The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hoodlums in The Hood

​​Their flight was late giving my brother-in-law Dave, my son Stefan and I lazy moments for light conversation around the patio table.  It was a perfectly warm Sunday evening and despite the calendar reading September, it still felt like summer.  Thirty minutes later my aunt's van pulls into my parent's driveway next door.  We soon hear laughter.  My Aunt Alice and cousin Kate have just arrived from Arizona.

We are now standing in mom's kitchen placing groceries in the fridge.  After a brief discussion and entirely too much math, we calculate it has been 30 years since Kate has been to our small town. Weird as we are all only 28.  The weather is too nice and we decide we need to move our conversation outside.  I glance up and notice two teenage boys walking down the street in front of the house.

"Who are those kids?" I ask my mom.  They look out of place.

"I have no idea.  I've never seen them before."

I move to the back hall and stop as I see them loitering around the back of Stefan's car.  Although still on the sidewalk, they have obscured themselves at the edge of my parent's property.  One of the boys raises his hand and takes the stance of a pitcher, winding up to throw something at one of the cars.  I yell "HEY!!!" from inside the house as the object launches full force into the side of my aunt's van.  The two teenage boys take off running.

Leaping the 4 steps in one giant step, I am out the door in a full sprint.  As I cross the driveway, I huck the flip flops off my feet. Once at the edge of the property I see the boys on the other side of the block.  They see me coming and take off running.  Fine.  I can play this game too.

Within seconds I have crossed a main street and am in full pursuit of these boys.  I contemplate stopping.  I mean, really, what in the world am I going to do once I catch these kids?  I realize I'm gaining on them.  The one who threw - what appeared to be an apple - turns around.  He sees me still in a full sprint and gaining on him.  The look he gave was pure fear.

There was no quitting now.  That look was all I needed and I found another gear.  I'm pretty sure I passed a cheetah like it was standing still.

I discovered when one is running on 100% adrenaline, crazy and insane thoughts race through one's mind.  This shouldn't surprise me, after all, there was absolutely nothing sane about a barefoot 44 year old mother of two chasing down 2 teenage boys. Yet there I was in a full sprint through the streets of town.  A small town where everyone knows everyone else's business.  Is the phone ringing at my parent's house yet?

Dang it. I wish I had my Garmin.

I am running a marathon in a week and I'm suppose to be running short, leisurely miles.

This isn't leisurely. 

This better be short.

How fast am I going?  Fast. 

Cheri, you are going fast.

HA!  That kid is slowing.

Where the heck is my brother in law?


We round a corner and the one who threw the object turns and finds me 15 feet behind him.  He realizes I am not going anywhere but on his tail.  He stops and a nano second later I have grabbed the collar of his shirt.  He looks ready to throw up.  I've seen that look before many times at a finish line.

Welcome to the big leagues kid.

"What in the world do you think you were doing?" I yell.  Yes, yell.  My flaring temper may have actually been physically visible.

"I didn't throw anything!!  I didn't throw anything!!"  He cries.

"Well, I never said you threw anything now did I?" My grip on his shirt tightens.  He tries to get away.  I horse collar him and tell him - in the meanest Mama Bear voice ever heard on the face of the planet - "YOU ARE COMING WITH ME."

"Why?  I didn't throw anything! I didn't throw anything!!"  He tries to pull away.

The collar of his shirt is firmly in my grasp and I pull him along.  I feel like I'm trying to lead a horse to drink.

"Where are you taking me?" He asks with fear in his voice.

"You are coming back to the house and we are going to see if you caused any damage to my aunt's van.  And if you did, you are going to pay for it."

"I didn't throw anything!!"

"I suggest you stop lying to me -, " I pause, "-What's your name?"


"Well Carlos, I suggest you stop lying to me because I watched you throw something at my aunt's van.  And if you tell me one more time you didn't throw anything I'll take that as you calling me a liar.  DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?"  Mama Bear voice again.


"Carlos.  It's time you learned a little about respect.  I am willing to bet your mama taught you better than this.  Taking something and throwing it at someone else's property is completely disrespectful and not to mention rude.  We DO NOT damage other people's property.  That van was not yours to touch.  You had no right to do what you did.  You need to show a little respect to the hard work people have put in to buy their property.  Do you understand me Carlos?".

"Yes.  Can you let go of my shirt?"


I become aware of the town folk driving by and staring at me - the crazed 44 year old woman with the tall teenage boy's shirt collar firmly in her grasp. 

Oh my, do those people go to my parent's church?  

Why are there so many cars?  

I think half the town is driving by right now.



