You hated runs. During the school when you got first introduced to it, and after that. You just could not keep up with the pace and everyone was faster than you. Even when you started taking work-outs seriously, you never included runs. It is just a constant rushing and hard breathing.
Yet, here you are. Walking toward the river. Holding a big hot paper cup of coffee. Feeling how it warms you and focuses your brain on the big thing you are about to embark on.
It is already dark. The bridge is shining in bright white lights — a stark contrast to black waters underneath. You stand there, thinking, if you should go for it. After a whole day locked-up in the front of the laptop, a fresh air feels nice. Wind cools your overheated and over-digitized brain. Tram passes nearby, with few passengers inside, some watching over your lazy warm-up attempt. Beat is pumping in your headphones. Coffee shots are hitting just right — with short, but nasty waves of excitements. Kid Cudi is sending you to the space, as your body is getting warmer. Yeah, let’s do it.
So it starts.
You are running. At a slow pace. Feels weird. Uncomfortable. Body does not understand what is happening and wants to stop. Brain is questioning your seriousness about all this and making bets on how long it will take before you give up. Your breathing is not normal. You are also disoriented as things get a bit faster and it’s been a very long time since your running classes in high school. You literally feel the weight of your body — it’s heavy, it’s massive, it’s full of junk food. You literally feel the weight of your each step — right, left, right, left, right, left. Your arms are cold. Your legs are cold. They do not understand what you doing. What are these strange movements?
And these runners. They look so professional, they run so fast and their bodies move so purposefully, every movement is on point. Comparing to them, you look like a running bag of potatoes. And they see you. They see that you are not professional, you are not even an amateur, you have never run before, you are a fake who is trying to be like them. Everything in your movements and looks give up your true nature. They see right through you, and no hat, no hoodie and no darkness can protect you from their eyes. They see you. And you are naked. You are not a runner, whatever you think of yourself. You will not last, you are already barely breathing.
And yet, you keep running.
And you keep running.
You feel like you are running too slow. Everyone is outrunning you. At least five runners came and beat you. You wonder if you are moving faster than walking people. But you cannot run faster. As soon as you add up the tempo, you will expire like an outdated dark banana that was left in the fridge for too long. You barely holding your lungs and trying to control your breath. Trying to preserve whatever is left in your inner powers. Not sure if anything left inside, but you are preserving every tiny bit of it. Is this how this run going to be? But you have no time for this. No time for thinking and analysis and all of that crap, because right now you are doing one thing and one thing only — trying to preserve yourself. Preserve yourself to keep running. You have no powers to worry about anything else.
So you keep running.
And you still running.
Ah, this is what you were afraid of. Left starts hurting. Left side of abdomen hurts now too. Every step on left leg sends hurting signal to your brain. You are so tired, that feel of pain comes a bit delayed. You wonder, how you gonna last like this. Every muscle — if there are any — in the left leg is stretched, and every movement stretch them more. No muscles, only a bone. You are sweating too and drops cover you eyes. Breathing getting painful. Legs and lungs are about to quit on you.
But you keep running. You are tired so much that you have no powers to resist what physics do to your body. You just give into these forces and accept them. Too focused on one thing — surviving every second. So you just slow your tempo, make deep and calm breath-ins, switch weight from one leg to another and relax left leg.
Just little tweaks.
So can you keep running.
It seems this is it. You keep looking at the bridge ahead, where the finish is. Trying to zoom-in the finish line, so it gets closer. Surprisingly, you are running faster than at the beginning. And it’s definitely not you doing this. It is your brain, who is tired to keep up with your fake runner shit and decided to speed you up to the finish line, so your body gets some resources preserved and stops alarming the neural system.
But you, the conscious you, who is not your self-preservation system, but an “I” of you, a meta-I of your consciousness if you will — you know that this makes things worse. Your mind is not here, but somewhere ahead on the finish line, taking so badly wanted break. It makes your brain to pay less attention to the body, legs, arms, breath — you are running faster naturally, but at maximum capacity, which will end soon. You feel it.
You also realize that you no longer feel social pressure. You no longer feel the weight of your thoughts, and you lost a feeling of being heavy. These things left somewhere within first 10 minutes of the run. Brain no longer joking on you and questioning your seriousness — it knows that you are damn serious. So you decide to get things back under control: you slow down, relief your breath, relax your legs, put down your shoulders, keep your chin up. Despite what the brain says, you are slowing down and preserving energy. You know you will need it later. You get yourself in check and focused — on running.
So you can keep running.
You are running. You are focused. Not waiting for the finish. Just running and not expecting any rewards. Body feels warmer than before. Blood is rushing to legs and arms and your face is warming up. Breath is stable, leg feels better, and brain and thoughts finally submit to your control. You realize that reward is not finish line. Reward is a run. It is your control over your time, over your direction, your effort, your energy and your thoughts.
You look back at all this distance that you already covered by now. Damn, this is really what you, really you and only you did. You should be grateful to yourself for what you already did during this run. You are grateful that you committed to this run and kept running. All this distance seemed so large and big. But now, look back and see. Nothing shows the result of efforts better than looking back and seeing all this land you just covered. You own this road, these hills, this bridge because ran over them, from the beginning till the end. Nothing feels more powerful than this. So you keep running.