On Sunday when I was running, I was not in the mood to be running. I didn’t want to do it at all, but I got myself out the door with stubbornness and I kept myself going with dogged willpower. I was absolutely determined to run 6 miles, even though I was feeling a bit under the weather and I had this nasty lump in my throat that tasted kind of yucky. Pretty much, I was sick and not willing to admit it.
At one point when I was running, it was as if the world had narrowed to the sidewalk in front of me. My eyes were heavy lidded and I wasn’t hearing much of the world around me. It’s lucky I didn’t run into anyone or anything.
I was trying to slow my heart rate, because I can feel it pounding in my ears, TUMP TUMP TUMP and I want it to stop hurting my ears so much. So I focused on slowing my pace and breathing and letting my heart slow down. But it just keeps coming back TUMP TUMP TUMP and I just keep pushing myself, wondering if I’m doing the right thing, but determined not to stop.
Then I felt a sting of pain, like a frisson of electricity in my chest, near my heart, and though the stinging sensation lingered, what took more of my attention was the feeling of coming up from underwater, or waking up from a light sleep. The world around me came into focus, the whole thing, not just what was in front of me. I was hearing better, and the pounding of my heart was no longer painful in my ears.
I don’t know what the heck happened, but it was quite an interesting phase shift. Maybe the pain did it. Like stubbing one’s toe on the way to or from the bathroom at night. From half asleep to wide awake in a split second.
The feeling faded a bit, but helped get me through that last mile of running, after which I sat down on some grass near the sidewalk to eat and try and catch my breath. My legs were rubbery and didn’t want to move anymore, and I couldn’t blame them. But I wasn’t really training my running that day. I was training my willpower. Training my ability to keep going even when my body didn’t really want to. Because that’s the reserve I need when I’m out in the wilderness, two days from a road in any direction. To doggedly push on, because my body can do more than my mind thinks.