While running, I like to look around and read all the shirts people are wearing. ”Cancer Sucks,” “Running for Pam,” “The first step is the hardest,” “In case of zombies I’m tripping you,” and “Running is a mental sport and we’re all insane, ” inspiring things like that. It always makes me wonder the motivation someone has for running or walking. It’s not like the thought of doing anything until you can barely walk, do insane stretching afterwards, and are on the verge of dehydration should sound appealing. Who wakes up in the morning and says, “I want to do that!” Oh yeah…we do. And while we do it, we fight our demons. We fight the demons that encourage us to stay on the couch and start tomorrow. One more day isn’t going to hurt, right? The ones that tell you your knees can’t handle it, your lungs can’t handle it, your feet can’t handle it…YOU can’t handle it. What demons do all the walkers and runners fight when they are on the road? Myself, I have many demons when I’m running.
It’s the stop sign at the end of the street that seems to get farther and farther away the longer I run.
It’s the hills at Iroquois that taunt me and laugh as I’m trying to make it to the top.
It’s that pain that whispers, “Don’t forget about me.” The pain in my knees that reminds me of the car accident when I was younger that damaged the internal muscles and made them so weak that they needed braces to help strengthen them.
It’s the voice in my head that screams at me, “You are never going to finish this! You are old, overweight and you CAN’T do this. Why are you even trying?”
It’s the cramps that remind me I am not drinking enough water.
It’s the negative people I’ve encountered in my life that have told me, “You’re not good enough”.
It’s the pain in my lungs that reminds me I smoked for so many years.
It’s the mental feeling at mile 7 when I question my sanity on why exactly am I doing this.
It’s the person 100 feet ahead of me that no matter how hard I try, I can't catch up or pass them.
It’s the finish line that is just in sight but seems so, so far away.
But I do fight them, and I do continue. And even though I tell myself repeatedly that the clock is not my demon and that I do not race against it, I sneaked a peek as I sprint the last 50 yards across and “finished strong.” Then I silently whisper to my demons, “Today, I won.” And they are quiet again. Quiet until the next time I put on my bright, hot pink shoes and step out the door. I anxiously await whatever demons that will be waiting for me.
But I am ready for them .
Pics were courtesy of Martin Tallent