The Universe Says “No”

I have to complain. At this point, it’s all I can do.

Tomorrow is the big “Race For The Cure” road race, here in Raleigh (MSNBC’s #1 city, b.t.w.). A few weeks ago I signed-up to run it on my company’s “team” – really just a bunch of people who put their names on a list; there is no organization, or uniform, and not even a single group email went out between the “members”. Anyway, like I said, it’s tomorrow.

Because the temperatures last week went from the nice-and-comfy 70s to the hateful-and-oppressive upper-90s, I had to do my running in the mornings, when it was still only in the low 80s. Now, I hate running in the mornings; I hate doing anything in the morning besides sitting quietly with a cup of tea. Running in the mornings makes me fell physically sick: nauseated, weak, irritable, almost hung-over. But, since there was no way I was going to run when it’s 99 and sunny, I had to run in the morning. Besides, the race itself starts at 7:00am (which means i have to be at the shuttle-bus parking lot at 6:30, etc..), so I figured I’d better at least try to get used to running that early. And, dedicated runner that I am, I did that for a few days.

Last Saturday morning, I’m in the second mile of a long slow distance run, going downhill but not very fast, trying to maintain a nice smooth stride, when my right leg screams “STOP! STOP, YOU MOTHERFUCKER ! STOP RIGHT NOW !!”

Ok! Ok! I stopped and learned that I had just pulled or strained or tore or snapped one of the smaller of the muscles deep in the back of my right thigh. Fuck. I walked home, cursing my miserable life. At one point, I tried running again but couldn’t even manage a full step. Double fuck.

But, I guess it wasn’t a really severe injury, because it started getting better pretty quickly. And by Wednesday, I’m thinking there’s a chance I could maybe do the race after all. I’m able to walk without any problem and can manage a few tentative steps running without any real pain.

But, the universe wasn’t going to give up that easily. Having failed to beat me with heat and scheduling and injury, it went for more apocalyptic methods. There’s a big wildfire burning in a nature preserve about 100 miles east of here. Up until Thursday, the winds were blowing the smoke out to sea; but then they changed direction and started blowing the smoke inland, towards Raleigh. And by Thursday afternoon, the entire area was blanketed in heavy smoke. Just walking to the car is enough to get people coughing and rubbing their eyes. Running was, and remains, completely out of the question.

So, the universe has defeated me. I surrender.