Sunday, December 4, 2011

Burrito Run

We have had a wonderful, relaxing, productive, and festive weekend, all of which I will share with you in more detail tomorrow. But first I have a story to tell.

I just had a slightly traumatic experience and immediately wanted to share my tale with someone. However, as we don't have too many friends in Portland that are OK with me calling them on a Sunday evening to share a random, pointless story, and it is now 10:30 east coast time and most of you would not appreciate a phone call at the hour, I have decided to tell you, my ever-captive audience.

(Wouldn't it be cool if I had this many readers!)

After a couple of very relaxing days, and three months without any real workout to my credit, I decided that tonight was the night I was going for a jog. I decided this at 6:15 in the evening after eating at King Burrito. Let me give you a little bit of background info on King Burrito. I promise, it will eventually become pertinent to the story.

While living in Boone for 5 years I became very spoiled by my local burrito spot. Black Cat Burrito was my "go-to" restaurant, at which I had many solo dinners, conversations with friends, and dates with Ross. Black Cat was delicious, affordable, and close to campus, and I can say without a doubt in my mind, it is the restaurant I have eaten at more times in my life than anywhere else. Since leaving Boone and my beloved Black Cat behind, I have yet to find a comparable burrito. Which is where King Burrito comes into play.

Less than a mile from our front door is a little hole in the wall joint called King Burrito. When you step inside it is hard to tell if you are in fact in a restaurant in Portland or perhaps Mexico. Authentic is a great word to use. So we stepped right up to the counter to order: a black bean and cheese "veggie lovers" burrito for me (although there was not a single vegetable to be seen) and a carne asada burrito for the husband. In two seconds (not an exaggeration), our burritos were done and we headed home. We enjoyed our delightful burritos and called the dinner complete (and no, the burrito was NO WHERE CLOSE to being as good as Black Cat. The search continues.)

So shortly after my burrito, I decided I needed to break my streak, and head out for a run. The weather has been surprisingly clear the past few days (meaning no rain, not necessarily sunny) and there is a cool chill to the air. In the winter I tend to be cold (always) so I bundled up in my fleece lined running tights, a sweat-wicking long sleeve, a fleece jacket, a cycling jersey, and a fluorescent orange parka. On the way out the door I grabbed a pair of gloves and a little wool beanie. Two steps outside the door, I realized I was still cold. I decided to suck it up and keep moving.

When I started my watch at 6:43 and "took off" on my run, I realized that I had in fact layered on a few too many jackets. The bulk of the jackets on my arms made them heavy, making me run with my arms straight down. I felt like the opposite of the little boy from A Christmas Story who couldn't put his arms down from too many layers.

So here I go running, in ton of layers, glowing in fluorescent orange, with my arms straight down. Two blocks in I realize my shows are too loose, but I am afraid that if I stop to tighten them I will get too cold and turn around and go home. So I keep running, shoes slightly flopping.

(At least they felt like clown shoes)

I round the first corner onto the North Portland bluff and I can look out and see the city lights are shining bright. My spirits start to improve. A couple of blocks later I pass a house with a giant inflatable polar bear in a Christmas sweater. I start to smile. As I continue I start to feel better and better about my run as I pass house after house with Christmas decorations and lights galore. After what I think has been quite a good run I glance down at my watch and it glows 10:52. I have been running for 9 minutes. Pathetic. I tell myself to keep going and turn down a road that has a lot of shiny Christmas lights.

Somewhere around 10:54 I start to feel a constricting feeling in my throat. I realize that I have three zippers jamming into my esophagus. But I am cold and I don't want to unzip my jackets. As I start to panic from the feeling of inevitable cold versus nagging pain, I breathe harder and my throat swells, therefor increasing the pain. I cave and unzip all three jackets just a smudge. The cold is bearable and I trudge on.

At 10:57 the tightening in my throat is back. I double check, no my zippers did not magically work their way back up. I take a deep breathe and inhale a long breathe and my mind immediately goes to the burrito. My stomach flinches. Uh oh.

I keep running, picking up speed just a little. I turn down the next Christmasy-street I see, hoping the lights will distract me. I burp a little. Burrito.

All of a sudden I am hot. Really hot. Clammy, cold, and hot. I start tearing at my jackets. I have to get them unzipped.

Every few steps I think burrito... burrito... burrito. I am starting to wonder about the authenticity of my "vegetarian" meal. Burrito... burrito. Then a flash before my face and I see a bowl of soup. A bowl of soup we saw in the restaurant. I commented to the man who took our order that the soup looked good. He told me it was made from cow stomach. I am now wondering if the same spoon they used to stir the soup was used to stir the beans in my burrito. Burrito.... burrito.... cow stomach... burrito.

I keep running.... more like jogging at this point... and pushing myself forward. By the time I am 1 turn and 3 blocks home I pass the house with the inflatable polar bear again.

I consider laying down with it for a while. But the thought of burrito... burrito... pushes me forward.

I am 1 block from home. I taste simmered black beans. I see cow stomach soup. Burrito... burrito. I am almost there.

I run up on the porch and glance at my watch. 7:13. I was running for exactly 30 minutes. I pause for a quick moment to be impressed by first run in months.

I unlock the door and am approached by a sweet puppy with a toy in her mouth. I quickly strip off as many layers as possible and the cool air feels like a splash of cold water. My mind calms. No more burrito worries.... but don't ask me if I would like a burrito for lunch tomorrow.

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