August 30, 2013

Don't Waste Good Time

Don't waste good time.

Probably the best training advice I've ever heard.

I'm also partial to the following exchange, from the same piece: 
Q: What if I get tired?
A: You will get tired, I can guarantee it. IT WILL PASS. Trust me.
Q: How many miles should I run?
A: I don't know, but more than you've been doing.

But I digress.

It's 100 degrees but fast guys are willing to gut out a six mile top-end aerobic effort, sucking wind, pouring sweat, accumulating lactate. Probably no one would do it alone; but no one is willing to be the guy that doesn't show.

Peer pressure and half-stepping but the conversation doesn't drop nor does the pace. A military guy leading the new-to-town ROTC kids on a jog yells Shit! as we surprise-pass him. Someone waves a hamburger at us. Air conditioning and water.

Finished, exhilarated. It's not a "long run" day and in fact, that right there was just a tempo run (if anyone can agree what the hell that is). I'm pretty sure Daniels' Running Formula has those runs on separate days... But there's more in the tank, so...

Don't waste good time.

Two hours later and I've lost more water than I could have ever imagined holding. Dream of winter until it comes then dream of this. Either works, though. Anytime is good time when your legs say so.

(From the same site at the top of the post, here are some Bill Rodgers training logs. Just unfathomable. Not that these have anything to do with the rest of the post, they're just too cool not to share.)

August 28, 2013


Ankle was crunchy today, energy a bit off.

Funny how 24 hours does that.

But, whatever.

Lethargy hits and holds on; you take a nap and eat some fruit and get out the door anyway. Run until you feel good. Run until the crunch is gone and the lethargy dissipates. Find the high and taste it just a little; don't gorge. Stop when you don't want to, when you could keep going.

Throw a few max effort squats on top of tired legs, shake them out, fuck around with kiddie weights a bit.

I like days like this. Days when you're working exhausted fibers and tendons, torched from the previous day's scalding effort, moving on to that next layer, and then the next. Hard days get all the credit; easy days are thought of exclusively in terms of recovery, which I think is a mistake. The idea isn't merely to recover; it's to provide additional stimulus while recovering.

Maybe there's nothing glamorous about what invariably feels like slow, labored shuffling, endlessly piled before and after intermittent bouts of exhilaration and intensity; but it's an endlessly satisfying routine nonetheless, a crucible of perpetual forward motion, because really, what the hell else is there?

August 26, 2013


Black jeans have specific circumstances to which they are best suited and I don't think it's controversial to say that Kansas summers are not those circumstances and someone did tell me that I could could probably wear looser jeans and maybe that would help but I don't know I just feel basically lost in pants that aren't certifiably emo and so if I have to be miserable a little when I walk downtown to get (hot) coffee then that's what has to happen.

Everything on the way is the work of a left handed god drawing with a grease pencil.

I drank the coffee though and ate some grapes later and I ran for two hours because VOLUME and I'm enjoying it so much I sort of don't want to taper, or peak, or whatever, don't want to stop piling on fitness and actually examine what they hell I've got.

The possibilities are endless but the reality is just that, singular, the one thing that does happen and thus the thing that will forever be the thing that did happen. Unless, wormholes and shit.

And it's all good. Really.

I know I sort of went on this whole thing about totally breaking the course record and ARGH COMPETITION. I thought I needed a goal to drag my ass out the door everyday, a carrot to chase because seriously, I fucking love vegetables.

So I don't know how this groove happened or how long it will last but I do know that the last few weeks I haven't been training to race but rather - if I may steal the perpetual answer of a fast guy I run with sometimes when asked what he's training for - training for life. Not, like, training because I want legs that fit in girl's jeans, or a resting HR in the low 40s, or even because there is some arbitrary distance I want to cover in some arbitrary time.

No, I'm running basically 2+ hours a day because that, that right there, right then, those steps, those moments, those car horns and NICE SHORTS! WOOOOOO, those brick sidewalks with the grass patches and the dog that barks and everything, everything...

