A Vigil for Justice: Episode 33

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I just realized that this never posted. I know it’s a little out of order, but late is better than never right?

A Vigil for Justice, is a serial thriller fiction novel. Updates of 1,000-1,500 words will be posted every Friday.

Recap: Sixteen-year-old Melanie Craig and her family live in the small Colorado mountain town of Blue River. Since the end of World War Three, the economy in the United States has dropped out making funding law enforcement impossible and increasing crime rates in all, but the smallest towns. The government passes a Law allowing anyone over 16 to kill three other people during their life. Vigilante justice doesn’t seem like the right solution to Melanie, but she has no choice other than to learn how to protect herself and her family.

Melanie spent the day pushing Sam in the swing in the back yard and watching her go down the slide splashing down in the pool. She couldn’t help but laugh when Daisy jumped into the pool with Sam, bucking like a bronco with glee. Just for a moment, Melanie was able to forget that the world was coming down around their ears.

That evening she returned to the hospital and her vigil at her mother’s bedside. Jennifer was still awake when she arrived. “How is Sam?”

Melanie smiled. “She is doing good. It amazes me how everything that is going on out in the world does not affect her.”

Jennifer smiled. “That is a blessing and a gift. It also says you are doing a good job protecting her from all of this.”

Melanie looked out the window. The sun had gone down, but a few rays still clutched at the sky. She disagreed with her mom. If she had be doing a good job protecting any of them they wouldn’t be in Denver in the first place or at least this long, they would have been to the safe zone already.

Jennifer rested her cool hand on top of Melanie’s. Melanie turned back to her mom whose face was grave.

“You’re not responsible for all this Mel.”

Melanie nodded. “I know mom, but I can’t help feel like I am, somehow, or that I should have done more.”

“You’ve always been that way, too grown up for your own good.”

It had been a while since they had talked like this, open and honest with one another. Over the last year, they had clashed as Melanie had torn away from the shelter of her mother’s arms and Jennifer had grasped with desperation at her little girl. Melanie wondered what had disarmed them now, was it that they gave up the silly struggle for something bigger, or just the clarity that the looming specter of death can leave behind when he decides it’s not quiet time for them to leave this world.

Melanie and Jennifer played a few card games, and then the nurse came in to check Jennifer’s vitals and help her take a shower.

Melanie went for a walk around the hospital. She stopped in the hospital chapel and lit a candle for her mother and another one for Dr. Brinkard. She continued down the white washed hallway glancing into rooms as she passed.

She saw Dr. Brinkard in one and stopped. Melanie leaned against the wall waiting for her to come out. She was bent over a young man, maybe, thirty years old. He didn’t look well. No one else was in the room with them.

“It won’t hurt a bit. You’ll just go to sleep,” Dr. Brinkard whispered and brushed the man’s hair back as if he were a child.

“No more suffering, I can’t stand the way they look at me. Not wanting me to die, but not wanting the bills to continue to roll in. I’m dying. I can feel it.”

Melanie leaned wanting to hear better, but not wanting to be seen.

“I know. It’s okay. I understand. You’re doing the right thing.” Alyson cooed.

Melanie stomach sank. She didn’t want to believe what she was hearing. Euthanasia was illegal. It was considered murder, which was ironic given that a person could legally kill three people in cold blood.

She shuffled back away from the door, and hurried down the hall back the way she had come. After ten steps, she heard footsteps behind her.

“Melanie?”

Melanie stopped, she breathed in and out, and then she turned toward Alyson who was walking toward her.

Alyson greeted her with a smile. “How was your sister?”

The all too familiar tone of a flat line followed Dr. Alyson Brinkard down the hall.

Melanie raised her hand pointing toward the sound, but not uttering a word.

Alyson waved her hand. “Not much I can do for him now. Coffee?”

Nurses rushed into the room where Melanie had seen Alyson hovering over the man. Alyson glanced down the hall, made the sign of the cross over her body, and then wrapped her arm around Melanie’s shoulders leading her down the hall.

Melanie let her lead her around the corner. She didn’t know what to say or do. Words tumbled from her mouth as she stepped away from Alyson.

