The Mourning Run

The sweat comes fast, like eating Kung Pao Chicken in Green Curry Sauce. The years of smoking clog my lungs until I feel I can't catch my breath. I feel my pulse in my temple and the ground becomes wavy and infirm. It's only been one round from the driveway to the mailbox on the corner. Only 10 more trips to equal one mile. To think that ten years ago I ran three to five miles every day; it breaks my heart that I've slid so far down the Fat Hill. Of course, in my own defense, I am carrying an extra sixty pounds these days. My runs are at the same weight as most ruck marches when I was a 19 year old private, too young to know that some things you just can't do. So I run slow, deliberate. I try to remember old tricks I used in my youth.

"Keep your arms moving," my drill sergeant used to say, "Your feet will follow."

So I place all focus on my arms. Swing left. . . Swing right. . . Left again. . . Then I trip. My feet no longer pay any attention to my arms.

Then I look down and see the sweat stains on my shirt. Below my breasts (yeah, I've got man boobs). I want to cry but get pissed and push harder on running. I kick my knees high and decide to take the 30 degree hill to finish out the mile. I run it four times and walk it two. In the end I finish an approximate mile in about 15 minutes, three minutes slower than I ran two miles exactly ten years ago. Growing up wasn't easy, growing older is even harder.

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