Monday, September 24, 2007

Week 10: Better late than never.

That's it. As of tonight, I'm officially a 5k runner.

And this amazingly after four straight days of non-running.

Let's get down to details.

1. Bad Day / Daniel Powter 3:52
My path begins. We walk for five minutes. I start north down Fourth St. to one of the side streets where I used to take my walks. I use the iPod as a flashlight since its pitch black down these wooded streets. Where is the passion when you need it the most?

2. Waking Up / Milow 4:56
The run begins, and I don't hold much hope - especially after a dinner of pork 'n' beans and hot dogs (a staple I'll soon integrate into my new invention, the Hobo Diet). I learned long ago the consequences of eating a heavy meal before running. But it starts earnestly enough, even though I don't have much hope. Last week was rough, to put it mildly: week nine was supposed to be the final leg of this torture device, and I couldn't make it any past 20 of the 30 minutes.

3. Rusty Cage / Johnny Cash 2:50
I'm going to break my rusty cage...and run.The cool night air helps, especially because the temperature when I left work was in the upper 80s. I almost forgot to run tonight. Or maybe it was just apathy. I trip over the rough spots in the asphalt, and weird noises come out from the woods around me. I double back down Park and Heyser Streets and retrace my path back to Fourth.

4. September / Earth, Wind & Fire 3:37
I've been down these streets tons of times, but it's always different in the dark. I'm thinking about taking my brain somewhere else, or at least focusing on how my legs function, and how I can run for 10 minutes and not break a sweat. Then the sweat comes, and I wish to god I'd broken down and bought me a sweet headband. Maybe next year.

5. Take Me Out / Franz Ferdinand 3:57
Last week I had almost given up, or at least reverted back to simpler times, like week five or six. "Maybe I'll de-evolve, and try this thing over again." Andrea's running a 5k this weekend, and I'm starting to feel like a loser. I've reached the limits of where my body can take me. I run past the tennis courts, sad to realize I don't see any of the usual deer, who I've come to view as cohorts on this journey of pain. They stand, eat grass, bob their ears and tail when I trot past. I run, and weep, and wish for a bus to end my suffering. Take me out.

6. Orange Crush / R.E.M. 3:52
I race around the park on the corner of Briarcliff and West, and I feel the blister that's been bother me for two weeks return. I've long known that I favor the insides of my soles. You can tell just by looking at my shoes how I walk, and it's not pretty. Even the cushy New Balances are no remedy. Another one on the waves tonight / Comin' in, you're home...

7. Refractor / Circle of Dust 2:49
I know now that it's easier to hate than love. Making the return trip down West, passing the tennis courts and Parkside again, I start to feel like maybe this is it. Maybe this is the night. I've told myself this countless times in the past two weeks, but then I think of how good I'm feeling - even after not running for four days, and spending a good deal of yesterday and Saturday on my toosh. I've picked these songs not out of some desire to overcome adversity, or to rock my way to the top of some pinnacle, but simply to dull the pain and quiet the madness - the madness of running in the dark on a Monday night while everyone else is watching football. You know, like I used to do.

8. Daylight Robbery / Imogen Heap 3:22
Oh Imogen, were you right here, I would take some of your English beauty and transfer the feeling to my legs and chest, which are going numb. Thinking big, thinking positive, and an itch to get on with it... I'm back to the apartment complex and heading toward the back where the drive meets Elmdale and the front side of Ella Sharp Park. I'm thinking that "Daylight" is my final song, and so I pick up my pace just to prove myself I'm not some sick, twisted masochistic bastard. Sweet Imogen, carry me home...

9. She Sells Sanctuary / The Cult 4:25
Ah, but only fools rush in - isn't that what Matthew Perry taught us in some foregone age? This is it, I know now, and so the only thing to do now is coast. I realize - somewhere between the putt-putt coarse and Fourth - that I've actually got energy to spare. So I sprint down Fourth, next to the golf course, back in the Parkside parking lot, and end up home. Finished. That's it. The fire in your eyes keeps me alive...

10. Today / K.M.F.D.M. 4:56
I've usually ended my workout with KMFDM's epic "DIY" - but since Mr. Ullreys' plan calls for a five minute walk to cool down, a more down-beat approach to the finish line works best. I'm already thinking of what Wednesday, my next scheduled run day, will bring - since I'm learning that trying to predict how a run will go is like trying to predict the world at large. It's the end today, but it's gone tomorrow - and today will never come again.

Back at home, I grab a towel, douse it with cold water from the tap, and try to cool down. It's weird how I could go from almost-quitting to hot-damn-I-did-it.

But here it is. Now I'm going to stretch away my accomplishment.

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