Sometimes in life, especially life as a distance runner, things don’t go exactly as you expect or hope. Sometimes life goes completely sideways, destroying any plans you might’ve had and sending you back to the drawing board. I think that, for a lot of us, the Covid-19 outbreak was that sometimes. If I was a more narcissistic person I’d complain of having my freshman track season taken away, but Covid did more than take away my, and everyone else’s, track seasons. Much worse things have happened to many people whether that be in the form of financial struggles or loss of a loved one, the best thing we can do at this moment is to stay positive.
Well into the quarantine, however, the good Lord threw another curveball my way and left me in a, shall we say, puzzling spot yet again. I won’t go into detail yet (future Podcast on the topic in the works) but I will say that I was pretty much standing in front of a blank drawing board once again. Where do I go now? What do I do next? I stayed positive but couldn’t help but feel a touch lost. But then I remembered something.
Earlier in the week, past guest of ‘Spittin’ Seeds’, Noah’s first FatStacks pod and our very own cousin Tom (or “TimTim”) asked me if I wanted to join him on his drive to Wisconsin. At this time, Noah and my Uncle had gotten a job in Neenah and Tom was driving to help move his dad in to his new apartment in Appleton. Noah would be coming from Madison to help too so it would be good to see him and the relatives again, even if just for a day or 2. Then Noah said that the following weekend a friend of ours from high school, Duncan, would be coming to stay Thursday-Sunday, and said that, if I wanted, I could stay in Madison with him for the week. I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay in a college house’s basement for a week, but then again, I had nothing better to do. As I’m sure you’ve guessed from the title of this blog, I spent the whole week there.
I’m glad I did, too. I didn’t have any obligations at all, nowhere to be, nothing to do. Just me, a PlayStation, my copy of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and all the freedom I could want. Granted, I could’ve done anything I wanted at home, but just the change of setting was great for me, for whatever reason. Noah worked a lot throughout the week and I had a lot of time to try to entertain myself. I finished a playthrough of ‘BloodBorne’ and played through all of ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ (both great games, highly recommend) but that honestly didn’t take a ton of time. Most days I’d spend and hour or two reading on the porch, I’d do body-weight workouts by myself just for the hell of it, maybe go walk to a basketball hoop and shoot around. In the evenings, though, when Noah came back, we’d almost always end up watching a few episodes of Netflix original show ‘F is for Family’, thanks to a recommendation from mister Ollie Hoare.
My days were pretty relaxing and there honestly isn’t much to talk about from most of them, as you can tell. I kind of enjoyed cooking a lot of my own food and have some fun moments I can bring up in the future to my pals in Ann Arbor such as walking to get ice cream with Ollie or just casually cooking my dinner on the same stove Alicia Monson was making herself and Benji a meal on too.
The most memorable day before Duncan showed up was Wednesday. Noah biked to work, leaving me the car and I made plans with some friends from a couple spring breaks ago who lived in Lake Geneva. So I did my workout in the morning, watched ‘F is for Family’ over breakfast with Noah, and when he went to work I hopped in the car, turned on some Led Zeppelin, and hit the road. I was not aware at the time, but Lake Geneva was, and is, completely open. It was a surreal experience just sitting on a park bench waiting for my friend and looking around at all the people. The beach was packed, nobody had masks, people were just walking around outside, smiling and shit, living their lives. After I basically just chatting and catching up with my friends for a few hours I walked to a nearby restaurant called “Popeye’s” that wasn’t actually a chain “Popeye’s”, sat down, and ordered a sandwich. Crazy stuff, folks.
Well the next day Duncan showed up and boy oh boy did we not waste any time seizing the day. Noah had the weekend and Friday off so the 3 of us very quickly hopped to being physically active. Thursday evening we went to a park and threw a baseball around (Duncan is a college pitcher so I was going into the well just trying to relay the ball back to him) before we did one of the nastiest core workouts of my lifetime, played frisbee, and walked to Kwik-Trip to get some goodies. The following morning we got up bright and early so Noah and Duncan could bike 16 miles to nearby town, where I drove, ran, got food from a local diner, and we ate in the park. After eating we played basketball for a while before Duncan and I rode back to Madison while Noah elected to bike back. Then Noah and Duncan threw a baseball some more while I did a body weight workout, then we did some more core, frisbee, and Duncan and I ran some strides. At this point in time it was probably barely 1 o’clock. We went back, had lunch, played NBA 2k20 for a while and then got right back to it. The three of us walked to a local basketball court and played 2 pickup games with some random kids (we won both games, no thanks to me). Afterwards we walked back, had dinner and probably did something else that night (I forget) before watching the newest ‘Amityville Horror’ which Noah fell asleep during and Duncan and myself were unimpressed by. Thoroughly burnt out from the prior day we slowed down a bit, but not much. We started the day with breakfast, more throwing while I did a body-weight workout, we watched Olin Hacker ad Jackson Sharp time trial a mile at the track, and some running of our own. We got lunch, had a rest, and had another core session, frisbee, football, and a nice long drive around Madison. We ended the night with ‘F is for Family’ and Duncan and I departed for home early Sunday morning.
Honestly, I don’t think I could’ve chose any better way to spend a week (9 days actually, if you count my time in Appleton). I just got to be me, do whatever I wanted, when I wanted to, and relax (until Thursday rolled around). I don’t think I really learned anything about myself, but I had ample time to collect my thoughts and enjoy some peace before I went back to Corunna to throw myself headlong into whatever it was that I wanted to do for the rest of the summer. There aren’t any real grand themes here, just a brief account of my week in Madison and why I’m genuinely glad I slept on a futon in a basement for a week when I could’ve just stayed home.
If you’ve read this far, thanks for reading, sorry you had to read all that, and please, stay safe.
Benny the Jet out.