Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ouch to 5K

It's actually billed as a "COUCH to 5K" program on, but for me OUCH to 5K seems to do a better job of describing the work. The 9-week program is supposed to take me from dead-weight-can't-jog-to-the-corner, to a 3 mile jog finished in 30-minutes. I'm on week four. I can't even bear to look ahead to week five. Today I covered about 2 miles in 21 minutes - a 3 minute run followed by 1.5 minutes of walking followed by FIVE minutes of running, then a 2.5 minute walk, another 3-minute run, 1.5 minutes of walking, and a grand finale FIVE minute run. Except the last five minutes was more like a fizzled stop-the-madness-NOW four minute run/one minute walk. In fact, it was exactly like that. I called my mother. She said, "How's your marathon coming?" "5K, Mom," I said doubled over with laughter. "Whatever," she said. "It's all the same to me." Well, it is all running. And it IS - after a point - mostly an accomplishment of the mind. You know you can stop the feet, catch the breath, and walk any time you want to. There is no gun at the head, no lion pursuing, no prize money at the end of the street. After you establish a comfortable pace, it just becomes a study in defiance of your own will. And, this is not a natural activity for the human species. Will is strong and determined and, quite often, has a life of its own. From the urge for a cookie at midnight to the strong will to survive conditions of abject poverty, natural disaster, or war - human will stands like a seawall at the ocean. It says, "Wash over me, life. Hide me for moments or days at a time. When the mayhem recedes, I'll still be here." The human will. The strong will of a human being... I'm telling you, it hurts when you try to break it. Peace.

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