December 24, 2009
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I take a step outside. The crisp air slaps me across the face like a cold, angry hand, pushing me back towards the door. I refuse. I take another step forward while pulling on my black cotton gloves and bouncing around in an attempt to get the blood to flow back to my extremities. I smile, squinting my watering eyes in the biting wind, my elements. I put my headphones on under my skull cap and turn my ipod on to some play list with a thudding beat, and as if by command, my legs begin to move with it, pushing off the ground in a similar rhythm, struggling to keep up with the downbeat of MC Hammer and Gwen Stefani.

I feel everything in the first few minutes – the clumsiness of my arms swinging haphazardly at my side, my shoelaces slowly coming undone, my joints twitching and adjusting with each impact. But with mile one down, one and a half, two, my body fades into the background, pumping and working still, maybe even harder than before, but becoming less and less important, a vehicle without feeling, comfortably numb. I love this part. The rhythm, the breathing, the mind freed to think about anything and everything beyond each stride. The road is my church. I repeat silent prayers to myself, thank you thank you thank you, words that sometimes make it to my lips but not often. I let my surroundings fade in the peripheral, the blue sky, the crunching gravel beneath my feet, the tree limbs intertwining like veins across the sky, seeming to pulse with my every breath. The world is alive. I am alive. It is beautiful.

Mile three, four, five. Fatigue sets in as I begin to struggle with the terrain. Each new curb to step up and down means breaking pace, inviting sloth and laziness, I push harder to deny myself this luxury. Pain now, searing as the lactic acid in my legs and arms burns my muscles, pressing me to stop, to walk. I scoff at my own thoughts and lean harder into the hill, moving my arms at a pace that undoubtedly looks ridiculous but is all that keeps me moving. One, two, three hills, up and up, victory. I smile and look behind me briefly, basking in my accomplishment while my legs sob beneath me. I push them harder. Just one more block, one more mile, okay two, wait, come on look how far we’ve come and you want to stop now? The sky turns to a bright pink and rapidly fades to black. I cough and pushing myself just one more mile, an even ten, I turn back into my driveway, triumphant.

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TheRecluse said...
Jun. 27, 2010 at 4:59 am


I am surprised that no one has commented yet! This is a really good piece of work...flows easily. I love to run myself, and can relate easily to this piece....


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