Friday, 6 August 2010

I Continue To Run (faster...)

My fourth run, as part of my training. What I'm training for, I don't yet know. But I know I must do this. I'll find something to train for later,  but for now I'll keep running. Part of me wants to know how Salah feels, the Sahrawi runner I'm following in my documentary The Runner. Part of me just wants to get into shape again. And part of me wants to challenge my knee, injured in 2004 when I was training for a marathon and holding me back ever since. I have remained afraid of him for years. He has dictated what I can and cannot do, how far I can push myself. Now I've had enough. I want to tell him what's what.

Tonight was my fourth run. My fourth circuit of a modest 2.5km, trying first to get my body used to running again. I've quickly realised the obvious fact that running at night (when the weather's cool) is easier than running during the day (when it's hot). I've overcome the burning throat and strained lungs that first welcomed me. I've overcome the aching muscles of - not the next day, but strangely - the second day after the run. I decided the best way to beat that second day pain was to run through it. I'm using a tough love approach with my knee. I'm considerate to him, but I will show no mercy.

I try to remember what I think about when I'm running, because Murakami says only people who don't run would ask a runner "what do you think about when you run?" I asked Salah that, months ago, before I started running. I asked him many times, because I wasn't satisfied with this answer. But now I realise, perhaps "nothing" is the real answer. Perhaps "nothing" is the only answer. So far, I wouldn't say I think about nothing, but I don't think about anything with any purpose. Instead, my mind becomes a naive, newborn, empty bowl into which every thought and vision flying passed my head must swish around for a brief moment before spilling out and being replaced by a new thought.

I think about how to properly cook eggplant
I think about how I would be received across the finish line if I were a world-class runner
I think about the locals sitting at the pub that I pass
I think about the pressure of the pads of my feet hitting the pavement
I wonder how long my knee will last
I think I can't remember what I was thinking about.

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