Friday, May 4, 2012

Grinding it Out

I staggered around the house, a hangdog look on my face. A cloudy sky filtered soft light into the living room creating the perfect “hangover” ambiance: no bright lights, no loud noises. I avoided the light switches, wanting instead to fumble around in the semi-darkness. Mrs. Onthebusrunning came downstairs and asked, “Are you going to run this afternoon?”

I considered the question. “Decisions like that can’t be made right now,” I groaned.

It’s not what you’re thinking. It wasn’t a beer guzzling, mixed drinks, and wine kind of hangover. It was of the extreme exhaustion variety, tinged with heartache and letdown. At 12:18 a.m., the New York Rangers’ Marion Gaborik slipped the puck between the legs of Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby in triple overtime to end what had become a “New York Marathon” of sorts. When the puck crossed the line, Gaborik may as well have hit the power off button on Verizon Center because the steady hum of the crowd died in an instant.  I suppose they call it “sudden” death for a reason. The goal came so swiftly that we sat in stunned disbelief for several seconds before filing out with the rest of the “red army” of Caps fans into the humid, empty D.C. streets.

I’ve added Gaborik to the increasingly long line of Caps OT Killers who have sent me to bed disappointed in the wee hours of the morning, dating back to the late-80s. See Pat Lafontaine.

When I finally arrived back home, the clock read 1:45, and after a quick shower, 2:00 on the nose.
Four-and-a-half hours later, the alarm buzzed. I did not.

But as the day wore on, I felt life slowly returning as I regained motor skills, and the 7.2 mile run I had planned that had since been shortened in my head to a long with the dog, steadily elevated during the day to an easy three miler, to a five mile loop, to a, “What the hell, let’s knock out the whole 7.2.”

And so I did. It wasn’t the most glamorous run, but I trundled along through my trails and neighborhoods, grinding out the mileage so I could later mark it down in my log and not spend the night in self-loathing. As is often the case, there are few regrettable runs once you decide to lace up and get out the door.

And anyway, with RagnarCape Cod less than a week away, I’ll be running farther than those 7.2 miles and with far less sleep. And as the waves wash up on the New England shore at 2:00 a.m., I’ll wonder just what was I complaining about last week.

Until then, this runner needs another cup of coffee.

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