Waking Up at Four AM

Spiraling Shape by They Might Be Giants

This could lead to excellence. Or serious injury.
Only one way to know… Go. Go. Go.
Go ahead / Wreck your life / That might be good.
Who can tell what’s wrong or right?
Nobody can.

Nelson frequently thought of these lyrics when he wondered if he was doing something stupid, like leaping from a high place.

Every day for a while now, I wake up at four fifteen for my run. I take a strip of tape, wrap it clockwise around my right pinky toe, and then wrap the rest of the tape around my right fourth toe. This buddies up my pinky toe so that when I run it does not start to roll under my foot. That has happened in the past, and it can hurt. On my left foot, the problem piggy is my fourth toe. Using another piece of tape, I buddy it up with my third toe.

On days when I’m going for a long run, I tear up a band aid, discard the pad, and put the sticky parts on my nipples so they don’t get rubbed. I smear Vaseline on my left thigh where the jock rubs. I start sweating at about mile two, by mile three I am in flow, and by mile six I am soaked through and running in puddles. My shoes are squishing. I run until my IT band aches.

Then / I run a few more miles.

Right now, the stupid thing Nelson was doing was waking up and going for a run. He had been staying in bed until 5:00, but that was just wasting time. For a few days, he woke up as early as 3:45 and would start running by 4:30. This led to some early, long mornings. Wednesday he grossed an extra 2.42 miles in 22:00; Thursday was an extra 3.77 miles in 34:00. For that week he ran a total of over forty-eight miles, which was twenty percent more than he had run in recent history.

The following week he ran more than fifty-two miles. It was Daylight Savings Time (Fall back! Lose an hour!) and that was when he bonked. Fifty-two miles in a week was too far. His legs were tired; he couldn’t run at the paces he should; his will was fraying. An emergency cut-back week was declared. The next week was a mere forty miles. Followed by forty-five and then forty-nine. He felt better during the forty-nine mile week, but the long runs were still coming in below expectations.

Despite all this, the Spring half marathon went well. He ran a 1:34:54. When he adjusted for the hills, it gave him a flat pace of 7:03 per mile. It was enough to give him hope that he could qualify for Boston in the Fall of 2016.

As of May 5, he had not committed to actually running a fall marathon, but Wichita on October 9th was in his sights. It was just a matter of running an interim training to build his base and then starting into the marathon training. If no injuries cropped up, and if he managed to stay in the good graces of his wife and family, then (when it was a little closer) he would register for the race.

Nelson settled on a morning wake-up time of 4:15. This left a little time in the morning for futzing around, writing his so-called novel or taking a longer look at a run, or living in the past. He figured he didn’t need more mileage or the strength work-out to maintain his fitness; what he needed was a distraction. He needed to find some Peace. He needed to get to know himself again.

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