Saturday, April 26, 2008

Defeating the beast

It was probably best that I was jarred out of sleep this morning by the phone. If I would have had too much time to think about my task this morning, I might have psyched myself out. As it stood, Danny called and russled me out of my peaceful slumber.

I didn't have too much time to gather my stuff together. I drove to my mom's house - the same exact route I was going to run in a matter of minutes - to go get him.

Holy crap. This is a bit of a drive. I can just imagine how hard it will be when I have to navigate this by foot.

After picking Danny up, I came back to where it all started. I tried to stall. I didn't do it on purpose but I caught myself doing that. For instance, I didn't need to use the bathroom but I went to the bathroom anyway.

I got my iPod ready and went to say my final farewell to Tiffany. She asked me what was the matter.

I'm a ball of nerves right now, I told her.

She settled me somewhat, though. We walked out of the house, onto the street and head on into the toughest challenge of my life.

We made it to the end of my street. I turned, made it down to the end of 30th Street. We had to get up to the freeway, go under it and get out to Jurupa Road. That would be about 1/4 or 1/5 of the distance. Jurupa Road would take up a sizable amount of the jog.

We navigated through some construction. I stepped on a sandbag.

Maybe if I'm lucky I'll sprain my ankle and then I'll have to turn around and go home.

I refused to let those sorts of thoughts linger. I knew that if I could just make it out to Jurupa Road and get into a rhythm I'd be fine. Physically I didn't doubt myself. It was the mental crap I was worried about.

We darted under the freeway underpass, skirted across Mission Boulevard and went down towards Jurupa. Once on Jurupa, it seemed simultaneously an accomplishment and inconsequential.

Okay, we're on Jurupa. Kind of weird seeing it at this level.

I was thinking about reaching Patriot High when it happened. I felt a twinge in my calf. Great. Just what I needed, an injury. The part of me that earlier hoped for an injury even felt guilty. I wasn't even on Mile 2 and now I had something I had to fight through.

A few minutes later I was struggling. My mentality was in the toilet and my calf was reminding me every now and then that I couldn't overlook it. Add to that the seemingly endless road before me and, well...

Oh my God this sucks.

I tried to keep my focus on the upcoming streets. I made it a goal to get to Pyrite, and then I wanted to get to Agate and then Pedley. I passed them all by and was within sight of Van Buren. Suddenly I started to feel good about myself.

Danny is waaaay ahead of you.

In a way, though, that was good. He was holding a steady pace and I needed to do that as well. I'm not going to run as fast as he does. That's just not going to happen. But I could use his example to keep myself going and push myself.

He's going to kick your ass in the Mud Run.

Probably, but I'm not as far along as he is with our respective preparations.

Oh look. A train!

Indeed, a train was slowly chugging along. We were not going to be able to get across it, obviously. So we might get to rest a little after all. I'd stopped to walk once before then, right after my calf started to make noise. But I took about three steps and got right back on it. This time, though, the train might force our hand. However, I knew that I wouldn't reach it while it was still in front of me, and sure enough I was about 20 yards from the tracks when the train went past. I jogged to the street as the light had turned green. I didn't want to get stuck at the light, but it turned yellow right when I got to it.

I stopped just as Danny had crossed the street and turned back to look where I was. The ground swam underneath me.

Hey there. I can't stop now.

A red car made a left turn in front of me. I jogged across the street. By that point, I figured we were more than 3/4 of the way done. Actually, we'd passed the four-mile mark somewhere before the train tracks.

Danny was really far ahead of my by this point. Something I need to work on is to run at a steady pace. I actually can do some of that but my pace is slow. I need to work on that before the Mud Run, but that's something I never would have known by running only at the gym.

I passed the elementary school and turned onto the second-to-last street.

Where the hell is Danny?

I turned on to Webb, which bends and turns into my mom's street. I wasn't on there for 20 seconds when he turned the corner way up ahead. Our original goal was to complete the run between 45-48 minutes. I figured we'd passed the 50-minute mark and that I wasn't going to get to that goal, but it was a good foundation nonetheless.

Okay, you're almost there. Finish!

I picked up the pace a little and saw Danny standing in front of my mom's house. I made it to within sight of the house itself. I stopped at the driveway where earlier I'd parked in front of.


I tried to cool down. I was tired and my leg started to hurt once I stopped running. I was drenched in sweat. I wanted to take off my shirt and my shoes and socks. But I also wanted to enjoy the moment and feel good about what I'd done. So I called home.

I did it, I panted into the phone.

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