Let us therefore agree that the idea of eternal return implies a perspective from which things appear other than as we know them: they appear without the mitigating circumstance of their transitory nature. This mitigating circumstance prevents us from coming to a verdict. For how can we condemn something that is ephemeral, in transit?
–The Unbearable Lightness of Being
I was being lazy, and maybe rushing at the same time, which isn’t a good idea because lazy and hurried are sort of contradictory efforts. And in my hurried lazy state, I decided to climb over a 7 foot tall chain-link fence to more quickly make my way to the IC track for my Saturday workout. My plan had been to do a simple tune-up for the upcoming track meet. Nothing too complicated, just 4 x 400m at goal mile pace with 400m rest.
Somewhere between vaulting my legs over the top of the fence and finishing the quick descent to the ground, I thought “maybe that wasn’t such a good idea… maybe I should have just walked the extra 200 meters and gone through the gate.” But it was really too late to make any practical changes, and I did my best to make a graceful Terminator-style landing.
Of course, I injured myself, but not in the way I would expect. Something strained in my groin/perineum as soon as I hit the ground, and whatever got pulled referred pain to everywhere in the vicinity. It knocked the wind out of me and I couldn’t walk for a couple minutes. The pain conjured images of brutally torn suspensory ligaments and strangulating hernias. After five minutes I could jog and walk again, and being the stubborn guy I am I decided to work out through the pain.
The plan called for 4x400m at 75 seconds each, and I (barely) pulled it off. Running 4 of those consecutively with no rest seemed a lot less feasible after the workout, but it’s good to know where you stand even when you end up standing somewhere different than you hoped. My 5-minute-mile days were a long time ago anyways.
So I was really, really surprised when I pulled off a 5:02 mile at the track meet last night. There was a part of me that was kicking myself for not pushing just 3 seconds more out of the last lap (I think the last one was actually my slowest). But I’ve only run one sub-5-minute mile in my life, and the fact that I’m even coming close again is really a wonderfully happy thing (I almost want to call it a blessing). Add to all this that various parts of my body were still slightly sore and swollen from that ill-advised fence-jumping, and my race becomes a promise of future improvement as well as a smashing success.
So track season is over, and now I look forward to cross country. I feel like I’m coming into a new phase of my running life, where some PR times may actually be possible for the first time in 10 years. And if not, that’s fine too. Running is a fantastic example of eternal return within a single life. You get so many opportunities to experience that high, and even the lows are productive. I’m running for life and it feels good.