from mile to marathon

The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.

Monday, November 12, 2007

most beautiful

The tire I had replaced a few days before due to a random nail stuck in sideways blew up on me while I was driving at over 80 miles per hour on the Texas highway. When I finally came to a stop and we got out to assess the damage, the thing was in shreds.

We tried to put in the spare, but could not loosen the lugs on the damaged wheel, they must have used guns to fasten them, and all our efforts would not dislodge them. One hour and a half after we first called AAA they could not find a service order in our name. I took this to be a brief picture taking opportunity.

After two hours of catching a tan, a red pickup pulled over, and a man stepped out to the rhythm of music blaring. He was big, black, and his eyes were glazed over, a detail my boyfriend interpreted to me after the fact as "totally stoned." He should know, he grew up in Brooklyn in the seventies. In the meantime, the big man shook his head over our predicament. Leaning forward with a five-fold graceful, effortles motion, he loosened the lugs on the damn wheel.

My boyfriend and me, we are short little people.

We had left in the early afternoon on Thursday, but all the advance gained by early departure was lost in this tire affair. We crawled along with the "donut" for the next 100 miles. We had patience, but the real challenge was ahead of us, in the highway pattern of downtown San Antonio. We were in the right lane, emergency lights on, and had to take a left-hand exit, crossing four lanes, among cars that moved as fast as if we were standing still. My boyfriend was driving by that time, and I told him to just go with the flow, if he could not take the designated exit we could just get off later. The truth is, we would have hopelessly lost our way.

He handled it beautifully, but when we checked into the hotel he poured himself a glass of scotch and did not say a single word for a good 15 minutes.

Did I mention that he is a New Yorker and handled that kind of highways all his life?

Two mechanics who inspected the artifact next day shook their heads about our good fortune: "something really bad could have happened."

I inquired later what the "really bad" things were, and my boyfriend shrugged his shoulders. Skidding all over the highway, he said, or turning over. Aha. I remembered that a white car was passing me at the time, I could have skidded in its way if I had slammed the brakes. I did not because I was terrified by the sound that rose from the ground, as if the earth itself was groaning. I just took my foot of the gas pedal, and this neutrality of which I felt guilty ("there is something I should do") landed us safely on the shoulder.

Otherwise it was a cool trip.

I asked my boyfriend on the way back (a smooth 11 hour and 1 minute door to door trip) what was the best moment of San Antonio. We changed the tire, we visited the Alamo, we had dinner on the Riverwalk, with me dressed up, camera in hand, medal around my neck. He said the best part was me crossing the finish line, and my image appearing on the big screen (this is a marathon that ends indoors, in the Alamodome, wired and air-conditioned and everything). That was the moment when he could stop worrying.

But I think the most beautiful moment was the start at the Alamo at dawn.


At 7:05 PM, Blogger RunBubbaRun said...

I guess you will always "remember the Alamo"..

Congrats on the finish you "maniac".

Glad you got home safe as well.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Joe said...

Great story. I'm glad you didn't get into a serious accident.

At 10:59 AM, Blogger JustRun said...

Glad all turned out safely. Congrats on another medal and memory. :)

At 12:05 PM, Blogger E-Speed said...

man you are a woman on a mission. All these marathons!

Glad you made it there and back safely!

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous renegate said...

I knew a very smart girl once, who told me there are no “accidents”. She told me that accidents start in our inner self and their objective manifestation is just an expression of a subjective state of mind. Maybe you “forced” the things with this one, and something in your inner self told you that you pushed the line to far away. Maybe the tire is just a sign. Maybe was just a test, that made you step on a different level. However, good that nothing bad happened in the end. A little adventure can be something that makes us feel alive.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger A Life Uncommon said...

The Alamo at sunset is beautiful. What a wonderful way to make a memory, travel and excercise to boot! Congrats!

At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Ela said...

You sure have Guardian Angels that take care of you!!!
Remember "The Healing Power of Illness"? Do you know why it happened?

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Darrell said...

The morning light on the Alamo is beautiful.

I'm glad you potentially bad tire experience turned out for the best.


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