Friday, November 27, 2009

Silencing The Crescendo

I have been up since 6:30am and on my feet cooking since 7:00am. I have chopped, pureed, simmered, stewed, sauteed, sliced and diced. I have washed, rinsed, scrubbed, wiped and swiped. I have made pimento cheese and fried bacon for the crostini; nearly overcooked red pepper, garlic and pecorino gougeres. I have made creamy carrot soup with scallions and poppy seeds as well as my spiced cranberry conserve. I have experimented on a stuffing involving rye bread, salami and apples. I still have a pie to bake. But the voices. The voices are there and I need to quiet them.

I need to run. I want to run. As much for training as for the fact that I love to run when I am up here.

Training. I am over it. In fact the other day while I was at the gym I momentarily hoped I would twist my ankle or blow out my knee and therefore get my Get Out of Jail Free card. Then I berated myself for being such an asshole. Don't get me wrong. I love working out. I love being healthy. I love being strong. But any and all joy I associated with running is long gone. Training will do that. Or rather, training has done that for me.

I had planned to go for a run in the morning but I woke up and it was dark and cold and gray and wet and damp and I was anxious to start cooking so I held off. After 5+ hours on my feet I should be exhausted. I am exhausted. But the voices. The voices are there and I need to quiet them.

I finally get out of my pajamas and into my running clothes. I calculate how long it's been since I sucked down some leftovers for lunch. It hasn't been long enough. But if I wait any longer something will happen to distract or deter me. I'll start the pie. Or my mother, sister-in-law and nephew will show up. It might even start raining. I need to get out. I need to clear my head.

Sure enough when I step outside I can see rain sprinkles on the concrete patio, feel the mist on my face. I wait for my Garmin GPS to locate satellites while Pink sings on my iPod: "I'm not here for you're entertainment. You don't really wanna mess with me tonight."

Dear Universe, I think. Please don't rain. I need to run. I need to clear my head. To exorcise my demons. I need to silence the crescendo. I don't want to be stabby when I see my nephew. I want to enjoy him. I don't want to feel this pain I feel, to carry these burdens I carry. The voices are there and I need to quiet them.

It takes like what seems to be forever but eventually the GPS loads and I start to run. Running for me these days is a constant negotiation between what I think I need to be doing for training and what I want to do for my own personal enjoyment and/or sanity. Today it's a toss-up. I have been a training failure. My last 2 "long runs" have been cut short: one because my iPod died and I was thirsty, the other because I was hungover and exhausted. Today I am well-rested, not remotely hungover, and my iPod is fully charged. No excuses. I tell myself I am simply going to run until I can run no more. Or until the voices are quiet and still.

Running feels good. Liberating. Rhythmic. Cleansing. I have a lot on my mind and I need to clear my head. And I do. For a while. But then I lose myself in the music. I lose myself in the rain, which is falling harder, steadier. I lose myself in the hills - OMG the hills. Thank God Kiawah is a flat race because these hills are killing me. And then I focus and I give some serious thought to that which occupies my mind, tears at my heart. I try to find some perspective. I do.

In the old days, I would run out Glasco to Plochman Lane and back - a basic 3.5 mile run. But today I am in it for the long haul. I pass Plochman and head towards 212. I hope it's about 5 miles there because then that will mean 5 miles back will mean an easy 10 miles. I am not so lucky. I come up on 212 and I've only run 3.3 miles. I debate turning on 212 and looping through town but I decide that 212 is probably not the safest road so I turn back on Glasco.

It's raining harder now. Not so hard I can't see - it still feels like mist - but hard enough that the cars on the road need their windshield wipers on. It's cold but I feel hot and sweaty. The voices. The voices are there and I need to quiet them.

Negotiations begin again. Turn on Plochman and do the loop through town? Or run back to the Four Corners and out the other side towards Byrdcliffe? I don't know how I feel about running through town. And that hill back up Rock City Road is a killer. But what if I get to the Four Corners and psych myself out and head home instead of towards Byrdcliffe? Then again, it's raining harder now. Maybe I should be heading towards home instead of stranding myself further and further away. I come up on Plochman and stay straight. The voices. They're still there. They won't shut up.

I hit the Four Corners and stay straight. This is a good thing. If I would have turned right it would have meant home. I've run 6.3 miles. My hope is to knock out 2 miles out towards Byrdcliffe and then back and then maybe walk the giant half-mile up the mountain to the house because HOLY FUCKING HILLS Y'ALL.

I need flat. Kiawah is flat. If I can find flat I feel like I could run all day despite the gray, the cold, the wet, the rain. I need to run all day and I no longer know if I am talking about training or my sanity. It's those damn voices.

Byrdcliffe is not flat. Not remotely. It is one giant ass hill and while I am comforted by the fact that it will be downhill on the return, the run out is a struggle. It's raining harder too. I feel a chill. My knee throbs. I turn my iPod up louder. I search for something to propel me forward.

I don't make the full 2 miles. I am overwhelmed. I ache. So I turn around and head back but I am determined to make it 10 miles. I check my Garmin at the Four Corners - 8.95. I cross back over and head from whence I've already been, once again, skipping the turn home.

The rain has stopped. I feel less of a chill. Although I am somewhat winded and fighting off pain in my left knee, I don't otherwise feel too bad. I am sort of keeping track of time but not really. I have resigned myself to the fact that it will probably take me well above 2 hours to finish the Race in two plus weeks and I am ok with that. Sort of.

The last quarter mile up the giant ass hill takes every ounce of strength I have. If it weren't for Lady Gaga whispering in my ear, I don't know if I would make it. But I do. Ninety-three minutes, 10 windy, cold, gray, very hilly miles and the crescendo is finally silenced.

I take a deep breath, walk in the door, and give my nephew a hug.


AndreAnna said...

I can't do anything for 90 minutes straight, except sleep, so I give you credit.

I'm glad you have a way to silence your voices. I'm still looking for mine.