A gentle breeze blew through the humid Florida night. Far above my head the stars burned hard against the black sky, only outshined by the dim streetlights of these sleepy midnight streets. Warm darkness welcomed me like the old friend it is as I started the C25K app on my phone and pushed play to begin the music. For 5 minutes I would walk and reflect on what I had done so far and what I was about to do… and what I would have to do later. Tonight was going to be something special. I walked and waited for the signal to run. There are two meteor showers overlapping tonight. Not kidding.
The chime rang out and my body found momentum. 3 minutes. I’ll make it to the stop sign. I know I will. Watch your shadow. Are you running right? Shoulders back, chin up, straighten your posture, don’t swing your arms too much. Now I’m too far into my own head. I need to get my mind off it and let my body do what it already knows how to do. Dammit, Jim, you’re a runner not a scientist! And your name isn’t Jim! This interval is easy… but it’s not smooth. Wait… it is easy, isn’t it? Check your breathing…. shouldn’t you be breathing harder? *exhales* Push. *mind taps body on shoulder* Hey, pal, you just passed the stop sign. A smile breaks across my face. DING! Walk.
What the hell was that? You didn’t even have any Wheaties today! Mainly because they’re gross, but that’s not the point! What has gotten into you? The music isn’t even all that motivating. Are you getting stronger already? You’re not even through the program yet! Keep your head, man, you’re heading for disaster. In 60 seconds you’re gonna be running again. Be cool. Don’t take yourself out of the game when you’ve come this far. Walk… breathe… walk…. breathe. Oh, hey it’s that techno song you put in your list that has never played since the beginning of the C25K program. Weird. Why did you even put this on here? You don’t like techno. DING! Run.
You’re charging out again, knucklehead, dial it back a little. This is 5 minutes, not 3. Don’t burn out. Just keep running. Just keep breathing. This song is starting to build up a little. What is this? *checks phone* Darude – “Sandstorm”. Oh, yeah. You read about that on the forums, that’s why you put it on there. Well, it seems to have a pretty good beat, let it go. *music builds and builds and builds* Uh oh. 2:46 in the song hits and, in an instant, two meteors streak across the sky, one after the other as if they’re chasing each other. Awe strikes like a sledgehammer and as I’m in disbelief… BOOM! Adrenaline explodes through my veins like nitrous oxide. Momentum becomes force. Shoulders forward, head down… this is serious business. My brain screams, “You’re committing suicide!” I retort, “Whatever, bitch, you don’t know me!” If it wouldn’t have thrown off my balance, I might have put a finger snap and a head swivel in there all ghetto style. The music slowed about a minute ago, but you’re still going strong. You’re breathing heavy now and the music is building back up! Quick diagnostic. No pain. No burn in the lungs. Your shins and knees feel brand new. To hell with it…. (5:01 in the song blasts out) PUSH! You know, for someone who doesn’t like techno, you’re sure enjoying the hell out of this! DING! Walk.
The song softens and plays out as my pulse drops and my breathing returns to normal. This night is unreal. How the hell are you doing this, Kevin? How? You’re not ready…. but here you are doing it. You might pay for this. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon and for the rest of your life! *raises eyebrow* “Mr. Bogart, please leave. This is about me, not you. Jeez!” What a douche. Anyway, I feel fine. I think this is where I should be. Hell, next week is gonna bring a 20 minute run, but I shouldn’t try hard today on the last session of this week? Buuuulllshit! DING! Holy crap, that went by fast!
This time the song playing didn’t mean much. Don’t even remember what it was, but the adrenaline came rushing right back. I realize that, by now, my shoulders should be burning. My chest should be on fire! But they’re not. In fact, I almost don’t feel like I’m running too hard at all. Next week you’re going from 5 minute runs to a 20 minute run in 3 days. You think you can do that? You better prove it! *salutes* Yes, sir! PUSH! Wait… did you just run over the canal bridge? Holy crap, you just passed the canal and you’re still running! And you still have like 30 seconds! Have people been giving you steroids in your sleep?! DING! Walk.
Hmmm. Maybe you’re the Terminator and no one ever told you about it. You’ve got one more 5 minute run and you’re doing better than you thought you could this week. What do you say? Go for broke? It has been fun but this could get you in trouble. You might feel great right now. Then again… you do have a two day break after this. You know how to tend to minor injuries. Roll the dice. Roll the dice. Roll the dice. DING! (“Run” by Gnarls Barkley starts immediately after the chime. Out loud, I actually say, “Hahaha, are you serious?!”) Hasta la vista, honkee!
5 minutes…. 5 minutes and you will reach a level of pride you haven’t known for a while. Wait a minute… am I schizophrenic? What is this other voice I’ve been having a back and forth with the whole time? *this is where I start taking some creative license* Myself 10 years ago steps out before me, glowing blue and dressed in a Jedi robe (haha) and, I must say, what a sexy devil. “You’ve been on the dark side too long. You’ve been lazy. You’ve messed things up. You’ve hurt people you didn’t want to hurt. You’re ashamed of yourself and you’re not proud of what you have become, but make no mistake… you’re not running from anything, you’re running toward it. After all, running away means you want to forget. Running forward means you’re thirsty for redemption. Well, these are your first steps. You’re not crazy. Well… no crazier than you always have been. But you cut me out of your life a long time ago and I think it’s time that we forgive each other and join forces again. Prove your worth. Prove that you can. I’ll be waiting. Now, Kevin? …. PUSH!” It’s harder to run with a lump in your throat. DING! “WOOOOOOOOOHAHAHAAA!!!” *dogs bark in the back yard of the house I’m now walking past* Oh, oops. *whistles and walks briskly away*
What on earth? Really? It’s just a run. I just went out for a run. Now I feel like I’ve been on a journey! Perfectly timed and powerful music? Meteors on cue? Introspection? Tenacity that would make a pit bull’s jaws seem weak? *exhale* Son of a bitch. That was intense.
Any beginners who read this blog, please, PLEASE understand that tonight was about… something else… and I do not advise pushing like that. I may still pay for it, but apparently I needed it because I had NO control over it at all. It just happened… and I’m glad it did. I hope it happens again.
As you can probably tell, tonight was pretty easy on the running front. I am a little surprised, but I guess it makes sense. The first week was about proving I could get out there and try. The two weeks after were spent finding my groove. This week was about overcoming harder runs until tonight. Tonight was just nuts!
Now I’ve had time to shower, eat some ziti and make myself a nice cocktail. After all… I earned it tonight. For those of you wondering, the adrenaline fueled frenzy of self-discovery earned me an extra 0.6 miles putting me at 2.1 miles for the session (not including the warm up and cool down walks). I uh…. I think my 30 minute runs can cover that extra mile. haha. I guess we’ll see, though. I could be wrong. I wish I hadn’t left my Nike+ in St. Louis or I’d have a better idea of my running pace right now. I’d especially like to know what tonight’s pace was like.
I’m sure this post probably tells a story of a madman gone madder, but this one is for me so I don’t care. haha.