I am a bit of a creature of habit. I wear the same running clothes (I do try to wash them twice a week), run the same course with minor variations for distance, and chant the same mantra as I fight my way through the last half mile.
Run the hydrants, babe. Just run the hydrants.
It has never changed, albeit I have only been on this running program since May. As I round the corner at the last half mile mark I start to think about how close I am to finishing. Previous posts will tell you I am not a big fan of running, so the end of a run is quite possibly the only part I actually like. Because I am a glutton for punishment (and my condo is located on a hill) the last half mile is two-thirds uphill and one-third slight decline / mostly flat. This makes for a great start to every run but a horrible way to end when I am sucking wind and battling my inner demons. So I chant:
Run ’em babe. Run the hydrants.
I am not sure why I refer to myself as babe. Sometime I call myself by my first name with the Y ending my mother uses, sometimes by my last like the drill sergeants used to but usually it is babe…
As I climb the first hill on my last half mile stretch my breath becomes labored and shallow, the hummingbird invariably resumes its residence in my chest cavity. But as the incline turns to decline the knot holding the concrete bollard tied to my waist loosens and both fall away.
Another hydrant down, three more to go.
I try to lengthen my stride much like a lion would as it closes in on its prey but it ends up looking more like this. I pass another hydrant, two more to go. The ground levels out to a pancake and I ready myself for the final push. I envision myself running beside Abby Wambach, striding down the pitch on my way to a glorious goal. I pass the second to last hydrant, embark on the last hill and suddenly there are three bollards tied to my waist and these ones are anchored to the cement.
Run ’em babe. Run down that last hydrant.
I am dying and these are my final moments. Instead of spending them in a bed surrounded by my loved ones I will die alone here on the pavement next to this friggin hydrant. My lungs will surely burst like a balloon released to the heavens.
The air is to thin up here!
I push, I fight, I scream.
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