The first part of the run had me fretting about precise times and distances: Do I give in and buy a Garmin? Why am I doing this anyway?
What about the shoes? Am I going to ruin my body entirely by going minimalist for my first marathon?
It was mainly about trying to make peace with the idea of coming in dead last. Being honest with myself about that. Can I really, honestly, deal with it?
I am a competitive person. I have always been one of the people to say that getting the best grade in the class isn't important, but knowing full well that I had a shot at that slot. I have always considered myself a "contender" in the endeavors I have taken up (or I have been blissfully ignorant that I wasn't). Am I being honest with myself or am I subconsciously harboring a fantasy that I have a superpower yet-to-be-revealed that will kick in on race day?
Why did I begin running again last year? A large part of it was the deer. Up early, seeing the flash of white tail in the fog in the mornings was a reward.
The doe was there to remind me. This is about health and peace of mind.
In March, when I made a real commitment to myself, the world was dark at 5 a.m., but every day a little lighter. I watched the reeds grow. I heard the birds returning.
In April, when the last of the snow had melted from the little hollow to reveal autumn's leaves - still bright orange - spring mimicked the fall, and I realized the fluidity of nature: the old doesn't immediately give way to the new. It is a matter of focus sometimes.
After 20 years of complaining about the cold and the rain, Friday I was celebrating the 15C morning and the light rain - with my jacket tied around my waist.
This year I decided to change my citizenship. The cells in my body have renew themselves, nearly three times over now, breathing this air. I continue to change fundamentally.
After the run Friday, I showered and biked downtown to meet three other American expatriates. We had a very long and pleasant lunch, after which I went directly to a store to purchase some Vivo barefoot shoes for work (one of the Americans showed me hers and told me where to find them). Then I picked up my second pair of Vibrams. (I have worn out a pair of running shoes!)
Then my oldest son called me. He was watching the news.
The day broke sharply in two.
Today I am reminding myself that, that doesn't mean one half of the day negates the other. Life and death... and life.
What keeps you running?