I was finally able to get a photo of what Michael calls my nemesis, the male cardinal that visits the knot of weeds and vines along the chain link between Ana's house and mine. I've lived here ten years now and I've only managed this one shot. The thing is, he (the cardinal, not Michael) is not at all shy about being out and about and sitting in the open. The problem is that I'm too slow with the camera or unprepared and unarmed, so to speak.
Chasing and eventually shooting the cardinal was my second achievement of the week, the first was reaching the halfway point of my running meet-up which is 8 weeks long. Friday marked the end of week 4. That being said, I didn't go today. It's the first day I skipped for no good reason, though I did skip a day for a fairly good reason when the rain came down on a day during week 2. Today? Today I oozed into lazy despite visualizing myself all weekend long as a lithe and lean half-marathon runner (I make sure never to dream too big) running effortlessly along a dirt road in an unknown land.
I told my running coach last week during a run that I'd sometimes visualize myself running. I couldn't help it, the images would just pop into my head. My hair was never falling from a hair tie, I wasn't beet-red, my stride was long and even. I like that image of myself but it couldn't be more unrealistic. The reality is that I have a choppy stride, my calves hurt, and on Friday I said for the first time in 4 weeks, "I don't think I can do it". We hadn't even gone 3 miles.
The voice in my head that says, "What the hell do you think you're doing?" is paired up its opposite that says, "This'll be good for you. Eventually you'll be running 5 miles and you'll look back on this and laugh!" I'm not laughing. I've never, ever, visualized myself laughing about running and what it demands of me.
At least I'm not hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with a backpack that weighs half my body weight. This is the new message that I've been telling myself after starting the book, Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I bought it because the Kindle edition was $4, not because I really expected to like it but I do. I admire that she challenged herself, that she found her own way of working through sorrow and pain.
Last week I regrettably told a coworker that my hip was painful and I was sure it was due to running, to which she countered, "Well, it sounds like it's probably time to take a break from it then." I said nothing. Of course, this is why you're you and I'm me, I thought. I cannot stop. I'm working through all of this. I never thought it would be easy. What will it get me to quit? I write this remembering that I sent a note just a few hours ago telling my running coach that I wouldn't be going out today. BUT I'M NOT QUITTING! Maybe I will eventually but not just yet.
Here's to the slough and getting through it.