Gasping for air, people must think my head is about to explode, as they look in awe to my extremely red face… or is it becoming purple? Who knows! But the pounding feeling in my eyes surely is a sign of my heart going at 170bpm, and I’m unable to speak with my lovely sister who chitchats and lightly hops next to me, clearly forcing herself to run at half of the pace she is used to in a warm up…
I look at my watch, 5 minutes have passed, and I’m 500 meters from home and wondering why the hell did I ever agreed with this?
My sister runs 80km in mountain, I run… when I really really have to go to the bathroom more like 80 meters.
Just 4 minutes before, I had a chance to experience the lightness of running. For a brief moment I thought I was light… almost like when you dream about running were tiredness is not! The first 50 steps are energized, then your steps become heavy, until you feel every single step on the floor… speaking about living the moment.
On minute 1 and 2, I was still able to formulate sentences in response to my sister. After 3 minutes, I said my last words: “Speak at will, I will listen from now and reply you later to focus on my run”, in a desperate attempt to keep myself together. Never give in! Of course, focusing on my run is the worst thing I can do at this point. Every moment is extended to the maximum possible time perception.
It is not a specific pain, is mostly just tiredness caused by not enough air reaching your system. The world slowly weighs on me gradually… or perhaps all the pastéis de nata I had. (I know, super drama queen, so imagine when I am running!).
At 700 meters, I tell my sister I need to walk for a bit. She doesn’t let me. “cmon, I’m not even breaking a sweat”… I, on the contrary, have all my body screaming and my lungs wanting to expand into a balloon. It is a nice picture, me floating away because of my over extended lungs, surely would feel lighter.
“Just until that bench”, how my sister knows well the mind tricks of mini goal setting.
I focus on that bench, and hope to somehow decrease the distance between us both, visioning myself sitting there and rest for the remaining of the afternoon. The bench seems to have this weird effect of going further away from me instead of closer, some sort of an inverted tunnel vision. Small trip, nothing major. Didn’t fall this time.
I start to think about the times I dream about running without being tired. Maybe is a reflex of my impatience of waiting for results, or just myself tricking my own brain in thinking I’m making exercise. Whatever it is, I crave that lightness and feeling of being unbeatable, but running is not the answer for me. I can always throw the excuse of my hereditary back problem (I got all the genetic issues! Thanks mom and dad!).
This quick mind drift worked! The bench is now 15 meters aways and I start to slow down feeling I conquered something… how naive of me. My sister doesn’t even slow down. “It’s not this one Rita, is the other in front” An unpronounceable sound comes out of my mouth. I’m sure I just curse at my sister, but cannot really tell or have a clear memory of it.
Suddenly, a ripping feeling is felt on the left side of my waist. “Dôr de burro”, we call it meaning donkey pain, do not know the origin of such saying, but I surely feel non human right now. My sister keeps pushing for me “um, outro, um, outro” is her trick, and I start doing that for every step I take. It works for 10 steps! Enough to reach the other bench. I am finally able to walk a bit. A sort of whistle comes out when I breathe. A quick stop only! 4 more Km to go, which I didn’t realize at the time.
The next day I could not move…