Tuesday, April 24, 2012


My old ghost runner visited the other day while I was out on a run. He/she invited me to race for the first time in  20 or more years. It is a scary proposition because somewhere deep down I  still believe that if I accept the challenge, losing means death. I had never previously been conscious of the right to refuse the challenge. That day I did refuse and lived to run another day.
  The next Friday I was a mile from home and thinking how a follow and kick racer would run this 4 mile arroyo and road race. I had it all planned out. I knew my opponent was faster than me but maybe not quite as tough, so I would follow until I was at least one yards before the point where any sane finish kick racer would start their kick. At that point I would pass and leave the opponent in surprise and build enough of a laed to hold them off after I ran out of atp. All theoretical of course as I was in an empty arroyo where no right minded roadracer would be caught risking their rep.
 I felt a tap on my shoulder and heard a ghostly voice.... "think you can do it?" I nodded happily at my imagined friend. "Of course... no problemo" . "Willing to bet your life on it?" My old frenemy was back again. I felt the old familiar tickle of fear and felt like walking, but it was too late!! The gauntlet had been thrown!

I followed my ghostly enemy down the arroyo through the fence and around the corner. Exactly as I had planned (in theory) I sprinted past my surreal opponent with 3/8s of a mile to go and left him frozen in surprise. By the time he recovered I had slipped around the bend and was on the short steep climb out of the arroyo where I took my scheduled slow down right before the down hill on the dirt road 440 yards to go. My breathed rasped in my throat and my legs began to go numb as I pushed on last effort to create an insurmountable lead. At the bottom of the hill I knew I had not done enough and I was done. The involuntary F**k with the realization that I was at lactic acid and hypoxic limits same as in the ninth grade in the 440 as I ran out of steam and the school for the deaf won districts by 2 points. Up the final hill with my ghost (death) closing in. I heard him thinking I finally got you but somehow the legs kept going and I touched the finish felt that feeling of complete exhaustion mixed with elation that comes with survival.

No comments:

Post a Comment