from mile to marathon

The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.

Friday, June 02, 2006

the wild life

On my last and seventh day of one mile I was listless in the treadmill. I braced myself for bearing the whole thing out at a high incline (so I would invest effort) but low speed (so I would not stress myself out). There was no one in the exercise room when I arrived there. The TV was not on, and I turned on a knob in the wall that produced music, something I had seen someone else do the other day, otherwise I wouldn’t have known what that thing was for. My limbs were heavy, and I felt bored. What if I increased the speed? I would get to the end of the mile faster, and have this over with. I was curious: would the machine force me to run? I also knew the experiment could just take me out of my breathing range. I felt a wild temptation to throw caution in the wind. Let’s live with abandon. Yeah, that’s how I envisioned breaking boundaries back then.

I increased the speed progressively to 4 miles/hour, what I perceived as a risky business. The speed forced me to step faster and faster. This in itself guaranteed the ordeal would be over soon. It wasn’t. The pace didn’t really make me run – I assumed this was what they called brisk walk – but I figured out it meant that all of a sudden I was running the marathon in 6.5 hours instead of almost 9, as the day before. This was a substantial increase and I did not need to outdo myself. Or I didn’t want to faint, call it whatever you will.

I went home a bit dissociated with myself – knowing I was walking home, but at the same time wondering who that person in my body was, walking home, the length of legs aflame with pain. It occurred to me that perhaps I wasn’t ready yet for two miles next day. Perhaps I would need more time than a week for each mile.


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