I'm listening to a classic rock station Pandora Radio is constructing just for me based on the band Boston. So far Skynard has crooned the soul of a Simple Man, Asia has endured the Heat of the Moment, and Journey has pleaded for us all, please, Don't Stop Believin'. The hits just keep coming. I imagined myself stumbling and blistered toward the finish line, beside myself with pain, thirst, and stupidity, and begging someone for an ipod just to hear that Journey song. I think that one really sends me around the bend every time. There's something in Steve Perry's vocal on that record that blares such a singular authenticity, real pleading about a small town girl, living in a lonely world. And I suspect, at some point, during the marathon, I'll feel just like that girl, dying to get out, taking a midnight train going anywhere, and I'll want Steve Perry to pull me through. It's just a guess, but I can see it so clearly. And if he's good enough for my favorite sociopath, Tony Soprano, he's good enough for me.
I took more time off from running this week than I have since I started the training in December. (Queen is playing now. Fat Bottom Girls. God Bless Freddy Mercury.) Three days out of the sausage outfit. It scared me to take the time, scared me not to take it. I thought I might have forgotten how to do it, or my body might have closed up shop. I felt scared I would run the tiny three mile route, the one that used to be my big big goal, just get down Market Street to the Bay. Reward myself with a beautiful view. I counted my paces this morning wondering what my feet would feel like by Sansome Street. I couldn't push the worry down. I suppose it became an opportunity for me to practice re-focusing over and over on staying with my pacing. Keep my head in the game and my breath on the stride. Just a small run. A friendly jog. The weather was exquisite. A perfect mix of sun and breeze, enough warmth to get the old heart on track and enough wind to kiss the forehead. (AC/DC now. I had to skip The Who. Ever since that shit show they put on at Super Bowl halftime in February, I just can't face their music. That game was epic. I mean, I'm still happy for the Saints, but I feel scarred from that fifteen minutes up there with The Who.) I made it all the way down, still never shook the scared feeling. Maybe it's there for a reason. Maybe I'm supposed to just keep it by me to keep me honest or something. The race is really bearing down, and me? I'm stuck in a stupid pain problem. I'm looking forward to the shots. The pain is back to a totally bearable level, but I'd like it to just go. Bye Bye, Pain. Thanks for the motivation and all, but get the fuck out.
Another thing I noticed this morning about fear is that the kindness meditation that has worked so well for me recently didn't even occur to me as a tool to use. I've gotten pretty good at it lately (Scorpions, No One Like You) and even though the run only covered a short distance, I would have thought the words would have come to me. Apparently, I have to come to them. Ha. Wouldn't you know it? It's just like working on the book. This weird collaboration I seem to be building with my very self. I can drag myself out there, I can put one foot in front of the other, but I don't get help from this voice I'm working with until I actually ask for it. Or maybe I do sometimes and I don't notice it. That's how entitlement works, right? If you truly believe you are entitled to a thing, it will never occur to you that you might be stepping on someone's foot to get what's yours, because you just know it's yours. I think this whole thing has been fantastically weird. I wonder if I have done a good enough job explaining to you how I am such a terrible terrible applicant for the position of Marathon Runner. I am a lark. I am a long shot and a peripheral character. (War Pigs, Sabbath) I am also oddly committed to doing the weird thing.
The other day I saw a picture in my mind of something and I said to Ginger:
I have to talk to you about something I really want to do differently when we move.
I want to get a fish.
And I want him to be white and live in a nice bowl with a pretty plant and white stones and some coral. And he has this red thing on his head. Like he's wearing a ballcap.
Yes. And I want to name him Bacon.
I have never spoken about wanting a fish. Nor has it really occurred to me in like twenty years or more that I might want one. But as soon as I saw the little guy in my head, I knew it was how it had to be. That's how it is with the marathon. The marathon and Bacon are the same. Fated.
The run this morning was really quite nice, regardless of being present for the fear and tripping out. The pain was present but bearable. And I wore my Guns -N- Roses shirt to help me along. It worked. So if any of you know Steve Perry, see if maybe he's free on July 25th. I'd love to see him.