Janathon Day 11: Running, My Refuge

I woke up, fed and watered the children, saw the fam off to market. I had exactly 1 hour and 33 minutes to run. I put in my contacts, clicked my Garmin to locate a GPS signal, changed clothes, grabbed a water bottle, filled it, grabbed my keys, (the Garmin found signal!) my watch, OCD felt my keys in one hand while drawing shut the locked front door with the other hand and stepped into sunshine. 32F. I squinted at the mostly blue sky. Snow melt drizzled and plinked onto the porch awning from the roof above. locking the door with the other. Beep!

I decided to do a Denbo run. Here’s the goofy 3D flyover if you like. Imagine you’re a bird on a sunny day.http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/render_route_video?route_id=611111892

Anyhoo, it looks like the embed code is a bit squirrelly. Imagine you’re a space alien arriving to this planet. You came all this way to watch me run 15K, a 9.4 mile run. Good job, tiger.

I was shocked at how slow i ran, about a 9:30 pace. Legs were all muddy from taking a polar vortex week off from running. I’ve been sore all day! But it’s a good soreness. I made it. I burned myself up in my own crucible, a gift of suffering. Sounds weird. It does absolutely sound weird until you consider something very profound about endurance running, aside from its sheer simplicity. After a while the pain doesn’t get any worse. After a while, since it can’t get any worse, it becomes something other than pain, it begins to pass, and the only thing left is the will to continue, and that focal point dialates like a whirlpool, an indrawn breath from a mighty Kraken that lurks within all of us, deep down, slumbering, begging to be undisturbed, but once aroused, stirred from the chambers of sleep and dread oblivion, comes alive, and coming to the light of day, its mouth opens and swallows all within the horizon, and whose undertow take all witnesses, save for the birds who no longer have anything on which to light, except the winds and the circling, descending waters.

And it feels great going out to Denbo. The route is mostly flat  with a few mild hills, punctuated with a steep decline in the beginning, steep climb to finish. My water-carriage is ridiculous and useless. I fight it a dozen times as it slips away from the water bottle. I’m going to get a bottle belt, one with a 20 oz bottle to wear on my butt, like a holster. Take that, Dry Crime! Squirt!

I’m running as fast as I can, but it’s terribly slow. I have run this distance faster in creeks, at three times the elevation, in bear country, but I didn’t run all week. I’m feeling it in my lungs first. On my way out my lungs begin to tire. By the 10K mark I’m losing a gear. My calves, quads and butt are aching. They’re actually getting sore. That’s terrible. Just a week ago I was plowing miles a minute faster. I can only hope in two weeks I’ll be laughing at this effort and last week’s efforts.

II have to get a marathon in by the end of the month. I must have a 50K under my belt by February 21st if I want to do a 100 miler in March. This is a steep climb. I did a quick 20 push-ups before the run to tire my arms.

A good 90 minute run at top speed is a formula for an excellent 10K. I’m telling myself this at the turn-around while I’m gingerly picking my way across ice-rimed railroad tracks next to a building with the word ‘Satan’ scrawled in sloppy, fat looping letters across its boarded windows. I can’t believe my Garmin is keeping track. I’d find out later it doesn’t upload. So technology, many trouble.

My heels are cracked and bleeding. Both have a curved red smile running up them. When I walk, it hurts, but when I run, pound them, it goes away. I have horrible skin issues as the result of agricultural poisoning, but if I run and smash my feet up, I can turn the soles to pure leather, like they used to be this time last year. The downtime have made them sort of brittle. I can feel bits of rock getting into the cuts. I get through it. The rocks become part of me. I don’t fight it. The pain ebbs.

When cars roar past, I dip into the shoulder, ankles sloshing into wet, brined road mush. I have so much nerve damage my feet don’t pucker when wet. I like it like that.

I get home in 1 hr, 28 minutes and 34 seconds. i walk in, order my superstar oldborn child to shoe and jacket his gangliness, and we step back outside and mount my chariot. I’m sweating, wheezing, when we drive away to his game. We make it there with two minutes to spare. I’m the only person at the basketball rec center wearing shorts. I didn’t have time to change. My son hits the court for a warm-up. I stretch under the bleachers, eating a couple of hot dogs, slurping some coffee.

My son’s team wins their last game, ending the season undefeated! They placed first in their league! My son has no idea what he’s doing, but he’s having fun. He rides the bench a lot, sitting off by himself, faking seizures and doing “magic” with his water bottle. He is a very strange child.

I came home and tried to edit a little home movie and throw some other junk into it. I was sort of inspired by Chromatics’ take on an old New Order song “Ceremony”, something fetching and tender about the images and lyrics. I’m not a formalist. I like happy accidents.

Something’s wrong with the laptop. Done.

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