I could hear myself breathing. I could hear the air whining in my throat. A hundred running soles in the dark could not deafen me to the sound. The back to last crew was about to catch me. I could hear that too.
Male voices -
"I got nothing."
OMFG. seriously? Those People were f*cking talking? About NOT talking?
My stomach churned a bit. I settled in on Harry Potters heels next to Ed. I’m sure my watch would have indicated some blistering pace, but I couldn’t look at it. Every ounce of my concentration was being put into not getting dropped.
At that moment, I wanted to die. Or vom. Or vom and THEN die.
So many choices.
Talking was not one of them.
David spoke up - "I do my best thinking when I can't breathe."
Everyone laughed. And I don’t know if it was the moment, or the endorphins, or the fact that I’m too clever for my own good, but the next thing I knew, I managed a sentence,
“Hypoxia: The birthplace of innovation and creativity.”
It was worth a hearty chuckle, and I let them pull away. No worries. They’ll be back.
I’ve gotten into a habit now of running intervals on Thursday mornings. I think everyone should try it. I credit hypoxia with this great idea.
Truly, I do.
Every time the Back to Last crew thunders past, I jump onto their energy and hang in as long as I can. It’s fun, and it gives me something to think about besides dying. Or vom. and only someone suffering from decreased O2 would think that this sounds fun.
It’s been four weeks since I started these hellish intervals, and every week it’s about the same.
Jump on, Hang in, Get dropped, Keep running. Repeat.
Today was particularly interesting though, because when Back to Last caught me on Hanover Street, instead of latching on and sliding off, like I normally do, I stuck to it. I guess part of it was that as we neared the end of the run I wasn’t worried about using all my energy.
So I ran. “Great Job, G. 2/3 of a mile to go.”
I couldn’t reply. There was no extra air. Fire burned in my lungs, I was being torched from the inside out. I couldn’t stop myself though, all I could do was just keep going. Anytime I felt myself fading, I sucked it up and pushed harder. I could feel Harry Potter at my side, and I matched him for as long as I could.
He pulled away. It's a familiar feeling though, so I wasn’t worried. His orange shirt served as a beacon. I was running on the edge of death for no reason other than it was a Thursday.
Who do I think I am?
This is insane.
Why am I doing this?
My inner voices were raging with every miserable breath and ultimately the battle came down to two important concepts:
I want to die.
-Doing battle with-
You can do anything for 2/3 of a mile.
And that’s where it ended. 2/3 of a mile later I found myself dry heaving at the end of a dark street in Richmond.
I didn’t die.
At the end of the run, as the spots faded from my vision, I flashed my smile at Harry and Ed. I was high. Severely high. And PROUD of myself. It’s probably a good thing that I had to get home right away. No one needs to witness that much “high” in one runner on any given day. It should also be noted that people this high have impaired judgement.
Running with Those People I Don’t Know, showing up, and bringing it every week is really starting to pay dividends. It's like therapy for my MOJO. It feels good to work that hard.
I was in the thick of the pack today. I learned someone’s name this morning. That felt good too.
Yep. Huge dividends.
Pretty soon I’ll know Those People I Don’t Know.
~ savor the run ~