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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Jogging My Memory

I was reading a news story online today about a woman who found herself in a great deal of pain after a two-hour marathon training run. Her back was in agony, and her husband ended up taking her to the Emergency Department of a local hospital. When the doctors examined her, the couple got quite a surprise. She was in labor! She admits to being a person who scoffs at those "I didn't know I was pregnant" tv shows and news stories, but feels different now that the shoe is on the other foot. Her foot. The baby was slightly early, but is healthy. Their other six kids are excited, especially seven-year-old big sister, who finally has another girl in the family.

This made me think about a summer several years back when I was doing an advanced training class in Customer Service. It was only fair to the staff to have the training on their schedule, and it was always an interesting change of pace. I got to see people I hadn't encountered since their new-hire training.  Most of them got to work just an hour or two before the end of my normal training day, and the dedicated later-shift teams were on a different floor in the building.

It wasn't just the change in the hours and the group of trainees that made life different at these times. It felt like everything was different. Within a short time of my arrival at work, my fellow trainers would be leaving for the day. And there was the unpleasantness of the air-conditioning going off automatically early every evening on our generally daytime-only floor. The summer heat, especially after our meal break, could be pretty fatiguing. But we all did our best to keep the learning process going, even if it was just a simple five-minute diversion to refresh our brains.

Something else that is interesting to me about switching to a different work schedule is that the people and things that you see on the way to and from work are often totally different from you what seems normal to you. As an example, when I worked the later shift, the masses of cars traveling to the city were replaced by joggers.  Seriously, every street I traveled seemed to have at least one jogger trotting along, with or without a dog at their side. I noticed that their faces were as grim as those of the people I was used to seeing in the process of trying to get to work on time when they had left home fifteen minutes late. It seemed as if these runners were plodding forward to some terrible destination or fate. They were running in the heat of the day looking as unhappy as a French aristocrat on the way to meet Madame la Guillotine. It made me wonder why they felt that way.

So at a moment when we needed a brain break during this summer training class, I asked, "Does anyone in here jog?" One of my all-time favorite trainees brightened up and said, "Yes, Katrina, I'm a jogger." Well, so much for any potential miserable jogger jokes. I didn't want to hurt the feelings of such a dear person. "Oh, well, never mind," I said. Jeremy was intrigued, and of course he wasn't going to just let it go. He pressed me to tell why I had asked about joggers. I explained that it seemed like every jogger I had seen that week looked terribly unhappy, and I was just wondering why. He gave me a sincere and understanding look as he said, "Well, Katrina, it's because jogging sucks. But how else am I going to keep this hot @$$?" The whole class broke into uproarious laughter, led by yours truly. In fact, as I recall, it was such a riot, I ended up just sending them all on a break. The moment of hilarity was enough to get us through the evening. Every so often, someone would just break out in a chuckle thinking about it. And several times it was me. 

So to all of you joggers out there - I respect your hard work and dedication. I don't think my legs could handle what yours do every day. May all of your runs not suck. And to the runner with the new surprise baby, congratulations, and thanks for jogging this fun memory!