But seriously though, I'm still going to crush that race.

Just, maybe, I'll be a little more chill about it.

August 25, 2013

Clicking and Cruising

When it all clicks and you're just cruising. I was going to use words but this is adequate to the task, I think.

August 24, 2013


I am a very poor advocate for running.

I have not, to my knowledge, attempted to talk anyone into trying it. Certainly, I have never suggested that anyone run more than they enjoy, that they, in other words, consciously train. Nor have I suggested that they seek out race goals. Doing a 5K does not make you more fit than the person who trains similarly, and yet does not race. And although I love stupid-long distances myself, a marathoner or ultrarunner is no "better" a runner, athlete, or person, for having done earned the title.

I trot along idly every day because it is gratifying to me. It imbues my days with meaning. I train beyond that because I am a competitive person and the answer to my "why?" must invariably be to do more, faster, better. But mostly I do it to visit that headspace which I have found no other path to. I do not pretend that there is cosmic significance to this space; and yet I acknowledge that there can hardly be anything more significant than sustained bliss, available on demand.

But I must acknowledge that there are people for whom this bliss is missing, for whom running is an exercise in self-flagellation. I must acknowledge the truth of their sentiment, and the viability of it. When they tell me that they hate running, that it does nothing for them, that they'd rather lift weights, do yoga, garden, whatever, I simply say that it's cool, because it is.

I don't care about running except as a means to multiple ends that I value. I care about goals, and the pursuit thereof. I care about fitness, and health. I care about bliss, happiness, peace and sanity. I care about those things and running is the tool that provides me with them.

But don't use a tool that doesn't work for you. If it sucks, it sucks. If you hate it, you hate it. I'm not going to tell you you're wrong, or that you should persist anyway. Because you shouldn't. Really.

Is that poor advocacy? I said so at the beginning of this, but I really think it's simply honest advocacy. I'm not selling anything, and I have no reason to bullshit.

August 22, 2013


I had initially planned to peak my marathon volume at 70 or so miles, which would be wholly reasonable and probably more than sufficient for my goals and ability. But I rather enjoy shuffling along - though not at the total expense of quality work - so I've allowed my totals these last two weeks to tip just over 100 miles. Why? Because it feels good. Mostly.

Morning begins with ginger steps out of bed, my ankles and lateral metatarsal heads complaining. I shuffle about and stumble my way through the morning, pre coffee. Once I am able to imbibe that magic elixir things improve. Sometimes I will have an apple but usually I'm just not hungry yet, so I drift ahead in a slightly less than fully fueled state, letting the current carry me.

There are slight hills and two flights of stairs and I walk up them far too slowly because my calves are tight. Someone at the office comments on my lax staircase shuffle and my frequent race t-shirts; Shouldn't I be springing up the stairs, two at a time, like some sort of bipedal gazelle?  I answer that I can scarcely hurdle the curb outside before nearly tripping over a lump in the carpet.

I lower myself into my chair, bracing, exhaling, making and sipping more coffee, listening to every record I never had time for previously. My musical education is expanding rapidly and so are my affections. I think that my tastes are better suited to a person of 35 rather than 25, that I have been well suited to middle age since I was 15, and that, when I am there, I will find comfort in being expected to be how I've always been anyway. I plot my future dominance of the local master's racing scene. (I'm really not joking about that. I'm the only 25-year-old I know who is already planning his 40+ racing.)

I do some work and intermittently read running blogs. A lot of people train more and are faster and that's cool. You always achieve more when you're chasing ghosts. I do some more work and check Let's Run and everyone is either slow and should give up or on PEDs and should commit seppuku. Malmo deletes everything.

There are more articles and more coffee and then home. I fall asleep but don't mean to and it's time to go. I put on my shorts and shirt which are both still vaguely damp from yesterday but it's whatever and I'm in the middle of laundry which I would have finished but I fell asleep.

