Tarzan likes to play his own version of  “rock-paper-scissors.” It includes tornados, which, of course, smash everything, just as they do in real life. 

Tarzan always chooses tornados. It suits him — he’s a bit of a tornado himself. 

Tarzan came into my life, I believe, during the height of another infamous storm … Hurricane Katrina.

People who’ve worked in the news business often gauge their own history by major events.

When Hurricane Katrina hit in late August 2005, I wasn’t at The Rocky Mountain News where I worked as an editor. Instead I was at my cousin’s wedding in Cleveland with my husband and daughter. 

As “the Dude” and I pounded shots of slivovitz (Eastern European plum brandy, aka, fire water) — at the celebration, we were unaware of the human tragedy pounding New Orleans. 

Once I was back at work again I had to document Katrina’s devastation. I remember writing the following headline, ignorant of the “other storm” brewing within my own body:

                                                    The pound and the fury

Nine months after Katrina, tornado Tarzan blew into my world with his own kind of forceful recklessness. 

The lesson: Drinking Balkan fire water with relatives in Cleveland can lead to unexpected fertility.

I thought I was “one and done” with my firstborn. Sometimes our prayers get answered in unexpected ways, sort of like ordering greasy pizza but receiving a healthy salad and sushi instead. God obviously knew what was better. I’d never take back my “bonus boy.” 

Now whenever I think of Hurricane Katrina I associate it with Tarzan’s conception. Such is the craziness and yin and yang of this world.  I wish the suffering from Katrina never had to happened.

I also ran a half marathon with my friend Pam back then, not knowing I was pregnant yet.

My life has never been the same since Tarzan. Neither has my running 

Most of the time, both are better. Because Tarzan has always been such an intense child I need breaks and running does that for me. I also lost the last of my baby weight from pregnancies after he was born.

People come into this world with own personalities. Around me Tarzan, now age 4 1/2, likes to emulate a category 4 storm. He’s been that way from the get-go.

As a baby he never fell asleep easily on his own and he didn’t self-soothe well.

By age 2 1/2 he gave up naps entirely.

Until a few months ago he threw monster tantrums each day when it was time for us to pick up Jane from school.

“Look,” I reasoned with him, “I can leave you here by yourself if you want, but when the policeman finds out he’s going to take you away from me for good and give you to a new mommy. Do you want that?”

Tarzan’s light bulb went on. “NO, MOMMY! I want you! I want you FOREVER!”

Finally, I got cooperation, and dang it, the boy’s unbridled affection made me melt like butter.

I often find myself either running to or from Tarzan, like a real funnel cloud, depending on which way his mood and demands spin me.

After I dropped him off at preschool today, for example, I raced to drop off water for the Distance Divas next long run tomorrow. Then I ran 9 miles, rushed home, got a quick shower and barely picked up him in time at dismissal.

My weekly training runs revolve around when he’s in preschool or I get up early and run while he and Jane are still sleeping.

It’s not always easy, but at least I get to choose.


That’s easy: Tornado.


Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!

Mileage today: 9; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1367; Miles left to go: 403.




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