All in, all out

Lighting and thunder, rain and wind, I don’t care. I’m going for a run.

The rain dripped down my back, slipping and tickling me the whole way down. It flowed into the corners of my mouth and sneaked its salty flavor through my lips and onto my tongue. The bolts flashed all around me, harrassing my wild claim that “the storm has passed, I’ll be okay.”

I went out slow. I started easy, but as I ran down the street-lit, dark glistening road, skipping puddles, avoiding slicks, my pace quickened naturally. These runs are why I love the sport. These runs are what I live for; go out easy and fresh, run tempo, let the pace quicken, begin to feel the burn, fight it, speed up, keep the legs rolling, take the turn down the final quarter mile stretch, push the pace, now its all out, last 200 meters, now I am shoving my feet into the ground, an all out sprint, head drops, lean forward, all form disintegrates, pure guts.

I hold the sprint, I know it hurts. But I am envisioning the last race of the season, Age Group National Championships. I am head to head with the soon to be number 2 in the 20-24 age group. It is an all out duel to the finish line. And the only reason that I am going to be national champion in a few seconds and he is not is because I have that extra gear, that kick that puts me on a different level.

I abruptly stumble to a walk, almost falling from the deceleration, my legs having become accustomed to the quick pace. My hands drop to my knees, heart-racing, lungs starving for oxygen. The rain continues to beat down on my bare back. The salt drips in my eyes and burns. I am the sole visitor to this intersection tonight. I stand at the crossroads of Palmyra and Confederate, pumping with adrenaline, psyched. I look up into the streetlight where the rain floats past its beam. The rains falls into my eyes and cleanses them, my eyelids flap open and close quickly from the rain.

Tonight I held nothing back. Tomorrow I go in for surgery round two. I get my hand once again cut open and the pins that once held my thumb together pulled out. I am taking my last gulps of water right now in attempt to rehydrate after depleting my body with the effort a few minutes ago.

The stress and anxiety that plagued me in the past couple weeks is a step closer to coming to an end. Just last Monday I cracked and thought that I could not make it. I was stressed beyond what I thought I could handle and it seemed overwhelmingly permanent. But I realize now, just as I always do, it was only temporary. I knocked out one of those stresses today. I am done with work after seven months.

Tomorrow will be one less thing to worry about. On August 20 when I return back to school, I will have yet another less worry. And once I end this reckless driving case that has plagued me for fifteen months I will have yet another stress left in my past.

Tonight I ran with all that pent up in me. And while consistent training and work ethic are what brought me to the ability to do what I did tonight, nothing beats ignoring all coaching and training bibles and running fast until I cannot run anymore. If I carry the inspiration or anger or commitment or desire or love of sport, whatever you want to call it to my national championships, it’s going to be one hell of a race.

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