About a mile into my run tonight, I started feeling a pain at the top of my right leg.
Actually, that’s not right. At first, it just felt tight. That turned to a pain, and got sharper and sharper by the minute.
It was warm tonight, warmer than any day I had run on since I was in the Army, I guess. I didn’t have any water with me, so I detoured towards my house to get a drink before continuing.
And as it turned out, that was all for the day. I came back outside after getting the drink and started off down the street again, but with that stop whatever muscle it was in my groin turned from annoyed to pissed. I hobbled back to the house, threw a minor tantrum and grabbed the frozen peas for an uncomfortable icing session.
* * *
I took that picture tonight, after my fit. I sat on the landing of the stairway up to the second floor, staring at my shoes. Thinking.
Actually, not thinking. Listening to the voice, the one that wonders what the hell a fat 45-year-old is doing trying to run 13.1 miles.
And on days like these, I don’t have an answer to that question.
There are lots of reasons why running is a good idea for me — to be less fat, to be less susceptible to the heart issues my family has experienced, to spend time with friends, to do something I’ve come to enjoy since I started in October — but on the bad days, I don’t have a response to the voice when it says “You can’t do it.”
And what can I say? I don’t know if I can do it. I haven’t run thirteen miles. Most of the time it doesn’t seem terribly long, but on days like today it seems like an insurmountable number. Thirteen miles. I’ve managed to get past seven miles twice — with some walk breaks — most recently last Saturday. This weekend, with the help of my coaching staff, I’ll try to get to eight. And while I probably won’t be in the same frame of mind then, at the moment, even eight seems like an impossible distance.
I know — runners have bad days. I usually can shrug off a bad run, but once in a while, I spend too much time listening to that voice. And I find myself staring at my shoes while I sit on the stairs.
I can deal with a pulled muscle. But I look at the calendar and see that I have a 10K in about two and a half weeks and a half-marathon in just over six. I don’t have time for doubts. I shouldn’t listen to the voice.
But I’m not sure how to make it go away.