It almost got to the point where she was afraid to run, every little twinge magnified and amplified forboding weeks of layoff or worse. You just never knew. Sometimes the little aches simply went away, sometimes they turned ugly. No telling. She was afraid to do the thing she loved for fear of losing the thing she loved. This was a psychologically dangerous game.
Other people's bodies recovered easily, or they didn't. No big deal. Others seemed more tolerant of bodily imperfection. She honestly doesn't understand this. She'd never have great abs or a high, tight ass. These things were out of the question and she accepted that. No one with six naturally born children could expect toned abdominals. Why was she so competitive? Six kids, high toned abs? What was she thinking? Why did she care?
As it was, she'd taken to swimming while all of her running overuse injuries healed. Her four older kids swam on various swimteams. The younger two were more into team sports. Soccer, baseball, lots of standing around. She'd let her guard down with those last two. Soft.
She'd picked up enough at all of those swim meets to put together a decent set of strokes. She could do them all: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, even butterfly. She senses that swimming may have been her real calling, not running. She has a swimmer's body, the kind of body that can go the way of the spider if you're not careful. Long and lean with a bit of a middle. Anything extra goes right to the middle.
She bought five or six books and figured out how to change her running stride. She switched from a heel striker to a forefoot striker, as is all the rage, and her injuries disappeared. It was difficult to change 45 years of bone and muscle structure, but she did it. She has hamstrings now. The hamstrings are new.
There's no beating time. It will all go soft in the end. At some level she realizes this, but she's vigilant. Her children's bodies are perfect, every one of them. They're all vegetarian, intense yet quiet people, not an extrovert in the bunch, though those last two may turn on her. They might go over to the other side. She's worried they could grow up to be Republicans. What with the Little League and the Pop Warner it's becoming increasingly likely.
This will ruin Thanksgiving for the rest of time, she thinks. Ten years from now if she wants everyone home for the holiday she'll have to cook a real turkey. Jesus. At least they all might go for a run together afterwards. At least they'll all be in decent shape. At least she'll have that.