Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Terry set the pace, explaining that there was no need to "showboat" during the first mile. I was encouraged to pull back when I felt it was needed, to charge the inclines when the earth pushed against me and to ease off for recovery on the other side.
The first half of the three mile trek was the same as I'd done with Meredith and Morgan. A mile and a half that wound it's way through Fondren, including a jaunt down Old Canton, where "you never let them see you walk." I knew instantly where the halfway mark was, so I paced myself accordingly.
It was then that I realized what was happening. I was no longer rationalizing with all my body parts - my long legs, my heavy back, my hips, ankles or lungs - my sanity dragged along by dumb, clumsy determination. In fact, with every step I could feel all my parts working in unison, to spirit me to the finish line. "I'm like a leaf." I told myself, and felt myself become lighter, my gate widening to a steady trot. "I can do this!" I exclaimed, and my Fitness Jesus gave me a benevolent glance.
Oh sure, I could stop here and let you think of me in that "Chariots of Fire" moment, my rippled muscles, dewy with sweat, moving in slow-motion into the sunset. But, this is where the fairytale ends.
"You're making great time, Eddie." Terry said. "I'd like to add some more inclines, balanced out with some long straightaways." and he redirected our course.
"What the hell!?!" thought to myself. I'd expected us to turn back and repeat the first mile and a half stretch. That's what I was prepared for, that's how I'd know how to pace myself. I'd been highjacked and could do nothing but go along with it.
We were a little over the two mile mark when the steady onslaught of "little hills" began to take their toll. Instead of "charging" the inclines, I began to curse at them. The "recovery time," on the decline, began to feel as sublime as catnaps.
Knowing I'd lost my focus, Terry would exaggerate his inhale, reminding me to breath deep, rather than actually saying it. Here and there, he'd point out a house where someone from yoga or Warrior Dash lived, giving my brain something to chew on, if only for a moment.
On Oakridge, a long and flat stretch of road, Terry directed my attention to a UPS truck making a left turn, and said "We should be nearing the end, there." and I began to stomp -not sprint- slobbering and whining like a mad cow.
"Come on, Eddie." he said encouragingly, "Turn it up!"
"I'm trying not to throw up!" I yelped.
"End strong! Wide steps! COME ON!" Terry yelled, then sprinted ahead of me.
"Stop yelling at me!" I cried.
He had stopped a couple of houses ahead and was pointing down to the ground. It was a place where I imagined I'd black out and lose a veneer or two, rather than finish gracefully. I stomped harder, threw my arms back and lifted my heart to the sky, as I broke through the imaginary tape at the finish line.
"Now you know what it feels like." Terry said smiling. "Now, you know you can do it."
"There he goes again." I thought to myself. That's the thing about Terry and his philosophy, he gets you to meet goals you didn't even know you'd set for yourself. So, knowing how it feels, and knowing that I can, I continue on towards the next finish line.