Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This is as deep as I get.

I was fitting in a final long run this morning before I participate in the Monumental half marathon which, at the time of this writing, is only 10 days away.  And while I was running, I got to thinking about how this 10 mile run is a good metaphor for life, with each mile representing a decade of my lifespan:  what’s occurred so far, and how I anticipate the rest of my life to be.  I’m sure I’m not the first person to have this brilliant revelation, but I thought I’d share.

Mile one.  Even though I’ve been running for over a year now, every time I start out, it feels like the first time.  I’m awkward as I get my footing.  My arms are flailing.  I don’t feel balanced or secure.  The occasional face-plant has been known to occur.
As I approach mile two, my teenage angst sets in.  I hate running.  I’m miserable.  This is stupid.  Who on earth put me up to this?  How in the world am I going to get through the rest of this long miserable run?  I’m still a bit awkward, but really, running is just dumb.

Mile three is a whole lot better than mile two.  I’ve found my footing and I realize that it’s not so bad.  But just as I questioned my career path in my early 30's, I’m still contemplating my decision as to why I took up running in the first place:  is running what's best for me?  Maybe biking would have been better.  Or the luge.  At least I’m not in any pain yet.  I’m distracted though.  Had I not looked up from the pavement, I might have missed this:


And now, as I’m knocking on 40’s door, I am happy that mile four felt the most comfortable.  I ran my fastest speed.  I was as fluid as I get, and felt I’d gotten into my rhythm.   Even my somewhat sore knees weren’t slowing me down yet.  So is it downhill from here?
Nope.  I started running uphill.  Mile five.  The fifties.  I was excited to realize I was keeping up with the pace I’d set in mile 4.  Then I was over the hill.
The sixties.  My parents are running their figurative mile 6.  They may have more aches and pains than they did in their youth, but they are still very much on the move.  I did, however, just get passed by some young punk runner.  Blasted kids.  Even I can hear your music through your earphones!  I think he's in mile 2.
I realized at this point, I was entering the golden years.  Ah yes.  I had to pee.
Mile 7 is slower and things are definitely sore.  My legs want me to quit, and I need to find something else to focus on.  I get to thinking…I get a bit reflective, a bit philosophical.  I start thinking of my run, my journey, and it's at this point when I start creating this writing in my head.
The next mile.  I don’t remember.  What mile is this?

And suddenly I'm in mile 9.  Yes, things hurt, but it's fulfilling to see how far I’ve run.  Now that I’m here I realize that the pain and discomfort I felt early in the run were nothing.  I’m sore.  Really sore.  I’m proud of how far I’ve come.  But now I’m ready to be Home.
Mile 10.  It’s done.  Now give me an ibuprofen and a bagel.

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