My ankles protest and so does the tissue under the fronts of my knees and this does not dissuade me in any way from my present course nor does it create doubt for my 40+ ambitions. It is encouraging, rather, since tired tissue will soon become stronger tissue; and anyway, it feels good 3 miles later, at which point I meet with several other guys to run a hard 6. It is low 90s and 50% humidity and so "hard" is not so fast as it might be otherwise but the sweat and the effort is real and so too is the SUV that nearly hits me. She seems more traumatized by it than me though and really it wasn't that close; I'd have been fine.

I run 4 more on the way home and the soreness and tightness and anything at all like negativity is flushed from me. It will be back at approximately 5:30 AM tomorrow morning and I will welcome it, not because it matters, but because it does anyway.

August 19, 2013


I don't like wearing hats in either the literal or figurative sense.

My hair looks stupid in the former scenario and I find that the rest of me looks stupid in the latter.

Still, labels are things, like them or not, and I am, I suppose, the guy who runs, if not outright, by my own admission, "a runner". I prefer to think of myself as someone with more than a passing interest in commas; and also, an abnormal degree of affection for semicolons. But there is not so large a social presence for those sorts, so runner is what I am, I guess, since the barista hat is collecting dust in the corner of my room.

But being that I run a lot and talk about running and write about it here and even, sometimes, wear t-shirts that promote races I have completed, people cannot be blamed for assuming that I am indeed a runner. This is not so bad, since "runner" is a thing we have decided to value, more than other things one could be; and given my appearance, there are precious few others that come to mind: anorexic; drug addict; or perhaps even a cyclist - although my leg hair to tights ratio is way off for that designation.

Really, though, I think of myself as an endorphin chaser, an exercise dork with an overactive dopamine system that feasts on the metabolites of sustained effort. It is running because running is relatively inexpensive and the ideal of "natural movement", fantasy though it largely is, appeals to me on a very basic level. In short, fancy bikes are expensive and the seats hurt my ass and I prefer to stand. And I basically hate swimming, even if my physical dimensions probably are better suited to it than running.

So it's running, except when it's not, because I stepped on a fucking rock after 5 miles, and I kind of have to try to run fast tomorrow, so I stopped after that, then whisked myself to the gym, and spun two hours away on an elliptical, smiling for all of the boredom a normal and sane person would experience.

But normal and sane are not labels that have ever been bestowed upon me.

This was a "rest day" (7 planned miles) but rest is not so much a priority when you're only creating the person you want to be tomorrow and more importantly the person you are in that moment because really, have you ever lived a moment in tomorrow?

August 15, 2013

Jogging On

You can measure a workout in minutes, miles, kilometers, blisters, toenails lost, etc.

Today I was yelled at twice and honked at once.

A homeless guy told me to Jog on, man.

I did, though some part of me wanted to correct him that - ahem - Sir, six minute pace is not jogging.

But then I remembered a Running Times article about a 40 year old marathoner who does all of his 90 miles a week at 6 minute pace, and thought I should probably just jog on, man, saying nothing.

Silver sky, cool air, a taste of rain and fall and it tasted good.

6 miles hard, 6 easy.

Running, jogging, trotting, bipedaling, pedestrianing, making up words, moving, cruising. It all felt good and it is all feeling good, every day, every run, building and testifying to the best fitness I've ever known, for whatever that ends up being worth.

Is it September 14 yet?

I've wanted to have done quite a few races before. But I've never so giddily awaited the act of running one, the minutes and miles spent bleeding out the sum of your accrued fitness, because I've never had fitness like this before. There is a lot to give but - and here, as they say, is the rub - even more to take.

< 3:33:20

August 13, 2013


One of the best things about my present occupation is that it rectifies a long held grievance of mine, that I would listen to more music, really, if only I had time to do so; by which I meant, if only I had more half-occupied time to fill with another activity. Well, now I've got 8-10 hours a day of such activity, thus allowing me ample time to listen to entire albums - catalogues, even - that seemed forever on the "I'll get around to it" list.

