 and fast.

Thing was, I was becoming a junkie – a running junkie. After my brain and then my body had gotten past the initial shock of training, I noticed two red-flag signs of addictive behavior.

First, there was an increase in obsessiveness. I couldn’t think about anything but running. At work I pored over training schedules and researched the best foods for runners. At home I reread all my Runners World magazines and any other running material I could find.

Second, when I wanted to take a day off from training, I couldn’t. I’d sneak it in somewhere. Otherwise, I felt nervous, anxious. I needed that little training buzz. My muscles would twitch when I didn’t work them. It was obvious. Running had slowly become my drug of choice. I had given up beer, snack foods, TV and all the other things normal human beings used to gain comfort. No, I didn’t live in a cave yet, but I could have.

June 25 would be one of those off days. In retrospect, I should have skipped the hearing. I should have run.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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