It was never supposed to be this way. This painful. This emotionally punishing. This repugnant.
Through the bubbling snot and incessant flow of liquid phlegm that needs constant and shameful ejection onto the unfortunate hedgerows and crumbling brick walls that I stumble past, I churn these thoughts.
Gasping for air after yet another misfired missile of phlegm-dribble that leaves a string of shame from my chin to my shoulder, I see another voluntary sufferer approaching. North-going zax to my South-going zax. But I’ll gladly step aside because, dressed in high impact fluorescent yellow, she’s important, she’s confident and she’s not suffering at all. She’s done this before. I tug my borrowed hat over my crimson ears and burning cheeks and adopt a pro grimace, like I’ve been at this all morning and am bearing the burden admirably.
The pace quickens temporarily and the briefest eye contact signifies the faintest connection as tracks are crossed, before the pace slackens – lungs and throat burning from the very air that I claim to miss so much. It was cold when I started out, but sweat now pools in places that don’t appreciate it. The build up begins again, I choke back a mouthful but immediately belch up an ache and swallow my breath, blocking my ears.
Then followed probably the best porridge anyone ever tasted.
Tomorrow I will run again.