I took a new path through the forest. A 12-kilometre loop with 3 hills. A route ascending over 500 metres.
On the Saturday the hills all conspired against me. I was without focus and I couldn’t run within a rhythm. Before I was able to argue my case I had stopped midway up the first climb, defeated. I walked and ran, walked and ran until I reached the top. On the long downward track I then somehow convinced myself I had recovered. I almost felt light (light-headed perhaps). Yet with the next two hills I again stopped and walked bent over.
I recalled the following quote.
The successful running spirit is sometimes, of necessity, a mendacious one. Self-deception lies at the heart of endurance.
Mark Rowlands from Running with the Pack.
On the Sunday, the next day, I repeated the loop. More determined and focused, I ran the entire route. Not with any ease but at least with some aplomb. Each hill climb completed giving me the inner strength to run the next. Perhaps knowing the route, preparing the mind, helped. So much of what we do when we run, it seems, happens in the mind.
On the two runs I saw an echidna, its spikes a mexican wave as it moved. A swamp wallaby. And a dead cicada, shiny like green plastic, surrounded by a craze of ants. Gulliver surrounded by the Lilliputians.