The Last Run

My sweat-drenched Chelsea jersey clung onto me fiercely, refusing to let go. I couldn’t rip it away from my skin, of course. My whole being was focused on the task at hand; trivial details like tees cinching my body ceased to matter.

Hhmmpp-Nnmmpp-Hhmmpp-Nnmmpp I wheezed, trying to ignore the pain signals being frantically sent from my spine. If this incline continues for more than a hundred more metres, I’m dead I thought, closing my eyes for a brief moment, trying to imagine all places I’d rather be.

But no. Nothing. Even when I forced myself, my mind just COULDN’T come up with somewhere I wanted to be more than right here, running up a steep slope in the middle of nowhere, trying to beat my personal best of 5 miles. [Which, I’ll agree, is kind of measly. But not if you’re a twelve-year-old girl who started training only about six weeks ago]

Why?? Because even at this point, when I felt like I would never be able to get up again if given the chance to rest my butt for a few seconds, I loved it. Don’t ask me WHY. But I did. And that’s why I moved forward, faster and faster with every stride.

Left, right, left, right my feet placed themselves in front of each other as if on autopilot. They’d long since passed the stage when I’ had to actually concentrate on them so as to NOT come crashing down, limbs and necks and tummies and all.

My arms ached, my legs throbbed, there wasn’t a part of me that was at least slightly injured. But I kept going. I HAD to. I had to finish… YES!! I couldn’t help but exclaim as the uphill part of my journey ended and the next few yards of blissful downwardness unfurled themselves.

The next few seconds passed easily enough. In fact, I might have breezed past the finish line [aka My Front Gate] if not for It. You know, the Runner’s Curse. The highly dreaded yet stunningly frequent Cramp.

You heard me right.

Like a dagger stabbed in the right part of my ribcage, a cramp started to form, slowly spreading its fiendish fingers across the rest of my stomach. I slowed down slightly, cradling the part of my stomach that ached the most…

NO!!!! I would NOT let anything come between me and the 6- mile mark. Not this time, Cramp. If you had the guts to think that a little poke in the side would cause me to stop, you’ve got another thought coming. Because NOTHING is going to stop this girl from reaching home in the few minutes. NOTHING.

So I trudged on, trying desperately to shift my mind from the agony that erupted from my waist. I wonder what -Ouch- Mom made -Ouch- for di… -Ouch- dinner… 

Yup, that technique wasn’t working. So I changed tactics; time to bring out the poet in me:

900 metres left,

900 more,

Come one, you can do it

Go, go go!!

I chanted in my mind, repeating it like a mantra. It seemed to be doing the trick, because the burning eased up, allowing me to run faster. I silently rejoiced when it hit me that I was 500 short metres away from victory. Of course, as soon as you find SOMETHING to be slightly happy about, fate comes along and screws it up for you.

Because right then. when I was beginning to speed up considerably, I noticed a HUUGE slope out of the corner of my eye. It was so steep, it kind of resembled a wall. I’m not kidding. A wall.

I groaned, completely exhausted by this frustrating turn of events. But I had a job to finish, and finish it I was going to do.

Just a slight hitch I thought to myself, eyeing the hill warily. It’s surprising how I’d never noticed it while seated on one of the cushiony couch of Dad’s car…

Bracing myself, I jogged up the first part of the ramp. I think that’s when my absolute exhaustion actually kicked in and my legs started feeling as heavy as lead. My trusty feet, don’t fail me now.

The rest of the ascend it a little too painful to talk about. I’m sure I resembled a dying rooster as I waddled up the incline, gasping and panting for breath.

The good news is that I made it. I DID finish it all up and I DID reach home without any serious bruises [except a seriously inflated ego].

The bad news is running is running is permanently stripped of its title of one of my favourite things to do. I’ve heard knitting is fun…

 

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