Just push off – part one

Learning how to push-off…

Our little cottage in Napa was so nice, nestled on a hill, covered in trees. But because of its location, I had terrible cell service at home. So during that summer when I was dealing with Judd’s bizarre behavior, I’d take my phone and go for walks.

I would call my best friend and talk things over with her and find support and encouragement from her. And then I’d just walk for miles and miles, thinking.

I’ve always loved to hike and there have been many times in my life that walking was the only thing that kept me going. This was one of those times. My youngest son was training for a marathon and encouraged me to try running.

I laughed and said I never saw myself as a runner.

Running was somehow ‘bigger’ and more important than walking. And I really didn’t know anything about running anyway. My son said, “Mom, you just push-off”.

So one day while I was out walking and thinking, I just pushed off and started running. It felt amazing to cover so much ground quickly. I had to concentrate on my form and step and it made me feel “free”.

Free of him and the situation I was in with him.

Not to get all Forrest Gump here, but I needed to run. It was fixing me.

Learning how to push off and run
2010 Turkey trot

My life with Judd was deteriorating as fast as his control on his bipolar disorder. Running was the one thing I could do for me, and I ran from that cottage almost every single day.

That fall, my best friend asked if I would take care of her little Chihuahua, Chico, so she could go to her daughter’s wedding. Chico and Bella were best buddies, and I was so happy to have another distraction.

On his second day at our place, I left the two little dogs sleeping together and went out for a run. Judd was mindlessly sweeping yet another path, and I let him know I was heading out and to keep an eye on the dogs for me, please.

It was a damp, chilly day and perfect for a long run.

Giving myself a break from thinking, I plugged in my headphones and cranked up the music for my five-mile run in wine country.

Pulling back up the driveway at the end of my run, I saw Judd half way up our quarter-mile drive. He looked even more confused than before. Then I saw one of my neighbors and she was yelling at me that one of my little dogs was missing.

She was angry and asked what the hell was wrong with Judd. She told him she saw the dog on the driveway heading towards the road, and he just stared at her with a blank look.

As a dog owner and lover, she was crying and confused that he didn’t go after Chico.

I ran up to Judd and asked what was going on and all he said was, “That little dog left”.

I immediately ran back down the driveway calling for Chico feeling panic set in that he made it all the way to our busy road. Not seeing him anywhere, I felt a pit in my stomach that I would never be able to find him.



…to be continued.

Reader Comments

  1. Cindy Scurry

    I understand. In my first marriage, I ran a lot, many many races and each time I ran it made me feel like I was in control and things would work out. It gave me that runner’s high or at least optimism. I guess running kept me sane. I’ve been there!

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