My kid’s in Biddy League basketball. He has no idea how to play, but he can shoot. He can shoot if he’s with me, on a court, him and his pops. However, in a game, he’s lost, he’s a goner. I took him to his last game of the season Sunday afternoon, mysteriously bumped back an hour for some reason. We show up at the local rec center. Half his team is there, but no coach.

I get on the court and start feeding the kids lay-ups. We play some three on three. I’m not terrible, but I’m not good.When I was in grade school, while other kids took the cheese home, to daycare, I took a taxi to the Boys Club to shoot pool, basketball, play ping-pong and foos ball. We played field hockey, cussed, made fun of each others’ mamas, sometimes had to fight, had to gamble Star Crunch money. Dice in the Art Room. Making it rain, Picasso.

I had to supervise both my champion and his baby brother all day. By the time I had a chance to run the temp had dropped 35F, wind howling. The sound of garbage cans banging off cars and the pavement sounded like some really shitty Perez Prado bongos outside. Rain one minute, sleet the next. Cars are sliding. Not feeling it tonight. I had wanted to do a long run on a cross-country track, but the wide open fields I use would’ve been too windy.

I drove to a set of murder steps. It’s 75 feet up long steps, of random size, camber and length. It’s a quick, brutal workout. I go up and down four times. It feels like everything below the belt is turning into useless lead, dragging the air down with it. Those used to be lungs, now they’re sink holes. I’m fighting puke. I run it out slow down the street. I can’t even feel the slow inclines and descents. I managed to do four reps on the murder steps and ran to the end of the riverside neighborhood before the rain comes down, mixed with hail. The wind is blowing leaves and dirt all over the place running road.

i did a mile, shot some hoops. Not a big day. Been sleeping extremely poorly lately. Would sleep poorly again. Hoping to get my long run in tonight. Going for 18 miles. That’s my low-end requisite for ultra training. If I can do 18 on hills in three hours, I can do a sub-four hour marathon. If I can do a sub-four hour marathon, I can do a five-hour 50K. I need a 10hr  fifty-miler.

It starts with murder steps. It doesn’t ever end.  I feel totally blown out. I go home and rag doll on the floor, have nightmares about the place where I worked up until two weeks ago. When the person who runs the business is fired two days after you’re hired, you get anxious. When the person who replaces your boss is fired a month later, you begin to despair. When you realize the person who replaces that interim boss has been sent to fire everyone who was hired over the past two years, that the ship is sinking, you just hang on, just like that hatchet master, try to keep from slipping down in the undertow, you both just keep climbing the murder steps. I checked the background on my third boss in four months. She’d been bouncing from place to place for years. I’m not sure what’s going on with the healthcare  these days, but it looks pretty bad to me.

I wake up at 3 am, wind howling. I do some push-ups, have some coffee, prepare to liquidate my assets.

The weather is dipping way below freezing Wednesday night. I’ll have to recover with an awkward snorkel run. I’m using a mini snorkel, fluted, that wraps under the jaw. The low will be 1F. I can do about six miles at a time in that garbage. The obstacle is just trying to inhale air that cold, something manageable if walking, but difficult while running. You feel things freezing deeper and deeper in you with each breath.