I see runners everywhere now the way the way those longing for a child must see babies everywhere. I'm so in my own head with this race that I assume everyone out for a quick jog is in the midst of a long grueling training run.
Training is selfish. On Sunday, I was on the couch in my silk kimono robe, ice packs on both my knees, sipping my overpriced probiotic seltzer while taking in an obscure little arthouse film called "Clueless". Nick would occasionally bring me glasses of water or Ibuprofen unbidden like I'd just had surgery and not say, willingly subjected myself to excessive physical exertion. He brought me dinner on a little wooden cutting board and I ate it in that very spot. Tell me that is not some princess bullshit.
Hours earlier, he had picked up me up from a busy intersection after I called him, my voice small from exhaustion, and asked for a ride home after hours of running. I slid the passenger seat all the way back in its tracking so I could extend my legs straight onto the dash (this was for sake of my aching knees, and not just to be bratty) and asked to be taken through the McDonald's drive-thru where I received a small "orange drink" for which Nick paid. (Who carries cash on a run?) I think the last time I consumed McDonald's orange drink was at soccer camp in 1995. However, in the last two miles of my run, the facts of my dehydration, depleted electrolytes, and plummeting blood sugar produced in my mind's eye a paper cup of syrupy cold orange drink, haloed in light.
By the time my running app told me I'd reached mile 15, I wanted nothing more than to be backstroking in said orange drink, or better yet, to have been transubstantiated into the holy liquid itself. To have no memory, to have always been Hi-C.
During the last mile of my run, I got pretty negative. "You're miserable at mile SIXTEEN and you have to run TEN MORE THAN THAT on race day? You're cooked, pal. Never gonna happen." There is a lot of time to think when you're out for hours by yourself with no distractions with which to comfort yourself. Even music and podcasts slur into unrecognizable fuzz if you crawl deep enough into your own black psyche. It doesn't take much to sink into darkness especially if you're already gloomy like moi and if your left and right hips are having a dumb conversation with each other that goes "ow" "ow" "OW" "ow".
I am still not sure why I am doing this except that normal life doesn't serve up many structured opportunities to feel superhuman, that my fat, bitter 22-year-old self once deemed it impossible, and that I will be able to screech at the robot nurses changing my diaper when I'm 90 that hey I ran a goddamn marathon once.