I stare at the white ceiling above me for what seems like an eternity. Eventually I look at my watch next to me, feels like an hour has passed already. Which turns out to be less than a minute in real time. My mind is racing already, doing a check of what feel a little strained today. I know what it is doing. Attempting to find an excuse not to get up. On this particular day, it is my shoulder which is acting up. Feels like someone has been hanging on it while I was asleep during the night. Maybe it was the sandman playing tricks during the night. Who knows.
Weird thing is, I have no idea why it is actually giving me problems today, there is nothing which I can recall doing over the last few days that would cause this feeling. All I know is it is feeding my mind with excuses not to get up and go run. Maybe I’m just getting old?
A spilt second occurs when my mind is grappling for the next thing to latch on to, and it is the perfect window of opportunity to just get up before it finds something.
But I have to go run. This time around, the motivation for it isn’t for myself, but for a individual who has placed a bet on me to move out of my comfort zone. It would have been easy to use my shoulder as an excuse otherwise. But I have a mentor now who has put her faith and sponsorship behind me, not sure why or what she’s seen in me, but the privilege of her support is not lost on me.
It takes about five kilometres into the run for my shoulder to really start complaining. Allot. But what can you do with your arms otherwise while running? They kinda have nowhere else to go but hang there next to your torso and move around while you run. All I know is that it is an amusing problem to have. Struggling to run because of a problem in my arm. Yes, I know.
My running club is quite amused with my tinkering to find a solution to this. First solution is to fold my arms in front of me while running. Looks like I’m running while rocking a baby in my arms in front of me. Nope, this in not working. The next solution actually works quite well, but looks and feels like an accident to happen.
Running with my arms folded behind me and shuffling like a duck running on land. This will be interesting if I trip over something and fall forward. There is no way I will be able to get my arms out to cushion my fall in time. My face will be the first thing to hit the black asphalt. Something my face cannot afford to happen, it is having a difficult time already as it is!
At some point this option of falling flat on my face seems like a good excuse to get out of what we are doing today. Intervals Tuesday. Our coach has arguably found the longest continues road in my area and decided we can sprint from one side to the other side of it today. Some 3 Kilometres. Twice.
This road just never seems to end.
We eventually are finished with the two laps. I almost had a sense of humour failure when our marshal let us run some 3/4 of this exact same road again to cool down on the way back to the club. It fries your brain in so many ways, running the same route again, even if it is at what feels like a walking pace compared to the previous two laps down it.
Crazy. But I love it.
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Werner du Toit
Author of "The Road is not All Uphill"