The Hunted

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I could see him up ahead. His strides short and quick. I’m closing the gap. Eventually passing him on the narrow slippery sidewalk.

I’m 2 kilometres away from finishing today’s tapered run. My pace is not astonishing but given the terrain I’m feeling good with how my training is unfolding for next week.

As I cross the busy intersection I can hear him. His footfall insistent and determined. The man I’ve passed is right behind me. I pick up the pace. But I can still hear him. Plodding. Resolute. I may be less than 2 kilometres away from ending my run, but at 12 kilometres, today’s distance is a far cry from my customary 21.1 kilometre Friday. I still have plenty of gas in the tank. I can lose him.

I open the jets and throw down a pace that sees me through my penultimate kilometre more than half a minute swifter than my previous.

Yet it isn’t enough.

He’s still there.

I strain to get a glimpse of him in a store front window but can’t quite make him out. The angle isn’t ideal and I have to pay attention to the other pedestrians as well as the hazards the snow and ice have thrown our way.

Still I can’t shake him.

My heart begins to pound with effort.

It’s been a couple of minutes now and I’m getting unnerved.

Is he using me as his pace bunny? His personal Kenyan? Or is there something more sinister at play?

Forward I surge as I fight the urge to just turn and cry out

What is your problem????!!!

The light turns red.

I make a quick 90 degree turn.

Fleeing southbound on Spadina.

I look over my shoulder.

But he’s not there.

Indeed he’s nowhere to be seen. Did he turn up a side street? Or was he ever there to begin with?

Has my taper-induced pent up energy started playing tricks on my mind? Have I imagined the entire pursuit? It certainly brought out a great kick from me.

A sudden smile plays upon me. My adrenaline fades. And I ease up my pace.

I’m home.

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2 comments

  1. Bruno Des Rosiers · · Reply

    It is funny how the tough of being passed (real or imaginary) can push you… I witnessed that this past weekend when even with a soar throat and a cold, i was able to stay ahead of my persuer for over 3k…. Yes, he did pass me in the end for his final sprint, and I was able to get back kto my regular pace for my last k…. Will have to look at your route to figure out the best areas to run with you…. πŸ™‚

    1. I guess a way to look at it is that these drives to stay ahead will keep us that much sharper come race day πŸ™‚

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