This is a wholly positive development, though some people are inclined to wonder how I can focus - because indeed focus is of great importance to proofreading - while listening to what must sound to them like desperate and anguished shouting, all of it barely coherent; which, given the content, is perhaps preferred.

I should note here that, although you have likely inferred as much already, I do wear headphones, as does everyone else in the department, most of whom also listen to something. But, being inquisitive sorts, we are inclined to inquire as to the listening preferences of our compatriots; and, being judgmental sorts (What sort of person, do you imagine, is attracted to a job with the singular task of correcting the mistakes of others?), are inclined to comment that that, that, is barely, if at all, music; and surely, if indeed it does qualify by some technicality, it is the most vile and horrid example of the art yet known, such that the very term "art" is called into question.

If it is possible to convey such a message in good humor and with a complete lack of malice, that is what takes place. Everyone finds everyone else's taste too old, too chaste, too loud, too violent, too twangy, too poppy, too saccharin, too safe, too plain, too stale, too something. That being the case, there is common ground; for if everyone is different, then we all share that, at least.

Also, we live in a world where testicle eating fish are a thing. Really. If we can't unite against such an enemy, then truly, all hope is lost.

Deus Ex Scientia

Writing specifically about my job is of course forbidden to a degree, which ought to come as no surprise, given that we - and thus I - deal entirely in as yet unpublished material. It is not the sort of thing that must be spoiler tagged or that will inspire a line of would be readers to congregate outside of a bookstore - provided such things still exist - for the better part of a day and night, but it is, nonetheless, a rule to which I have consented, having read and signed documentation declaring that, in exchange for employment and regular monetary compensation, I agree to follow certain rules, one of which being that I will not disclose information about our customers, or the contents of their publications.

Respecting that I will ask, not for comments in the box below, but merely for an internal discussion to such an extent as you are satisfied with, on the notion of sacrifice, the degree of consent necessary for such an act to be called such, if any at all; and further, for whom or what a sacrifice is made, to what god, what ideal, what principle, what progress, what end, be it religious or scientific in nature; and indeed, if there is any relevant difference between the two, regarding this.

In short, may one individual or a collection thereof justly call a thing a sacrifice - and further, may they justly carry out the act itself, by any name? - when it is not directly of themselves, and is of no harm by any effective means to themselves? If they may, then on what authority do they act, if not from consent by the party to be harmed?

August 11, 2013


Feeling fine today, really, if a bit lacking for things to do, I set off to cover a reasonable amount of ground at a very slow pace, leaving my tendons and muscles decidedly unchallenged, but perhaps stimulating my cardiovascular system just so.

It was the sort of day that people would call beautiful if they were out for a picnic rather than a run, mid 80s, humid. All the more reason to slow down just so, so I did.

You see people when you're out running and so I did. There were kids on the corner who could not have been 18, pink hair, irregular bangs, smoking. Walking by them was a woman of about 60, by appearance, so perhaps 40, with bleached out hair, and dangerous looking heels, drinking something from a hot Starbucks cup using a straw.

The sky was a blue slate, uniformly empty, and there were others running under it. I noticed typically a lack of medial glute strength, prompting excessive side to side action in their stride, a rather inefficient motion.

Trotting along, contact, lift, forward, forward, breath controlled and wave to the dog on the leash.

August 10, 2013

Bonk Run

Tonight was the hardest effort of my marathon training cycle, devised to simulate running like hell for the last - rather than the first - half of the race. That's the thing about marathons; on a taper, the pace feels easy - at first. So running an easy long run, well rested and at an easy pace, wouldn't really offer specific preparation. Nor would it be exciting, frankly, considering I'm often oddly enthusiastic about immolating myself with violent workouts. So, this is what I did instead.