“I have to get back to my mom. She should be out of the shower now.”

“Tomorrow?”

“Sure,” Melanie said and turned to go down another hallway.

She glanced over her shoulder. Alyson was still in the hall watching as they wheeled the man’s body out of the room covered with a white sheet. Alyson bowed her head.

Melanie turned a corner. She didn’t know how to feel about what had just happened. She knew that Alyson, sweet little grandma, Alyson had just killed a man. He was dead and it was her fault, but he said he was dying anyway. So had Alyson really killed him? Aren’t we all dying was her mind’s comeback. Of course, we are, but this had to be different then killing out of cold blood. It was different then the justice law. Melanie’s heart told her it was different, but her mind continued to ask hard questions, questions she wasn’t sure she could answer.

Was the man really going to die? Was there nothing more they could do for him? Was it right to end his life earlier than when his body would have shut down on its own? Melanie didn’t know. No one knew.

Melanie did know that she wouldn’t tell anyone, she didn’t tell on Father Christopher after all, and what he was doing was worse than what Alyson had done. Was there a just reason to take a life?

How often should I race?

marathon starting

Racing is fun, exciting, and motivating. But how often should a runner be participating in a race? That’s a big, “It depends.”

Having a race out there can be really motivating, to the point that runners always want a race out there in the future. How far in the future is the key. Understanding your body is the deciding factor. You need to know how long it takes your body to recover from a particular distance and difficulty. This has a lot to do with your training, genetics, and eating habits.

Your goals are the second factor to consider. Why are you running a particular race? To reach a personal record, to socialize with like minded individuals, to get fit/lose weight, or to support a good cause or a good friend.

Runner’s who are not trying to get a personal record at every race, can run more races than runners who go out there and leave it all out on the course. It takes longer to recover from a hard run, and if you want all put your absolute best into all of your races, you should choose two or three goal races a year. Four if they are the 5k or 10k distance.

If you are running races just to be around other runners or support a good cause, without any real regard for your time you can run a race every month, maybe even more often if you are running under the half marathon or are doing a variety of distances.

If you are pacing/supporting a friend who is slower than you are it shouldn’t affect your ability to run another race shortly afterward, unless it is a longer distance than what you would normally run.

Running frequent races can be helpful when trying to lose weight. I would not run more than one every other month and then the pace goal should be just to finish the race. As you lose weight your will get faster and feel better during and after the race. Having a race every eight weeks, will help keep you motivated to get out there and train.

There are a million races of every distance out there and it can be hard to choose which ones to run because you want to do them all. How frequently you can run a race, depends upon your body and your goals.

Plantar Faciitis

plantar faciitis

Does anyone know a quick fix for plantar faciitis? No? I knew you all would say that. There is never a quick fix for any running injury. Usually, you have taken months working on your injury, so why would it be fixable within a few days or a week?

Plantar faciitis is a runner’s worst nightmare. It is difficult to heal and can take a long time.

What is plantar faciitis? It is when you strain or tear your plantar facia, which is a thick band of tissue along the bottom of your foot. It acts like a shock absorbing bowstring. When you injury it, the plantar facia either gets inflamed or it thickens and doesn’t work the same. The pain is most commonly in the heel of your foot snuggled right in against your arch and toward the inside of the foot. Sometimes it is felt in the arch too.

How many runners get it? about ten percent of runners get plantar faciitis at some point during their running careers.

Risk factors? There are several things that make a person more susceptible to plantar faciitis including, long distance running, ballet, standing for long periods of time, obesity, high arches, and flat feet.

How do you get it? there are a few different ways you can end up with plantar faciitis. First, you can get it by wearing shoes that are old and worn out or don’t support your arch enough. Second, you can get it from over training and increasing your miles by more than ten percent a week. Third, you can get it just because the running gods say you get it. In other words, the doctors can’t always figure out what caused it.

