With a jolt I lurch out of bed and stumble to the bathroom. The night is quiet and still but something is not right within me.
I check in with D who is yet in the midst of sleep’s blissful stupor. He’s fine. Thankfully. It’s funny how when you love someone your first thought is always for their well-being.
D’s fine. I’m not. D ran yesterday. But I must still stare down a 30 kilometre run. After I make more supplications to the porcelain god — 3 more supplications to be exact.
As I step outside I am met by air that is cool and invigorating and I’m hopeful for its restorative powers. My stride is wobbly and anemic and I promise myself to take it easy. In reality I have no other choice.
Two kilometres in and all I want more than anything is to go home and lie down. At this time I begin to wonder, is it an athlete’s resolve or foolhardiness that pushes the runner onward?
My stomach feels uncomfortably distended and I begin to break out into a sweat that I recognize has nothing to do with my run. Whipping off my toque I forge ahead.
By the 10 km mark my pace has strengthened though it is still far from strong. I begin to settle in. More importantly, I start to believe that I can finish the 20 kilometres that still lie ahead.
15 kilometres in and with a tailwind solidifying my efforts a sudden cramping engulfs my lower right abdomen. Too high up to be my appendix. Disconcerting nonetheless. I re-shift my focus. 20 kilometres may be all I have within me today.
Two more kilometres and the pain subsides. The 20 kilometre mark is now in sight. I opt to make it a half marathon. Then 22 kilometres.
Suddenly and mystifyingly, my mind snaps. Just as my body has begun to rally once again.
Although physically I am weakened, ultimately it is my mental focus that succumbs. With just 23 kilometres completed, I must accept the fact that it is time for me to head home.
Opening the front door of the house, a welcoming warmth soothes me. I catch a wafting of fresh brewed coffee just as D asks how I am.
Relieved that I am actually improved from when he last saw me, D flashes an impish grin and imparts a statistic he’s heard.
“You know 1 out of every 100 runners poops their pants.”
I return his smile with a toothy one of my own.
It’s good to be home.
It’s also good to know that I am not yet another statistic.