Spoiler Alert! There are no photo’s!
Christmas Eve I received a text from Edie Reidel of Geaux Run. The quandary was a 20 mile trail run in Chicot State Park Monday morning. There was no hesitation I responded with haste, “I’m in”. She was delighted and my regret was immediate. What was I thinking, I hadn’t run Chicot in weeks and coming off of an injury I was certainly unprepared for 20 miles in the hills, to boot it was scheduled to rain. And rain it did.
Monday morning arrived on schedule and so did I. 5:30 I was perched in Geaux Run’s parking lot questioning my sanity. It was 40° and raining and my affair with my bed had been thwarted by my ego. The drive seemed short, primarily due to the conversations being had for the commute, although no one seemed to note that it was still 40° and raining.
We arrived at the trail head, exchanged the pleasantries that the morning sunrise would expect and off we were. There were 5 of us in tow; Me, Edie, Phil, Aaron & Denise. (To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people exist. That is all. – Oscar Wilde) As is normal protocol when I am bound by the desire to run I was to be lead out. The rain was light but the cold was sharp and fierce, we were all adorned with jackets and the yearning for more clothing was an unspoken bellow masked by smiles. I was uneasy, unsettled and nervous. Traversing ground I was once familiar now seemed all too foreign. I questioned every step, I questioned every turn and down hill maneuver. It was tumultuous, or so I thought. It wasn’t until close to mile 5 I realized I was having fun and in the time, slowly distancing myself from the group. Due to the amazing ability of the Salomon Speed Cross 3′s my uphills were fast and my descends were faster. We trudged along, wading in water sometimes knee high (ice cold and undesirable).
At mile 10 Chicot goes a bit flat, not traditional Louisiana flat, but flat for the standards of Chicot. It was at this point that I found my happy place. I hit a certain cadence and before I knew it, there was no one around me! I merely figured my body would bonk and the group would catch me. I convinced myself that I was a lead out man and the peleton would absorb me at the end, this helped me get past the fact that I wasn’t really prepared to run 20 miles. It was approximately mile 13 that I met up with Pain, although I didn’t recognize him at first. He seemed different. I remember the conversation exactly:
“Good morning Tim!”
“Good morning, I apologize but do we know each other?”
” Yes, we do. We’ve known each other for years, you don’t recognize me?”
“No I’m sorry I don’t.”
“You’ve lost weight…”
“Ha, funny Tim, funny indeed. So, I see you’re running.”
“Your powers of observations know no bounds, what do you want!”
“Well I was running back there with the group and I saw you up here all by yourself… alone… so I came join you. Although all that catching has me quite tired, do you mind if I just hold on to your legs for a while, ya know, to catch my breath?”
“Pain, I am not really in the mood for this, I am at mile 14 I have a 10k to go I feel good and this conversation is really starting to irritate me!”
“How ’bout this, I’ll just hang out in your knees, calves and feet for a bit then I’ll move somewhere else later!?”
“Whatevs, I’m done talking.”
Pain stayed put for what seemed to be an eternity in the lower extremities, every so often begging for attention from the mind in effort to engage in conversation.
“Ok Tim, I know you said you weren’t talking so just listen I have a deal, oh wait I think your shin is hurt again!”
“No it isn’t…”
“Oh, ok, well I was thinking, if I could just go to your mind, I would happily leave your legs alone, I will make one clean jumping motion and bazinga, in the mind. Cool?”
“You didn’t say no!”
Pain moved from my feet, clawed and climbed through my calves in to my quads via the knees battered the hips skipped the chest, stood on my shoulders and rested calmly in my mind.
“Pain? You done?”
“Yep, I think so – oh wait your knees hurt! No, your feet hurt! No, your quads hurt! What happened to that knee pain? Remember when you fractured your shin? Oh man that was hilarious!!! Hey, whatever happened to that old injury from when you ran in Houston? Is that another hill up ahead? Man that water is cold! You aren’t really prepared for 20 miles are you? Is that more rain?”
“Pain, I’m done!”
“I know you should just stop you probably wont -”
“No, I’m done! This is the end, no more trail, that’s my car…”
“But… how… I don’t…”
“Here’s the deal Pain, I don’t need you, you need me! I will make the same deal with you that I made with my conscience, if you don’t bother me, then I won’t bother you! Deal? … Pain?… Pain?… Hmm! Coward!”