Look what I found!
Do you know who this is? Have you any idea?
This is Clucky. My lucky chicken!
A few months ago I searched – fruitlessly – for Clucky at my mom’s house. Boxes of toys circa late 1970s containing Fisher-Price little people, barnyard animals and furniture. Back when you could still find toys small enough to choke on (though I never did).
Anyways, I had written about Clucky on my blog which prompted a full on APB search in mom’s basement. When I could not find him, I got kind of sad. A relic from my past as both a child and a runner was gone.
Fast forward to Saturday. I was sitting around trying not to be taken hold of the half Ironman recovery/Ironman taper blues. Motivation to do triathlon = all time low. Motivation to dress Boss up in stuffed monkey clothes = all time high!
Off to the bedroom we went where I have a drawer filled with clothes for Mr. Pickles. Mr. Pickles is my stuffed monkey. He travels places. He also likes to wear clothes from Build-A-Bear.
Maturity is highly overrated.
I put Boss on the bed while digging through the drawer. To my surprise I found all kinds of fun stuff! Finger puppets, lederhosen (I totally forgot that a trip to Germany for Chris meant searching all over Heidelburg for lederhosen small enough to fit a stuffed monkey) and….
What is this?
Boss waits patiently to get dressed…
Could it be?
I couldn’t believe it! He was found. Boss get off the bed, dress up time is over. I’ve got a new toy! THIS IS A SIGN for sure! Of what, I don’t know. But it means something! I ran downstairs shouting Chris, look what I found! Clucky!
Chris asked if I was going to put him back in my car. What? Wait – yes! Then it hit me. Clucky was last affixed to the dashboard of my first car – a Mazda Protégé. All that crusty gunk around his bottom was gum. In fact, I remember the day I took the gum out of my mouth, put it on Clucky and forever stuck him to the dashboard. When I sold the car, I took Clucky off and somehow he ended up in the toy drawer.
Clucky used to be on a string that I would wear around my neck on the bus trips to cross country meets. That along with a Three Musketeers bar I would keep inside of a plastic Sesame Street lunchbox where I had taped motivational quotes clipped from magazines. What can I say. I thought that top performance was an elusive mystery requiring a plastic chicken, a lunchbox and a candy bar.
Not much has changed.
Everyone knew Clucky. He was lucky. How did I know? Well, I kept getting better and better and it had to be because of the chicken. Even if it wasn’t, who would tempt fate enough to find out?
I remember having breakthroughs as a cross country runner. The first time I averaged 6:20 miles. The time I cracked the top 10 on the race day where it rained. I cried as I came through the finish chute and realized that having stuck it out longer than anyone else in nasty conditions made me a champ that day. A lesson I still go back to. My last meet as a senior where I was right on first place’s tail thinking to myself – why won’t she let me win! This is my last race just let me win! Realizing at that time that you have to really want something to win – you can’t expect someone to give it to you.
These are the memories that Clucky holds. He is a plastic chicken but symbolizes achievement, success, friendship and hope. He reminds me of good things I did as an athlete but also reminds me, reluctantly, of my flaws. Of not surging for first place. Of never accepting the push to the varsity team because I was too scared. Lessons learned.
Today I was feeling low. I am tired and ready to be done with triathlon. I have sat on the (barnyard) fence of maybe I shouldn’t even do Ironman. I want to skip my workouts today and just rest. I know I have worked hard but I am also ready to put 2008 behind and look ahead.
I am still not decided about today. But I have decided that on race day I will put Clucky in my bento box. He reminds me of good things. And maybe on the run I will hold him in my hand. He’s been running with me since I was 15 years old. What’s one more marathon?
As a side note – I just realized Clucky is not a boy. He is a hen. Please don’t spoil it for me by telling me boys cannot be hens. There are some things Clucky and I do not need to know.