The twenty-seventh hour of uninterrupted wakefulness is when the tables begin to turn against the sleep-deprived. Whereas twenty-four is a milestone at which anything seems possible (“I could just do without sleep entirely!”), the next few are a reminder of the body’s limitations, and, furthermore, of the stupidity of ignoring them. I sat on the rear bumper of a friend’s car at hour twenty-seven, staring disconsolately at my shoes. I began to take stock of the gear I was wearing: the $90 Pure Connects, the $40 shorts, the shirt that the wonderful folks at Southern Runner decided I was fit to wear. What was any of this investment worth, if I was willing to sacrifice it all so brutally by racing after a full night of partying? Where is the line drawn between experimentation and poor life decisions?
The line, I would posit, is where a benefit is forfeited, and a loss incurred. And though pulling out of the race is a memory which will sting for many years, the greater defeat occurred long before that, when I decided not to pay my own health, and the race, a proper level of respect.
But this storm has been brewing for some time now. I’ve been enjoying races less and less over the past several months, and having greater difficulty motivating myself for any new challenge. The legs and lungs matter very little when compared to the love. I’ve competed many times without the first two, but cannot fathom running without the third.
I’d love to be glib and jocular; to have a good laugh at my own idiocy, and move on. But the better parts of my nature have more to do with sincerity than frivolity. I’m happy to be on the butt-end of your jokes, however (a fact to which Kristin Depp will surely attest).
So, where to from here? I wish I knew. Muscle memory dictates that I keep running, because I tend to get restless and twitchy after a day spent sedentarily. As for the condition of the mind that’s placed me in my current predicament, I suppose I’ll let y’all know when I’ve diagnosed and fixed it.