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.