What you’ll find below this intro is a post that I originally wrote several months ago, but I decided to publish it as I intended in the first place without any edits. So, pardon my discussion of the seasons seeing how we have already rolled into fall again. I got just a wee bit busy with stuff…
Spring has sprung! Ok I kind of hate that goofy phrase, but I also kind of don’t care because it finally feels like spring and after like 17 months of Iowa winter, there is absolutely nothing better. Especially after a winter like this, where we’ve been experiencing unseasonably cold temperatures (like averages 20 degrees below last year’s winter) and a bitter wind that’s seemed intent on making life on this planet pretty brutal.
Spring is sublime. Powerful and important and uplifting …you could say it’s even close to spiritual for those of us who are fanatical runners. I’ve been able to manage training during the off-season with gym time (as much as I hate running indoors) and taking every chance I can to get outdoors whenever the thermometer crawls back up toward freezing. So you can imagine my joy when we were finally blessed with this recent wave of beautiful, warm, sunny weather.
So I’ve started busting out my warm weather gear, just giddy to hit the trails again and get some miles in under the warm sun and the birds singing and the promise of green grass and budding trees just around the corner. My spirits are lifted. The world is opening back up for us. We are going to make it.
Then, all of a sudden a few days ago, I start to notice this dull ache in one of my teeth, in the back of my mouth. And I’m thinking, uh-uh, no way that’s probably just some…harmless…tooth pain. It doesn’t have to be anything bad, right? (I of course work really hard to ignore the fact that my mom has had some of the worst luck with tooth problems, and that she seems to have passed that on to me…)
And I’m just hoping it goes away on its own. I know that’s probably irrational and unwise, but I am just so happy to be outside again and the last thing I need is a nice long (expensive) trip to the dentist to dampen my spirits. So I keep on keeping on, and of course, the pain doesn’t go away.
It does change from a dull ache that’s mostly noticeable when I’m drinking ice water, to this sharp throbbing that sometimes I can feel my pulse in. It starts getting harder and harder to deny this thing, even though I am hoping beyond hope that if I wish hard enough (or make some kind of pact with some deity?) this problem will magically heal itself and leave me to my happy self.
But, of course, it doesn’t.
It gets steadily worse and worse, and by lunchtime it hurts to talk and I realize that I’m going to have to do something about this because it is not going anywhere and now it hurts too much to chew anything. So I call the dentist, make my appointment, make a valiant effort not to cry.
Because I hate the dentist. I know I’m not alone in this (are there people out there who like the dentist? Is that possible? I have a hard time imagining it), but I don’t know if I can accurately express just how much I hate going to the dentist. I know it’s technically not an institution rooted in torture…at least that’s what they want you to believe.
But I make myself do it. I make it out to the dentist, and they must have sensed my agitation (fear)—possibly because my every muscle in my body was clenched? Maybe my constant grimacing gave it away?—because from the moment I stepped in the door, everyone at this office basically made it their goal to help keep me calm (or as close to it as possible).
The receptionist walked me through the forms (it’s been awhile since I’ve been to the dentist believe it or not). I didn’t have to wait long, and the technician who took me back to the room was sweet and actually pretty hilarious, and she helped me not feel like a maniac for being scared, told me their whole goal is to make everything feel better and all they want is to fix whatever is causing me pain. They are not my enemy, she reminded me. They are the enemy of my real enemy—whatever is in my tooth, causing me grief.
Long story short: tooth infection that needed a root canal. I won’t get into the gory details. Partly because I don’t want to traumatize anyone, but also (mostly) because I don’t really remember—they gave me “happy gas” and I was just floating in my own world while the dentist took care of everything, and next thing I knew everything was done, and the dentist was smiling at me, and I imagine I was trying to smile back at him.
So afterward Matt was there in the waiting room to take me home, and all in all I’m happy to be in functioning condition again just a few days later. I won’t say that I love going to the dentist. Because that would be a lie. But I definitely know that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and my mouth is much happier now, which means jumping back to full-on training mode, enjoying the sun, the trees, the fresh smell of spring air!
Til next time! Happy running!