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It’s Week 2 of the Team Challenge training protocol for the Vegas half-marathon. I’m supposed to run 7 miles this week — 3 of those on Saturday. I had wondered how this training was going to fit in with my teaching schedule — not because of my hours but because of the sheer exhaustion and mental flushing that takes place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. By 6:00 I’m usually staring slightly left of the TV screen, focused on nothing in particular, feet on the coffee table, one hand ever-so-slightly in my shorts, and a hairline sliver of drool sliding its way out of my mouth.

Today was no exception. I arrived home around 4, Laura already passed out on the couch, the dogs at her feet. I made a series of greetings and howdy-do’s while she communicated with me in hand signals and gibberish. She was watching “Pizza My Heart,” which if you haven’t seen, uh, don’t. When I saw her eyes close, I grabbed the remote and switched it to The Walking Dead — a show that somehow relaxes me. At 5:30, Laura peeled herself off the couch to leave for her school’s first football game of the season.

“You’re not coming?”

“The Chiefs are on?” When I put up a fight about anything, my sentences tend to come out as questions. “So I thought I would stay home? I’ll definitely come to next week’s game?”

I watched another episode of The Walking Dead, watched MSNBC destroy Paul Ryan, watched Fox News declare Romney a saint (a Mormon saint?), and did indeed turn to the Chiefs game.

Which was a train wreck.

By then, I was exhausted. I had the couch imprint on my cheek. Finny’s head was on my chest. Grendel’s on my thigh. I was hungry but didn’t want to disrupt this adorable scene. I spotted the package of Oreos and open bag of tortilla chips that Laura had raided hours earlier. Without moving my body, I managed to scoot both to the edge of the coffee table for a few nibbles.

And then I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of the fireplace glass.

Pathetic.

So I ran. And I sweat. It burned in my legs. My shins hated me. But it also exhilarated me. It de-stressed me.

I’m glad I did it. Two years of recovery have taught me that I can and should have the energy to muster up the will-power for anything.

I’m now back on the couch, feet on the coffee table, Macbook in my lap, Finny’s head on my knee. On the TV is Clint Eastwood speaking at the Republican National Convention. And that has just made my day.

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