What do you do about it? As always with an injury you are going to want to reduce your miles or even stop running. The next step is to get the swelling/inflammation down by using ice, elevation, and compression. You can also use anti-inflammatory medication if you choose. You also need to stretch the bottom of your foot by pulling your great toe back toward your shins along with stretching your calf and Achilles tendon. The reason you want to stretch the calf and Achilles is they are all connected and a tight calf or Achilles will contribute to the problem and prevent it from getting better. So show your foam roller some love. Freezing a water bottle and rolling your foot on it seems to help many runners. Rolling your foot over a golf ball, lacrosse ball, or an extra special ball you get at the running store also helps break up some of the scar tissue. You can also tape your foot using KT tape or Rock Tape which will support the Plantar Facia.

How do you prevent it? Make sure you are replacing your shoes when they are worn out. Stretch your claves, Achilles, and feet regularly. Don’t increase your miles by more than ten percent a week. Strengthen your feet, ankles, and calves. Finally, pray to the running gods.

Some articles out there that say plantar faciitis will heal on its own, and that there is no research that supports any of the treatments people use. Some runners choose to run through the pain, which causes it to take even longer to heal.

My thoughts on this are, you’re never going to go wrong with resting, icing, elevating, and compressing a soft tissue injury. Be an active participant in your recovery.

A Vigil for Justice: Episode Thirty Six

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A Vigil for Justice, is a serial thriller fiction novel. Updates of 1,000-1,500 words will be posted every Friday.

Recap: Sixteen-year-old Melanie Craig and her family live in the small Colorado mountain town of Blue River. Since the end of World War Three, the economy in the United States has dropped out making funding law enforcement impossible and increasing crime rates in all, but the smallest towns. The government passes a Law allowing anyone over 16 to kill three other people during their life. Vigilante justice doesn’t seem like the right solution to Melanie, but she has no choice other than to learn how to protect herself and her family.

Melanie pushed Jennifer down the hallway in a wheel chair. Dr. Wester had cleared her to go home. Her movement was still limited. She had bandages, which needed changing daily along with a few medications she had to take to prevent infection and for pain.

Sam bounced along the hallway in front of them singing and spinning like a ballerina. She had arrived with Mitchel and street clothes for Jennifer.

As soon as Melanie had gotten the verbal release from the doctor, she began packing the few things Jennifer had at the hospital.

“Are we in a rush?” Jennifer had asked.

“Mom there is a lot of bad stuff going on in Denver. It’s not safe to stay here any longer than we have to. I didn’t want to say anything before because there was nothing we could do until the doctor gave the okay to leave.”

Jennifer pressed her lips together and nodded.

They stopped inside the sliding glass doors.

“Let me get the van,” Mitchel said and jogged out the door.

“Can I ride with you mom?” Sam asked.

“No Sam. You can’t climb on mom,” Melanie said. The van pulled up next to the curb, and Melanie pushed her mom out into the warm summer breeze.

Mitchel gave Jennifer his arm and shoulder to lean on as she got to her feet. It took her a moment to stabilize her footing. Melanie stood protectively around her mother as she took the few steps to get into the sliding door of the van.

“Sit with me mommy,” Sam had called from the other middle seat.

“I will sweetie,” Jennifer said through gritted teeth.

Seeing how much pain her mom was in even with this little bit of movement made Melanie glad they had waited until now to leave rather than rushing things last week.

Melanie folded the wheelchair and put it into the back of the van. “Sam will you buckle mom and yourself?”

Sam giggled. “Yes.”

Melanie slid the side door shut and climbed into the passenger seat. Mitchel smiled at her, turned the key, and laid his hand on hers.

As they pulled into the driveway, two men in black stepped off the porch. Each held a semi-automatic machine gun. Once the all clear signal was given, everyone else dashed out the front door to welcome Jennifer home.

Seth and Holly held Daisy back from jumping up on Jennifer in greeting. Daisy barked and wagged her tail trying to get away from them.

“Stay down Daisy,” Melanie said.

Sam bounced over to Daisy and looked into her golden brown eyes. “Daisy mom is hurt. You can’t jump or climb on her.”

