I feel like I’ve been sick for months now. Since late October, a low level malaise has kept me from exercising as much as I wanted to. I took a break from Cross Fit, I reduced my running frequency and went to bed early a lot more than I like.

But I haven’t lost the speed I discovered this fall. Tuesday I ran a mile in under 9 minutes, and then kept running for another 21 minutes. I should have paused and taken some water, but I didn’t.

I’m doing an experiment with foam rolling my problem right leg and then wearing a knee brace to sleep. My theory is that after I stretch out the area with the foam roller, it stays in a good position until I spend the night unconsciously going right back to the comfortable habit. So after my run I spent some painful time on the foam roller. Again, with my mouth thick and sticky with dry saliva, I should have gone to the water fountain. But I didn’t.

Instead, I went over to the rowing machine and did my 5 minutes. I’ve taken to making the display tell me my average 500 meter pace. My best so far was 2:15.5 over five minutes. Today I struggled to keep it under 2:18, but with a last minute push, I did. Usually, when I finish my row, I sit for a moment to catch my breath and then get up and spray down the machine.

Not Tuesday.

Instead, after I clumsily loosed my feet from the stirrups, I levered myself off the seat and slid down the adjoining wall to sit on the floor while my heart pounded and my stomach debated the costs and benefits of heaving.

I’m not sure if it’s being sick, pushing myself a little harder with the running speed, not drinking enough or a combination of all three, but I overdid it.

And I’m okay with that. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I did my best. I pushed almost, but not quite, to the point of illness. I danced on the edge of a physical limit and I handled it. I handled it by getting the attention of a friend at the gym and asking for help. How would I handle this situation in the wilderness alone? It would depend on the particulars of my situation, but I have confidence that I could.

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