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Breathe, just breathe. Breath goes deep, it feels so cold it burns – my side hurts, the sharp stab of an oxygen deprived stitch – (come on, you can describe running better than this!) – step, step, tap, tap, one foot out, then the other, pace yourself, just be absorbed in the moment, don’t think about the distance, pay no attention to what’s far off, it only makes it worse – Zen it out, live in the moment, oh God, I’m going to puke – oh it hurts – my mouth is sticky, I can’t swallow my spit – ka whoo – I spit it out, end over end, a white bubbly sticky goo – water, I could drink a bucket, I could suck on a fire hydrant.
Running on the beach, the sand gives way, but it gives no traction, but I feel I could run for days running in the desert at night – in the smooth cool dry desert evening, I get my second wind and I could run all night. I don’t want to stop. I just want to run, to feel the breeze from my speed, to feel the air, its smooth, slow rhythm, in-and-out of my lungs – past my nose, into my windpipe, life-giving molecules crammed into my lungs so tightly I feel I may explode – to feel my heartbeat – I’m so alive; this is a moment of existential perfection (what do I know about existentialism? – learn!), a battle against nihilism, a defiant strutting sneer at existential angst – the extreme moment of knowing, the moment of extreme knowing – I run, I breathe, I hurt, I keep going, I breathe some more, I feel the universe sail past and I know that I am.
[Picture - Attic Black Figure Lekythos, ca. 550 BC, depicting two racing runners. University of Pennsylvania Museum Object ID MS739.]