Ran: 14 miles

Deadlifted: 2x5 @ 225 lbs (And a bunch of vanity lifts too, but that's not terribly relevant)

Flipped: 135 lb tractor tire, 2x20

Ate: A larabar and an apple


Coffee: Yes please

Breakfast: Nope

Hungry: Yes

Lunch: An apple and some berries

Hungry: Still

Bonked: As hell

Legs: Sore already

Ran: 15 trail miles, at goal marathon pace, taking only 8 oz of heed as fuel (I also had a bite of watermelon, and four grapes, if we're being picky)

Stoked: Very

Right now

My target marathon is a month out, and I could scarcely feel more confident. My volume is higher than it's ever been, and yet my strength is up across the board. Most importantly, I'm hitting some quality workouts - even insane workouts, like the one above - and nailing target paces every time.

But we'll see. They don't give awards for doing the best training, after all.

Coming in on Saturday

I'm writing this post at work.

Don't tell anyone.

The building is quiet and I am something like productive - apart from this dalliance, of course. It's just me and my slinky, which, oh, I guess I haven't mentioned that I keep a slinky at my desk. I do. It's cool.

August 9, 2013

What Dreams May Come

I spend a lot of time wondering what it is that people care about. It's an odd thing to wonder, maybe, what dreams are behind their eyes; and it's certainly not something you can ask about.

"Excuse me. I couldn't help but notice you're choosing a fuji apple. A fine choice. But I wonder, when you take your food home with you tonight, what will you do? Is their a spark of passion left in you, or is it doused? Do you whittle away the hours until the next day, merely to find a new piece of timber to carve into nothing? Do you care, really, about all of this, or even any of it?"

I wonder about these things because I want very much for them to answer in the affirmative. I want there to be a reason, something more to their lives than the perpetuity of mere existence. 

Not that there is anything wrong with survival. For the vast majority of history, humans and other creatures have been suitably challenged by that task, a challenge that continues well into the modern world, in many areas.

But today I sat behind a desk and the greatest and most momentous challenge I faced was a mislabeled figure caption, a chart titled "Fig. 12" when it was in fact "Fig. 11." I looked around and saw the same. I went to the grocery store and yes, bought a fuji apple, some iced tea, and a larabar. The man in line in front of me had three boxes of fish sticks, and 36 bottles of Pepsi. (This isn't me begrudging him his low quality food choices, either for their deleterious effects on the environment or his health. We were both buying luxury goods that we enjoy; our motivations merely differ.)

I want there to be more than that, for all of us, because it is desperately easy to argue in favor of the void, that there is nothing but an omnipresent absence, a wholly encompassing contradiction. It is easy to tear down, harder to build up. 

"Oh, you're really into running? Nice that your first world existence gives you the free time to train at your leisure, and the finances to replace however many calories you might recreationally burn. But please, continue with your artificial and contrived challenges, and let whatever success you enjoy inflate your ego, like you've done something more than get moderately fast and thin, like those things matter."

It's easy for me to write that paragraph, to say that those things don't matter, in the grand scheme. But what does that accomplish? Nothing. And it also operates under a rather dubious assumption that there is something like a grand scheme, like there is an objective scale on which we can judge pursuits as more and less worthwhile. 

Maybe the only scale that renders meaningful readings is internal. Maybe those things matter because they feel like they do, and there's no need for deeper introspection. 


Maybe, but I still feel like I need to ask, not "What is the meaning of life?", but rather, "What is the meaning of yours, and of mine?"; and to find that meaning where I find it, in Star Wars comic books, distance running, and reckless fruit consumption; and to indulge in those things guiltlessly; and to hope that behind the eyes of the man buying fishsticks is the knowledge of a passion and a meaning that he could not tell me of if I asked, such are its depths. 

August 8, 2013

Do Drugs

LSD, as a running term, was invented (probably) and popularized (certainly) by Joe Henderson is his 1969 book, titled Long Slow Distance: The Humane Way to Train. (You can read the entire thing on Mr. Henderson's website, free of charge.)

