You may think you can’t, but you can

6 June

Day 11 of 100 days of running and, if the running isn’t necessarily getting easier, the hardest part of running for me, i.e. getting out the door, definitely is.

I have willed my reluctant, somewhat creaky, and sometimes exhausted body out the door and opted to run in the dark in wind, rain and cold, instead of selecting option of running on the treadmill in a nice, warm and dry gym. And I’m not sorry. I’ve not caught a cold, as everyone said I would, and – most importantly – I’ve toughened up. It’s been only 11 days, so I can’t start getting all smug about my tenacity just yet. I still have 89 days to grit out, and anything can happen in that amount of time.

Thursday night was one of those endless, endless nights. I went to bed tired and fell asleep quickly. After we had taken the dogs on a little 3 km dog jog, we went out for dinner at a new Italian trattoria-style place in town, Isola, and had had some pretty good pasta and an excellent bottle of Rustenberg Merlot, 2010. By the time I slithered down under the duvet I was ready to sleep. I read a few paragraphs of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, but was too tired to retain a single word – I had to go back a few pages the next time I picked up the Kindle.

So I was set for a solid night’s sleep. Ah. But I should know better by now. Somewhere around one o’clock in the morning, the Significant Other started to snore. I decided that I should tough it out. I should simply get used to it. Filter out the sound and sleep through it. I lay there, awake and filtering. Occasionally I would touch his face or his shoulder lightly and he would stop snoring, roll over, and start up again. Eventually, by two o’clock I was wide awake. It was time to decamp to the lounge. But it was so cold! I lay there on the cold vinyl couch, bundled into my big gown, with two blankets over me, and couldn’t get warm. Nor could I get to sleep.

Within moments I was pinned down by a snoring pitbull on the once side and a purring cat on the other side. I couldn’t roll over or straighten my legs. My hips hurt, the pillow was uncomfortable, I couldn’t get warm, despite sleeping with the animals, and I couldn’t fall asleep. By 4:30 I was standing in the kitchen, boiling the kettle for some tea. This, as usual, woke up the puppy and the Significant Other and the other cat. Everyone came to see what I was doing. Then everyone went back to sleep, leaving me to sip my tea alone in the dark, and contemplate giving sleep another go.

I felt my body surrender to sleep at about the same time as the Significant Other came back into the kitchen. The new day had started. It was going to be a slow one. I had had no more than three hours’ sleep all night and I was feeling pretty grim. Not for me the gym this morning. Nor a run. Nor anything other than sitting in front of my computer, catatonic with exhaustion, trying to will my brain to produce words for my fingers to type. Not much was produced.

By four o’clock my head was buzzing and I just needed to lie down. I’m getting soft, I must say. One sleepless night barely touched sides back in the days when I was working through the night and entire weekends to meet ridiculous deadlines. Now one sleepless night sends me into a vortex.

At five o’clock I could battle it no longer and went to lie down. Ah! The bliss of being in a quiet room, curled up under a warm blanket on my bed. It wasn’t long before I drifted off into that odd daytime sleep – that semiconscious state when your mind continues to send out filaments of consciousness into reality, while your body succumbs to a leaden inertia.

Barely an hour later the Significant Other clattered and smashed into the house, his work shoes like gunshots across the floorboards, the dogs beside themselves with excitement. Chaos entered the room. It was time for the mother to get with the programme again. Ah nuts. I lay there for a while, trying to pull myself towards myself. Significant Other came back into the room to get dressed. He was taking only one dog out. He can’t take both, he said, it’s just impossible. Well, I take both out at the same time. But then again, I’m Superwoman. Lest we all forget.

I will myself out of bed. My body resists. Ugh! Ugh! But I know that before 100 days of running, before I had run every evening for ten evenings in a row, I would have stayed there. I would have said that I was too tired – and I was too tired – and I would have stayed there under the blanket for a while longer. Then I would have dragged myself into the kitchen to start making supper. But my head would remain fuzzy and my sense of humour would still be packed away somewhere inaccessible. But I got up. I got into my running gear, and we headed out the door together to take the dogs for a run.

Within minutes I was feeling good. We ran almost four kays with the dogs, stopping only briefly for pee, poo and sniff breaks (for the dogs, that is!). My Garmin says we ran at 6.21/km. I didn’t pause it at any point, so it includes the breaks. This means the dogs are getting fitter too, as they kept up a pretty decent pace.

I came home and made myself a most delicious wild mushroom pasta, and sat down in front of the TV to watch a ridiculous episode of Come Dine With Me (yes, they’re all ridiculous, but this one was quite over the top). I felt good. Really good. I was alone at home, with my wild mushroom and lemon zest, lemon juice and basil pasta, a glass or two of Creation Sauvignon Blanc, the heater, my crochet blanket, two sleeping dogs, and Come Dine With Me. I was in heaven.

Wild mushrooms, butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, basil and micro-leaf salad on fresh pasta.

Wild mushrooms, butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, basil and micro-leaf salad on fresh pasta.

The dogs are guaranteed of getting their sleep.

The dogs are guaranteed of getting their sleep.

By 10:30 I was ready for bed and this morning I got myself out there again, without too much of an internal dialogue of how it’s too cold, how it’s Saturday morning and, geez, one should be able to have a rest day, shouldn’t one? The Significant Other spotted me as I was about to leave. If I was running, then he would too. So we ran 5 km together. It was icy out there to start but we all know it’s cold only if you stand still.

And I’ve found out you’re tired only if you say you are. And you can’t only if you say you can’t. It’s too cold, too dark, too rainy, too miserable only if you say it is. You’re too glum and too depressed only if you say you are.

And all that may be true. But if you go out and run anyway, none of that will be true anymore.

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One thought on “You may think you can’t, but you can

  1. “And I’ve found out you’re tired only if you say you are. And you can’t only if you say you can’t. It’s too cold, too dark, too rainy, too miserable only if you say it is. You’re too glum and too depressed only if you say you are.”

    -This is so well-said! Thanks for your words!

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