We round the final corner taking us to my parent's street.  I see my cousin Kate pacing nervously in the driveway.  She looks up and sees the two of us approaching - me stomping; the kid still trying to catch his breath.  She turns to speak to someone to her left and I read her lips saying, "Oh my gosh, she caught the kid."  We come to the property and the family greets us.  All of them.  Every.Single.One.  My Aunt Mari, my mom, my sister Amy, her two kids, my boys as well as my visiting Aunt Alice and cousin Kate.

"Hello everyone.  This is Carlos.  We are here to check the damage he did to your car Aunt Mari."

I see tomato smeared all down the sides of Aunt Mari's white van.

Within seconds Carlos has my mom on one side of him and Aunt Mari on the other.  If Carlos thought he got an earful from me on respect, he was about to learn from the masters.   I am leaned against the patio table, trying to catch my breath and I hear my two favorite women in the whole world begin to impart wisdom on young Carlos.  A lifetime of being together, they bounce their conversation back and forth against Carlos.

You should know better.

How old are you?

A sophomore? A sophomore!

You oughta know better.

Cheri, bring Carlos the hose.  He's going to wash the van.

You need to apologize to my sister.

You missed a spot here Carlos.

One doesn't throw things at other people's cars.

What were you thinking.

Carlos, here's a spot.

Do you think you learned a lesson here?

My sister Amy casually walks up behind Carlos and says, "You messed with the wrong woman.  See that woman there?" She points to me.  "She runs marathons.  You'll never out run her."

My mom and Aunt Mari, thoroughly convinced our job of educating Carlos is complete, send him on his way.

I am tired, I sit in the chair.  I just ran a quarter mile at a top sprint while barefoot.  Oy vey, my marathon is in one week.  Lord, I hope I didn't just screw that up.

We all start to giggle.  None of us can believe what just transpired. We all talk at once and our laughter grows louder.

Amy comes to the table and states, "I'm pretty sure you scared him Cheri."

I start giggling again.  "Yea, you should have seen the look on his face when he turned around the second time and saw me gaining on him."

Amy asks, "So do you think that is the point when he peed his pants?"

And that my friends, I am most certain, is when Carlos could here us laughing as he ran away a second time.  This time, there was no need to chase him as I am certain he learned a lesson he will never forget.

Mission accomplished.

Moral of the story : Don't mess with a mom who owns running shoes.

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's Muggy

Sweat stings my eyes.  My watch is yelling at me.  It wants me to slow down.  I have no desire to listen to it.  I don't.  

I push forward.

I am on my second 800 meter repeat and the air is thick with humidity.  Why oh why did I wear a hat?  My watch chirps at me to stop my 800 and cool down before picking up the pace again.  The data on my watch tells me I ran my 800 meters a second faster than the first one.  The easy pace I'm doing ensures I cool down.  My watch begins to beep; it's time to pick up the pace again.

The pace is a hard comfortable.  Oh my gosh it's muggy.  Why did I wear a hat again?  I notice a teenager doing strides while her dad tries to keep up.  I smile at the incredible father /daughter bonding moments that will come out of sweating out hard workouts together.  My watch is telling me to slow down.

Beep, beep, beep.  My 800 is over.  A second faster again.  Nearing my water bottle, I flick my hat off and it lands right next to the bottle.  SCORE!  I take a swig or two of the liquid gold and continue on my cool down pace. My watch beeps again telling me break is over.  I am completely unsure how this is possible as I thought it told me to slow down only 5 seconds prior.

Have I mentioned it's muggy?  My 4th 800 repeat goes by quickly and I've knocked another 2 seconds off my previous time.  Calculations quickly tell me I am now 4 seconds faster than my first which is 15 seconds faster than what the training plan called for.  I'm sure a coach somewhere would be yelling at me to slow it down.  I'm a week into my 3 week taper and the Taper Tantrums have struck.

Two more repeats to go.  The heat is getting to me and I notice my 5th 800 meter is 5 seconds slower than my last; more in line to what it should be but my effort seemed harder.  My cool down time is less than a millisecond long before my watch is telling me to get going again.

Last one.  Thank you Lord.  I push it knowing I am on my last one.  I try and wipe the sweat from my eyes.  It stings.  Suck it up princess.  It's almost over.  I round the last turn and with mercy my watch beeps again telling me it's time to cool down.  2 seconds slower than my last.  I'll take it.  It's muggy.

My friends and I start our cool down mile and talk about today's workout.  The easy pace feels good.  The conversation is good and before we realize it, the mile is over.  We stretch our well-worked muscles and talk about football; finally the season begins.

Walking back to our cars, we high five each other and solidify the weekend's running plans.  Sitting in my car, I turn the key and reach to press the button which puts the top down.  It's definitely a top-down kind of a drive.  

After all, it is muggy.