There was a time, not too long past, when I felt bulletproof. When I trained, I saw fitness as a big bucket into which I could throw as much pain as I liked and that I would grow stronger with each passing race. When I raced, although I didn’t often figure at the very front of affairs, I could predict with confidence how I would perform. I rarely failed to race up to expectations and sometimes I surpassed them. My ‘off’ days were when I came up marginally short of expectations.
Those days are apparently gone, and I’m not really sure why. I seem to make training and racing mistakes with gay abandon which I remain blissfully, and sometimes intentionally, ignorant of, until I’ve made a hames of whatever race seems most important at the time. My former rock-steady’ness serves only to highlight my current life-is-like-a-box-of-chocolate’ness. Despite repeatedly advising myself and others that it’s not worth worrying about, I worry. Despite trying not to care, I do. Most infuriating of all are the occasional indicators, usually encountered on training runs, that I can still run a little.
What thankfully saves me from complete self-absorption and morbid introspection, is the kindness of others. In the picture above you’ll note that I have someone’s good jacket draped around my smelly post-race shoulders. The jacket’s kind owner had wanted to protect me from the element,s despite my repeated protests that I’d ruin the jacket and that I was heading back to the car in a minute anyway.
As my mother used to say, I might as well have been talking to the wall.