Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bad Start....Good Ending

Yesterday morning at 6:45 a.m. I found myself standing in an Exxon gas station more than three miles from home, wet and half-naked, explaining myself to a police officer. 


But let me start at the beginning....

Earlier that day, I woke up with a stiff neck and little sleep.  I'd tossed and turned all night long, waking to strange sounds, real or imagined, and then drifting off into uneasy and light sleep.   I considered blowing off this week's long run - an 11 miler - but my conscience stepped in and took over.  It reminded me that there would be little opportunity to make these miles up later in the week, since son and family are coming the next day, enroute from California to their new home in Louisiana.  Besides, I wanted to do this long run...I needed to do it.  I just wasn't sure I could do it.

Rather than dwell on the decision, I got up, pulled on running shorts and jog bra, ate half a banana and drank some water in preparation for getting it done and over with.   As I walked out the door, I promised myself that if it wasn't going well and I didn't feel up to doing the entire 11 miles, I could quit when I stopped at the house for a break, mid-point in the run. 

It was hot and without a breath of a breeze when I started out.  The first half of the route was in my neighborhood.  For the first two miles I really wondered how I was going to get this done.  Several times I talked myself into giving up, and several times I convinced myself to stick with it.  Of course, the perfect time to quit was when I stopped briefly at the house.  But once there, I decided to keep going.  I ate the other half of the banana, refilled my hydration bottle with Gatorade, and headed back out the door to do the next 6.5 miles. 

Once out of the neighborhood and onto open road, there was a slight but noticeable breeze, which helped some.  My route was very straighforward and took me past the beautiful new high school, which proved to be a major mental diversion for me, as the traffic was clogged with buses, parents doing drop-offs, and students driving and walking to school.   This helped some, too. 

Then I must have zoned out.  With nothing but straight, smooth, wide sidewalk in front of me, zoning out was easy to do.  When that sidewalk ended at a major intersection, I pulled up short, realizing I'd slightly overshot my mark:  The Exxon on the corner.

I stepped inside the gas station C-Store for a moment to enjoy the coolness.  This is where that police officer comes in.  He was standing there chatting with the clerk when I walked up to the register to pay for a CLIF bar, conscious of my skimpy running attire and soaked in sweat. 

"From the look of you, you've been out walking," the officer said to me.  "I've been out running," I replied.  "How far are you going?" he asked.  So there I stood, wet and half naked, explaining to a police officer where I'd started from, how far I'd run so far, and how many miles I'll have done by the time I get home.  I didn't mind responding since he is, after all, one of our town's finest.  He and the store clerk were both impressed and offered some nice words of encouragement.

I walked outside, unwrapped the bar to take a bite, and then it struck me, "How did I even get here??"  Two hours ago I wasn't sure I'd run this far.  Now the worst of the run was over and it's only 3.3 miles to home.  Wow!

How could a run that almost didn't happen at all, turn out okay?  Even better than just okay? 
That's the power of running!

$ R $

1 comment:

  1. Is this what the Endorphin effect that runners refer to.