Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Guerrilla Angels

Ever had one of those days? When it would be so easy to convince yourself to swap the running togs draped over the bedroom chair for jeans and a t-shirt? When the whole idea of running just does not appeal?

I had one of those today and, man, was it tough to get out the door.  Last night the Old Guy and I had a wonderful dinner with friends.  Wine and brownies were consumed; two delectables that tend to bite this Old Gal in the rear when it comes to a good night's sleep.  They combined with the Demon of Night Sweats to turn seven hours of shut-eye into an all night tousle with the sheets.

Today's training plan called for nine miles including hill repeats.  And, naturally, it was drizzling outside.  By the time I got to the bottom of the first hill, my mind and body were dead set against me.  The legs felt like sacks of cement and that little inner voice was mumbling phrases such as, "You're not getting paid to do this, you know...." and "Wouldn't it be nice to quit at five miles and call it a day?"

The good news is I completed all seven of the hill repeats.  The bad news is after the last one I promptly headed for home.  Maybe eight miles was enough.  Heck, maybe even seven was sufficient.

And then she appeared.  I like to think of her and her kind as Guerrilla Angels.  They emerge out of no where when we least expect them and when we need them the most.  Typically, they are total strangers.

Today's GA had wild dreadlocks and two gold front teeth.  I've seen her from time to time along my route and we've always exchanged greetings.  But today this middle-aged woman planted herself in my path and bellowed, "Baby! Do you run every day?"

To which I replied, "No, only five days a week. I'm an Old Gal."

This earned me a fist in the air and, "Well, honey, you go, girl!"

It's amazing what words can accomplish.  I'm fairly certain this Angel has never trained for a race.  Or agonized over splits and speed work.

But, boy, her words lit a fire under this runner.  I kept moving until all nine miles were behind me.  By the time I got back to the house my sense of accomplishment was through the roof.

So I hope that somewhere in Northeast Portland, my Guerrilla Angel is having an excellent and blessed day. She certainly gave me one.


  1. Tried to hook you some readers with this tweet:
    "An angel with wild dreadlocks and two gold front teeth sets an old runner on fire"

    Chocolate and wine? Oh hell, why not. As Warren Zevon once said: "It don't matter if I'm tired, I'll sleep when I'm dead."

    I couldn't find my angel today but ran my 8 + strides anyway.

    Shelly (@rekindledreader)

  2. Thanks for the tweet, Shelly! Funny - I've got seven with strides tomorrow. We need to shorten the distance between Anaheim and Portland.

    Have a fantastic holiday weekend! Best, E.

  3. Ha that's good.
    I had a Rasta guy with dreads call me Seestah as he passed by me on the bike trail. That made me feel young and energized, too.
    : )
    Mary Jo

  4. I keep wondering if I should start a sister blog called Old Gal Biking, but I think you would probably think I was stepping on your toes.

  5. Not at all, MJ! as long as you send them my way on several/many/thousands of entries! Get started now!