This was a noteworthy salvo in the war between volume and intensity, a strike against the then popular model of near daily interval training for distance runners, fired before science could explain the physiological benefits of running sub-maximally, before "mitochondria", "capillaries", and "slow twitch" became common parlance in running circles.

Thus it is no surprise that Henderson does not deal in scientific terminology. In fact, his argument is basically this: Work with your body, rather than against it. Training must be consistent to be effective; and to that end, it should be enjoyable and sustainable, both from a physical and psychological standpoint. To quote Lydiard, "Train, don't strain."

"LSD" was a catchy acronym for this philosophy, although "slow" was not a wholly accurate description of what Henderson did and advocated (inasmuch as he advocated for anything). There were plenty of fast miles to be logged by LSDs disciples, simply not at the expense of an immense volume of steady miles, a necessary precondition to holding any kind of fast pace for any meaningful distance.

What the acronym did convey was the sense of "high" that runners enjoy at the best of times, and seek at all other times. Henderson argued that you could benefit from chasing that high, rather than chasing the rabbit, that productivity and pleasure need not be mutually exclusive.

The thing is, if you don't know this already, you probably haven't read this far. If you have made it, you still aren't convinced that cruising along for an hour or two, sitting just below your lactate threshold, could be pleasant - indeed, could be fucking euphoric. And if you know, you know. You're nodding although no words manage to convey even a fraction of the totality and depth of the sensation.

August 7, 2013

Not My Best Event

My gym is considering sponsoring an Arnold Classic style 5K, a "Pump and Run". Essentially, you bench a certain percentage of your body weight (based on your age and gender), and then run a 5K. The 5K is what it is, but for every rep you get on the bench (up to a maximum of 30 reps), 30 seconds are subtracted from your time.

Today, I, uh, practiced, in order to see just how humiliated I would be, should I attempt such a race/public shaming.

Since I am a young male, I would have to bench 100% of my body weight, which is presently 140 lbs. I managed 5 reps before my arms quivered and I racked it. Sadly, my fellow gym goers, who see me far too often, were quite surprised I managed that many. They confessed anticipating a decapitation by barbell.

While it's always pleasant to avoid dropping a relatively large amount of weight on one's neck, that's not quite a large enough victory to make this (as yet hypothetical) race sufficiently tempting.

If only I developed a "thyroid condition"...

The Workout That Was About Everything Else

Today while running I thought about strawberries a little and honeydew quite a bit which is odd because usually I don't care for it all that much, tending instead to prefer crisp fruit to soft, apples to oranges, if you will, or even if you won't.

I decided after the 8th repeat that I was going to indulge this odd craving and also drink water, a bit of water, not too much but probably more than usual, since it was hot, oh so very hot, the noxious blend of obscene midwestern heat and humidity that inspires you to forget you're sweating because the air feels like it's moist enough for everyone until you cross your arbitrarily marked finish line to the bemused silence of the imagined audience that really should be more impressed because it's my imagination, right, but hey at least they have high standards. 

I thought about cadence and arm carriage and pace and shoes and that two of those things at least can be improved without spending money, and probably help a lot more anyway. 

There was a child, a very young one but I'm terrible at guessing ages, walking with his parents, who would sprint after me every time I passed. He would maybe make it 20 meters or so and then he would sit and catch his breath and after a little while he took to waiting for me to come back around so that he would be fully rested. His parents tried to get him to stop but I said it was cool because kids should be fucking hyper.

He and I were the only ones there that seemed to have the slightest inclination for running, which is not to say that the track was empty, as it was in fact quite full, merely of walkers, and not one single other runner. I thought they looked miserable and they thought I looked miserable and should probably put on some pants. I thought that not wearing real pants in public was way better than wearing waist high jeans with a CD player clipped to the belt, which, I mean, still? 

But it's all good. Deity of choice bless you, middle and old aged track walkers. We will never understand each other but we nonetheless have an understanding. We're just two undulates bipedaling around the safari, trying not to get eaten by a lion, or something like that. 

