Tuesday, March 15, 2005


7 mi.1:08:30Home to Window on the Bay R/T9:47 min./mi.

Have you ever had a perfect running moment? One that's cinematic, sublime, dreamlike...

I have.

It was last night...

I thought my marathon dreams were in danger. I thought they were foundering on rocks of ice in a sea of Advil. I thought they'd be shattered by shinsplints.

The soreness in my left leg has gotten to a point where, a few times a day, I walk with a cute little limp. Awww. Darling... But yesterday I made up my mind. Throw out the fear. Press on.

So with a little trepidation, I stripped off my work clothes and slid on my shorts and a short sleeve shirt. It was 6 p.m. and the sun had nearly set when I stepped out of my door and onto the road down to the rec trail.

In the beginning of the run, I was carrying an extra weight with me: fear. I heard that if you run with an injury, you change your gait a little to make up for it. This, in turn, causes another injury somewhere else. Soon, the theory goes, you don't have a chance, your body starts falling apart everywhere and you'll be a mangled mess.

So, on my way out in the twilight, every twinge was a possible career-ender, every ache the beginning of the end. One side of my brain said to ignore it and run faster. That side won and I ran into the coming darkness.

Down the shore, past the aquarium, down Cannery Row. Breath in, breath out. All the while my left leg still hurt a little, and I wondered if I was favoring my right.

Nearing the halfway point of my run, I forgot about all of it. Between the breathing and the sweating and the ocean in the moonlight and the perfect night air and peace of the nearly deserted trail, I just didn't care about the pain anymore. It was just me, my lungs and the music in my ears.

My strides fell in rhythm with the song on my ipod and I couldn't much feel the ground beneath my feet. It was almost like I was flying. And it was then that I knew it for sure: I would run the marathon in April. And it would be wonderful.

Turning around, the boats in the harbor, the moon and the stars, the city lights on the hills all accompanied me as I cruised home. Last night, I set a new personal record for that route. But, more importantly, I killed doubt, hopefully for good.

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