half marathon, all of me

the rhythmic whir of the treadmill seemed to have a calming property. something, admittedly, i could benefit from. though i’ve never much liked running indoors- the fresh air and cold slap on my skin have always been as attractive to me as how i feel during and, especially, after a run- last night it turned out that i didn’t have the luxury of choice.
the day had escaped me, too much to do for my boys and our life, and i was unable to run with them, as we have begun to do they, of course, pushed along as i pant and wheeze from behind. today the daylight had vanished before i got hold of enough time and, regardless of whether i am accompanied, i no longer run in the dark.
so, feeling motivated and not wanting to waver from my training course for fear of losing the fragment of discipline the last few weeks of routine have inspired, i arrived at the gym rushed, anxious to complete a one hour session prior to closure. i made it but felt ungrounded when i began, desperate from having been largely confined by the four walls of my home and harassed, having fled from the house after performing the epic dinner, bath, and bedtime routine without any time to process or unwind.

i found myself pulsing, and not in the good way, like once a work out has been completed. instead i felt distractable, unharnessed.
it’s a strange thing running on a machine: no scenery. no stimulation. forced movement. given that it was night, and for that reason dark, there wasn’t even a view past the window in front of me, not even any static imagery to take in. the strangers running next to me provided some silent camaraderie but, ultimately, running on a treadmill is an even more of a solitary activity then running outside, where at least you are in a relationship with the space you traverse.
that’s when, with no alternative entertainment, i honed in to the hum on the machine. it pulsed too, but in a soothing, encouraging, manner. soon after, my breath was audible. my heart beat even. i relaxed. it’s then that i noticed that there was something to look at in the window.
i met the eyes of the woman looking back. she looked older and her jaw line was absent for the bloat but, i was in there somewhere and my gaze couldn’t be ignored. i looked challenging, competitive.

i felt focussed all of a sudden, and engaged. i felt ready for this undertaking. i felt great.

you’re on, i thought, and might have even said out loud.


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