But really, if I could pick, I would totally be a mountain goat. 

August 5, 2013

I Read Philosophy Stuff Today. Can You Tell?

Perfection is the enemy of the good, too often. We find ourselves focused on shortcomings, on what could have been or should have been, if things had only been just so, just this little bit different in this one tiny way, then, then there would be utopia.

This is an idea with roots in many philosophies, but this specific phrasing invokes Voltaire, noted French enlightenment thinker, and purported drinker of immense quantities of coffee. Cool guy, probably.

But, you think, if I aim for perfection, then I will be at least good, if not a little better. If I aim merely for good, and fall short, then what? Aim for the moon, land amongst the stars, right?

Astrological falsehoods aside, no, typically that's not how it works. People who aim for "perfect", when they perceive that they have failed, tend to embellish that failure, to indulge in it fully and wholly. Often, having "failed", they quit altogether, abandoning their pursuit for something else, or worse, nothing at all.

This is, of course, counterproductive. Perfection, such as it is, is a destination, a place at the end of a long and usually impossible journey. You can never be there without taking the necessary steps to arrive, and so the focus should be on those steps, on that progress. Be present in what you do every day, do it well, do it consistently, do it consistently well. That is the ideal.

In work, and in running, this is a valuable notion to internalize. And I try and do so. But of course, it's axiomatically true that, if perfection is the enemy of the good, then one ought not be perfect in avoiding perfection, or at least the pursuit thereof, lest they become too complacent. Right? Right. Maybe.

So... I don't know. Voltaire was not a life coach and certainly not a running coach. He wrote a lot of things and drank a lot of coffee and wore a giant fucking powdered wig, because why not, I guess, but he did not run fast, probably not even at all.

Still, I think it is relevant. Do your best and give approximately zero shits about the gap between "best" and "perfect". Do that and good gets to be pretty damn good.

If I got a yearbook for being not quite middle aged but not really young anymore either that would probably be my quote. That or "Potatoes!"

August 3, 2013

Chasing Uncertain Outcomes

I ran a race last night, which tells you already that it was not typical, inasmuch as races are usually held in the morning, in the cradle of the dawn's coolness, eyes still tasting sleep, mind murky, legs uncertain of the task at hand.

But that's not so different, really, apart from the difference in time, which is quite measurably different, and the dark, which adds an extra element that you think could gravely injure you if things go wrong, which you hope they do not, but the thin stream of light bounces as the lamp does on your head, and the rocks are slick and the ground is muddy and your feet and mind each lack purchase.

It was also a 10K, which requires a degree of turnover I don't have on my best days, which this night wasn't too far from, really, but still, I got fourth, with which I was pleased.

Fitness is progressing nicely and that, that is what I care about. That marathon on September 14 is getting rather close, close enough that fitness can't be well and truly built so much as honed, close enough that the anxiety of "have I done enough?" can no longer be answered with "well then I'll simply do more".

Close. Close and I can feel the pace, the turnover, the dull, omnicorporeal pain of holding that pace at mile 22, 23, only a 5K to go but fuck, fuck it hurts, and fuck it's close. Just finish. Just slow down and no one would know, would ever know. No one would blame you. Back off and inhale and feel that air. It is September and it is lovely, isn't it? This is a long run and there will be more, more in the future, always in the future. You can hurt then but feel good now, because now is all you ever feel.

There will be bliss and pain and doubts and euphoria and I don't know how I will answer that above when everything screams that this is stupid, this doesn't matter, never again, and why even now? I would like to tell you something about running like hell or pain only hurting and what the hell this is what I signed up for, what I love, fucking push the pace until everything screams and feast on the acid.

I would like to pretend that I will not hurt and that if I do I will not slow but I can't because I don't know, can't know, can't know until I know.

And that sensation is the best of all possible sensations. Chasing ghosts into a maelstrom of uncertainty, a void from which will emerge the perfect truth of what occurred on the dirt that morning.

Can't wait.