Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Wall

I hit it.  The Wall.

After running a mind-bogglingly slow 22K, I had to walk the final 4 home in pain from the waist down. Toes, arches, ankles, achilles, knees, hamstrings, gluts. My running mantra morphed into a decidedly unhelpful litany of four-letter interjections that began with "ouch" and ventured into asterisk territory.

I probably spent 3 of my almost 5 1/2 hours of running yesterday asking myself why I am doing this. What is the point?

I love running 6K each morning before the rest of the house gets up. It clears my mind of the clutter. It clears my muscles of the lymph. It makes me feel strong, capable and productive.

Yesterday I felt like a fraud. Runner? Healthy?

As I was lying in bed last night, unable to sleep, I noticed the pile of winter blankets was breathing. I wondered if I would die before I woke. If I was suffering from some silent, mysterious brain disease that made me experience running at a fair pace, while actually moving two strides forward, one stride back.

Clearly, I've too much Sci Fi in my life.

Why am I choosing to run with a GPS, to keep to a schedule someone has laid out for a race I have no intention of winning? For a chance to face the humiliation of coming in absolutely last (or worse, after the officials have packed up and started dancing)?

Maybe I need to keep in mind that a humbling situation need not be humiliating.
And what do I take with me from yesterday?

I ran the edges of three lakes and a stretch of seaside. I inhaled the scent of fresh tar, rotting seaweed and densely-petaled roses.

I burned one arm and two shins on nettle; startled a gathering of ragged-wooly sheep. I climbed over porous, black outcroppings, and smooth, gray boulders. I ran the path over the hill where the treeless, rocky terrain brings my mind back to the desert.

I saw a cormorant, perched on a dark rock capped with white bird shit.

Intermittent drops of cold rain.

And this morning? I am still alive.

Rest today, cross-train tomorrow and some fartslek on Tuesday.

I choose to continue the journey.


  1. Wow, you ARE healthy if you can run that much! I don't know where you started, but try thinking about how far you've come. I'm sure you're more healthy now than when you started.

    I recognize that fear of the humiliation of coming in last. I typically fear the same things. However, even if you DID indeed finish last, would it be the end of the world? Would it be as humiliating as you imagine? Or would it be an accomplishment just to finish the face?

    BTW, are you Norwegian by any chance? If you are, "hei fra en landskvinne" :) (if you're not, just ignore my Norwegian greeting :P)

  2. Thanks, Undercover. My massage therapist today said he was very impressed with my dedication and progress.

    Jeg er ikke norsk - gift med en nordmann.