Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Worst 3 Minutes

12/13/10: I live at the bottom of a vomit-inducing hill.  It sucks, I’m not going to sugarcoat it.  There are times I avoid running because I can’t bear the thought of climbing that beast.  Sometimes I drive 20 minutes to the gym and run on the treadmill, because I’d rather waste 40 minutes of travel time than climb that beast.  Or worse, not run at all.  Now, the reality is, it takes me three minutes to ascend the beast.  Three minutes.  Three.  Minutes.  Why can’t I suck it up and run in agony for three minutes?  Well, it’s a mind game I play with myself.  If I can get through these three minutes, they will be the worst three minutes of my day, and everything after that is cake. 
                After cajoling, bargaining, and negotiating with myself, I suited up and headed out on the Mendon six mile loop, a favorite of mine (excluding the Beast).  30 seconds into my run, an orange Highway Department truck came barreling down the hill, most likely hunting for potholes.  I picked up the pace so I would look impressive, charging up the mountain, and not the pitiful pile of agony that I felt.  When I felt the truck was out of range, I backed down to the 10:30 minute/mile pace and continued on.  Then, a minute later, I hear the truck coming back up behind me.   I’m approaching the 2 minute mark, the climax of agony on the Beast, and I curse.  Then, I pick up the pace and put on a good “What hill? Oh this? No problemo, this is a bump” stride.   Once the orange truck is out of sight, I realize I’m at the top of the beast and the run gets easier.  I guess I can thank the truck driver for helping distract me during the climb.
                After the Beast, I settled into my stride, and ate some easy miles.  A few miles and several streets later, the orange truck is coming towards me.  Well this is odd, is this dude following me or something?  And PS – there are potholes everywhere!  Just ask, I can point them out for you!!  I chuckled and continued on. 
                I notice things on the side of the road.  Trash, mostly.  I hate litterers.  I think a litterer should receive the same fate as his trash and get tossed out the window going 50mph.    And why, on earth, do I see so many tooth floss/picks?  Is that common to drive, floss, and toss? Now I applaud their commitment to dental hygiene, but really, dispose of your plaque-covered tooth picks properly.
                One street and another mile later, I see… you guessed it… the orange truck coming towards me.  Then I got to thinking… I wonder what HE’S thinking.  That lady sure runs a lot.  That lady sure runs slow, I passed her forever ago.  Look at that silly lady running in the rain, in winter.  What an idiot.  I decided I’m better off not knowing what that guy was thinking, and continued on.
                I passed Pedlar and Skip, the two Tennessee Walking horses that live in a giant field.  I said hi.  I also passed Brown Dog.  I don’t know Brown Dog’s name but he’s the cutest darn lab in the world and sits in the driveway.  Never chases me, never barks.  What self-respecting chocolate lab doesn’t get excited to see a runner?  
                The last two miles of my run were simple, all downhill.  As I approached the Beast and prepared for the steep descent to my driveway, I thought about how good I felt, and how happy I was that I had gone for my run.  I thought about those first three minutes.  “The worst three minutes” of my day.  And I realized; those aren’t the worst three minutes.  Those three minutes are the catalyst to the best 50 minutes of my day.

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