Sunday, January 02, 2005

Prospero, eat your heart out

11 mi.2:03:42 hrs.Downtown PG <-> Lovers <-> Asilomar <-> Forest Hill11:15 mins./mi.

Despite the rain, I donned a longsleeve shirt, a vest and my ever-present tights and headed out into the raging tempest to attempt an 11-mile run.

Eleven miles is a long way to run. I can't think of many reasons that anyone would have to run 11 miles in our 21st century world. There are times during the run that you get worried that your legs will never be able to do anything else but run. The thing about running for more than two hours is that you can go through several different waves of pain.

First, it was the tendinitis in my feet. That went away at mile four.

Then, at mile six, there was the weird little twinge in my left Achilles tendon. I don't know what it was. I don't want to know what it was. Al I know is that it went away a minute later.

Then, my hips started to ache. It was a creeky sort of feeling, the kind you get when you look at an arthritic dog or cat. It felt like my hips were hinges that don't have enough oil. Squeak Squeak Squeak. Around Mile 9, my knees started to do a pretty clever imitation of my hips. It was like I was the rusty Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. (Which, by the way, is one of the most terrifying movies ever made.)

But I never got hot, at least. That was thanks to the rain. I spent most of the run cold and wet. But that's okay. Beacause running in the rain makes me feel tough. The people looked down on me from their SUV's as I tossed my rain-soaked hair, drops of dew flying in my wake.

"Look at that large man running in the rain," I can almost hear them say as they pilot their Hummers and Escalades down Oceanview Boulevard. "Isn't he tough? Isn't he dedicated? Isn't he cold?"

"No," says the skeptic from the driver's seat. "He's just crazy."

Maybe I am crazy. But, after I retreated to the warmth of my apartment and peeled off my vest, I was greeted with a sight that made everything worthwhile. There, staining my white shirt, diluted by rain, was an orange watercolor sunburst of blood originating from my left nipple.

It was my red badge. Of what? I'm not quite sure.

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