I Run Because It’s Just You, Me, And the Concrete

by SJP

Everyone is like, What the hell Sarah, you ran 18 miles; who does that?! 

Shit, I have no idea.  A crazy person maybe?   A girl who’s off her rocker wanting to sign up for a long distance race in NYC only because her Ex Boyfriend lives there ? 

Yeah probably.  And I’m that kind of girl I guess, who pushes up 18 exhausting miles of hills to get to the mirage of his face at the top, and turns every loop of the course with the hope that his spectating support will get me through the miles.  I run myself into hours of delirous and stalk the other runners to gradually pass them, daydream about ice baths drawn by him and wonder if I want to vomit from running blindly in close proximity, the hot dog stands and falafel carts, or the taxicab fuel from the streets.  The hurt all mixes together as I approach 3 hours and I stop briefly for water, wipe the sweat and sunscreen from my eyes and look for him over my shoulder in Central Park, grit my teeth through the pain of his absence and merge back into the herd of runners. I cramp in my legs, heart, stomach, and lungs and hear the paternal voices warning about degenerating joints and arthritis–but rarely think to quit. 

I keep running because it beats bird watching, because it’s better than coin collecting. I’m running for someone and away from something at the same time and across the finish line I limp to shaded grass hating the aches in my body; hating the suffering muscles and throbbing body but I know after every race, especially this one he was supposed to see, it’s always worth it…