Time: five minutes.
I am trail running for seventy five minutes for the first time ever as a big physical challenge is on the horizon.
I’m feeling good. Pacing myself.
Time: fifteen minutes (the app in my pocket calls out incrementally with total time, distance and pace).
I’m nearing the sweet spot where the initial discomfort of sustained running dissipates.
Time: twenty five minutes. I’ve found my stride. Breathing is steady. Legs strong.
Time thirty minutes: I might die if I keep going. What was cool confidence and presence of power is now dripping with self doubt and heaviness.
I press on.
Time: fifty five minutes. I discover that small changes in gait, arm position and breathing patterns make a difference and suddenly I am sailing on a cushion of endurance, unphased by the crushing sensation in my thighs, calfs and lungs.
Time: one hour. I’m confident that should I continue I may die again. In fact I seriously consider stopping. I’ve never run this long before. I’ve hit a major milestone regardless.
I press on. Acutely aware that a long run is far less physical than it is mental.
Time: one hour five minutes. My app only needs to chime in two more times before hitting my goal. I may be screaming inside but there is no way I am stopping now.
Time: one hour ten minutes. I pass an older couple on the trail. Startled, they move to the side. The man weilding a cane in one hand and a camera in the other. He says as I pass, “I wish I had that energy!”.
And then it hits me.
I can run.
Therefore I will.
And I won’t stop.
I reached my goal because unlike all those the world over I actually can physically meet the challenge. I can move my body and be outdoors and breathe deeply.
I do it for everyone else who cannot.
Because I can.