Missing out

Staying up late and drinking isn’t part of the training regimen of most successful runners. I was meant to do 26 km this morning with a friend, and we’d arranged to meet at 5:15 so we’d be done before breakfast. I hauled myself out of bed with 4 hours sleep in me, got dressed and went down for my run.

My friend never turned up.

After 15 minutes waiting, I set off on my own, figuring if I didn’t start, I’d never finish. I still didn’t finish.

I did 20 km less than intended, at glacial pace. When you’re aiming for 5:30 kilometres and you’re doing two minutes slower, something is very wrong. I tried to push myself to go faster; I got slightly slower. I planned to run four laps of the Marina rather than do a long out and back; I managed one lap, then packed it in, standing next to a building site that stank like raw sewage and seemed to be a breeding ground for flies.

Broken hearted, I slowly crept back home in the dark.

On the corner of Shenton Way, where a new shopping mall has opened and through the glass I could already see staff, at well before 7, setting up in the cafĂ©, my friend appeared from the gloom, jogging on at reasonable pace. There’d been a missed text: he’d rescheduled our start for 5:30 and so we’d just missed one another. He tried to get me to follow him, but he was doing 4:30 pace; I was broken alright, and doing any more would just break me more.

I walked home, passed out on the sofa, sweating into the cushions. At 8, my daughters came and played around me, but couldn’t wake me. At ten, I woke, inexplicably returned to my bed. The day was just begun, or already over. Who’s to say?

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