Richard and Mitchel made a makeshift chair with their arms linked together and carried Jennifer into the house. Karalynn had set up a bed in family room on the main floor. Karalynn turned on the light. The boards in the windows blocked all the sunlight. Melanie had asked her to keep the boards in the windows while her mom used the room. She wasn’t going to take any more chances on someone shooting her mom.

“Please not on the bed, I’m sick of beds. Can’t I sit in a chair?” Jennifer said.

They set her on the recliner next to the bed. Melanie led Daisy over to Jennifer so she would calm down. Jennifer stroked the silky black fur of Daisy’s head and rubbed her velvety ear, that done, Daisy went out back to romp in the yard with the kids.

Now that Karalynn was fussing over her mom, Melanie took Mitchel by the hand and tugged him down the hall with her.

He turned and smiled at her as she shoved him into her and Sam’s bedroom.

He took her in his arms. She breathed in the smell of him and listened to his heart beating in his chest. “I’ve missed you so much. I’m sorry you had to—,”

He took her chin in his fingers and lifted her face to meet his eyes. “Shhh.” And he kissed her. His lips were warm and soft against hers. His hands caressed her back and shoulders. She wove her fingers through his hair. He brushed his thumb across her cheek. I could stay right here forever, she thought, and let the rest of the world fall apart as long as I have him.

“I’ve missed you too,” he whispered.

She laid her head against his chest and he stroked her hair.

“I’m sick of feeling like we are running away. I want it to be like it was.” She closed her eyes.

“The safe zone is not all that far. It should only take us a week to get there at the most. I’ve plotted a route. Once we’re there, it will be like it was. We won’t have to worry about all of this.” He waved his hand.

He scooped her up into his arms and carried her over to the bed and set her on the edge. He bent down and tied her shoes. “You should rest before dinner. After, we will talk to your mom about the plan.” He pulled her shoes off and rubbed her feet. She was exhausted. She had only slept a few hours at a time while her mom was in the hospital.

“Stay with me?” She scooted back on the bed and he laid down next to her wrapping his arm around her. She laid her head on his chest and found his heartbeat again.

“I don’t know what I would do if I lost you.” She propped herself up on her elbow. His eyes were more green than brown today with touches of gold woven in.

He brushed her hair back from her face. “You’re not going to lose me. I’m right here.”

She laid back down. She was so tired. She rested her hand on his chest. The rhythm of his heart and breath lulled her to sleep.

 

What’s the next adventure?

marathon starting

No matter how challenging a run is, you can find me looking up my next race within a day or two following a finish, and then I start reworking my training program to account for any race specific training I need. Crossing that finish line becomes an addiction, which I fully acknowledge and own my sickness.

I had all my races planned back in December, but I just found out this week that my goal 100 for 2015 is full! Why didn’t I register for the Bear 100 earlier? Because in the past few years Bear has never filled up, so I’ve been busy paying for races I knew had a history of filling up.  This is a risky game we runners play of not wanting to register too early, but not waiting too long.

Bear is two weeks after the Wasatch 100 in September, which usually means most of the ultrarunners are recovering during Bear. I’ve heard rumors that some runners are signing up for both Bear and Wasatch and then if they don’t make a cut off in Wasatch or have to drop for some reason early in the race, they get a second chance at Bear. The two races are similar in terrain.

So I’m on the waitlist, which means, if the above is true and runners are registered for both events, I may not find out I am running Bear until the week or two before the race, possibly even a day or two before.

Training for a 100 is a ton of work and Bear will require an extra helping of difficulty. I will need to work on trail descents, long climbs, and heat. Bear 100 has 24,000 feet of climbing and temperatures can go from 90 degrees Fahrenheit to below freezing during the same race.

I will have to train as if I am going to run. However, I want to have a backup option in the event I don’t get in. I don’t train just to race. A race is more of one more thing to motivate me to get out of bed in the morning and challenge myself each day. I enjoy the running, cycling, and swimming just for itself. A race gives me the opportunity to run in an area I probably wouldn’t run otherwise.

I’ve been looking at the Stagecoach 100 in Arizona, which goes from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon. It’s a smaller race, but that’s just fine with me.