May 26, 2014 by scratchtype1
If you strip things down completely, there is nothing to running. I know that oftentimes I wish to wax poetic and sometimes manage to make something that resembles a burnt-out stub of a candle, that’ll have barely any life before it burns out and disappears into the darkness of forever.
So I run by a fenced-in pasture with some sheep and goats. They are awake like me while most of the people in this area are still sleeping. It’s warm, it’s humid, I’m sweating some extra because of it. My eyes tend to move in a rhythm, they check the road in front of me to look for stray sharp pebbles and debris, then they look up farther and to the sides as well, then back to the road that my feet will soon dance with, over and over. I’m not moving with any great haste and my mind checks in on how the feet feel while landing and lifting, how the knees feel, how the inside of my left thigh has developed a slight bit of soreness (probably from the near-sprints I did while getting photos of the kilt) and how the glutes are going. I still feel that imbalance of sorts with the glutes, the right one feels strongly engaged but it often seems like the left one is more dormant, almost sleeping still. Perhaps I need to do some drills to help wake it up. That might help.
I look to the right and shadow that runs along with me. I see the kilt’s shadow billow and sway. I know some that I chose to run in the kilt this morning on the roads because there would be less traffic. While American culture has grown slowly more accepting of ideas that gender is not so rigid, I also know that I live in a somewhat strange area of Pennsyltucky, one which sees both the Pennsylvania side and also the Kentucky side moving back and forth through its region. I realize I do have a faint dread that maybe it only takes that one little bit of bad luck, that someone might drive down the roads I run along and he might feel emboldened enough to jeer or worse.
Of course, my faint dread is nothing compared to what many women have experienced when they go out running. Yes, doing this, wearing a kilt and knowing that it could mean possibly getting bad attention from someone with old, ridiculous, misogynistic notions of gender, is nothing compared to what women experience. That faint and chilling touch I get while I run this warm morning is hardly anything, a feathery glance of nothingness.
I let my thoughts wander to other things.
How many miles should I go? I don’t know. As long it’s feeling good, I’ll just keep running. 29.5 miles last week to step back, now I want to put in a week over 40 miles. The blood sugar should do okay. It’s early and the liver is still pumping out extra glucose for me to use, I usually have a good 3 to 4 hour window in the mornings when I can run like this and the blood sugar will stay fairly steady.
I’m tending to run a touch too hard at times. Not sure why. I’ll look down at the heart rate monitor while I’m on a more level or slightly downhill section and the heart rate is in the upper 130s. Slow it down, relax, let the legs float, just an easy run today. My pace drops along with the heart rate.
Now later and once again the heart rate has crept a couple of beats too high. Maybe it’s the warmer and more humid air too. Relax, I tell myself again.
5 years ago on Memorial Day I hiked to the top of Mt Mansfield in Vermont. That was a good day. There was a lot of wind, but it was sunny. Then came a strange goodbye at the airport in Burlington, where they have a giant glass barrier between the area for those passengers who have gone through screening and the rest of the airport outside of the screened area. I put my my hand to the glass and she put hers there as well. I thought about the idea how even what we see as being solid is still mostly empty space and nothingness. But all that empty space and nothingness still was enough to keep the fingertips from touching one another. So eventually both hands dropped away, a look of desperate glances and longing, then finally the mutual turning away, one towards a car to go home and the other towards a seat to wait for a plane to take him home.
Now 5 years later I run. I fully realize myself as a runner. A few more cars and pickups have passed by. The faint dread never gets realized and they all pass by with nothing of note.
Finally I slow to a walk after having run 7.2 miles and then walk the rest of the way to cool down from it all.
Nothing changes in the world. I plan to run again tomorrow, maybe in shorts again since it’ll be a weekday and less people will be sleeping in.