Driving a truck with no shirt on and running with horses
Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,
They saw me coming around the corner I guess. And by the time I reached the fence dividing them from me and the road and their open space, they hit their stride.
Four of them running in pairs, beside the fence row, parallel to the road. Dust and grass and an energy I couldn’t see, but felt followed them. I pedaled my bike faster as if challenging them to speed up as well.Their manes blew in wisps and something rose in my chest as I marveled at their musculature and beauty. I don’t know why I’d never noticed how beautiful horses are until yesterday.
Eventually they came to another fence and turned to the right to continue what must have been their running path around the field. I carried on for a couple of hours on my bike glad that I had seen the horses even for a minute.
This morning two of them greeted me again during my long run – though they didn’t need to run themselves. Instead they came to the fence by the road and watched me run past, casually walking along side me.
“Hi girls,” I said – unsure of why I assumed they were girls. Maybe because they were beautiful. I stopped and took a picture. I thought about Sean Penn’s character in the secret life of Walter Mitty when he chose not to photograph the snow leopard. I thought about moving on without the photo, but took it anyway.
I ran for 80 minutes this morning. I’m not sure how fast or how far as I’m trying to train with less data these days. But it was a solid, if slow, run. I was drenched from the June humidity that has arrived.
Back at the truck I stretched a little. I realized how soaked my tank top was, so I took it off. I didn’t want to get the seats in our “new to us” truck too wet with triathlete sweat just yet. I chose to drive the truck shirtless the 4 miles from Thompson Station to our house. Mommy would have killed me for such a “redneck move”, but having seen the horses again I rationalized it in my head that it represented freedom. A stretch, I realize. So I rolled down the windows, put my tattered khaki ball cap I used to wear when I worked on the marina docks, and a pair of fluorescent green XX2i sunglasses on cranked up the radio.
The same tunes I used to play too loud when I’d drive Billy Whitner’s, who owned Bohicket Yacht Charters, Dodge Ram off the island to the ship store on James Island to pick up supplies. I don’t know if Billy knew I took my shirt off when I drove his truck, or played his Tom Petty cassette too loud – but I was 24 and I was living on an island working as a dock hand. I drove shirtless most of the time on the island – held a beer between my legs because I seldom drove more than 2-3 miles and sweated off the alcohol faster than I drank it (don’t EVER do this).
I turned Tom Petty up loud in my truck this morning. Shirtless. Thought about Bohicket Marina; the dolphins there, the old men drinking beer talking about fishing, the horses who were my training partners this weekend.
Something about it all felt free. And I realized that it’s been a year since I made the decision to change my career and more importantly my life, completely. It was the right move.
“I feel summer creepin’ in….” said Tom Petty.
I love you,
Thursday: Rode 1 hour
Friday: Swam 1600 / Ran 3 miles
Saturday: Rode 2 hours 10 minutes
Sunday: Ran 1 hour 20 minutes