Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So I'm Superstitious

Last year I was taken by despair upon finishing the 21.1km half marathon. The sudden massive sensory destimulation got to me and I was crying sweat heading into the baggage collection.

This year it was the reverse. My emotional/mental breakdown began for reasons unknown at 6pm on Saturday night. My only theory is that I'd reached a point in time where I actually could let go and not be letting down other people as a result.

I went Yossarian and was overcome by a sudden desire to not wear clothes anymore. I shut myself in my room and drew, gradually getting more and more overwhelmed with emotion.

Consciously I told myself to hold off on the breakdown until I'd done the run. Then I eventually realised that if it was going to come now I should let it, there was no gauruntee I'd be able to tomorrow.

Thus I let the full weight of Shafika's death and the fact that tomorrow when I finished the race I would once again be all alone with nothing to do hit me.

This was depressing.

Then I opened up a new .txt file and wrote all the shit I had to do to feel better about myself. This made me feel better about myself, and I intend to keep working through that list.

I think more than anything though, I have these breakdowns when I get sick of being me. It takes energy being me, and thus every now and then I just need to retreat back into myself, be alone and recharge.

I also get superstitious at these times. I look for external sources of energy and inspiration. This is somewhat hypocritical of me, because I firmly believe the answer is never somebody else, the answer is something we have to create ourselves for ourselves by ourselves.

So I got creative.

I took one of my surplus sharpies and penned the number '23' on my left wrist. This is an accessable place to keep reminders. '23' should need no explanation, but in case it does it is Michael Jordan's number. Jordan is characterised by his relentless desire to win, relentless. He drives toward the basket, he expects all his shots to go in. It is the perfect mindset when you are trying to run a half-marathon faster than you have run any long distance race before.

I've done this before, but it was not enough this time, I switched over and wrote '37' on my right hand wrist. 37 is the number of weeks Thriller was number one, it is also the number Ron Artest wore in the 2009-2010 NBA season, Ron Artest after winning the championship in Boston with the LA Lakers turned to a news reporter and said 'I would like to thank my psychiatrist' Ron Artest is crazy, but got his head checked and kept calm to come up big when they needed him in the playoffs and particularly game 7 of the NBA finals. Ron Ron was on my right wrist in case I went crazy, incase I had an emotional episode before the finish line.

I also had some beads sent me from South Africa that had been blessed by an African Priest, now I'm not religious, but I am it seems superstitious. And I had recieved a card with the blessings on the beads I now wore upon my neck. I took my sharpie and wrote these words on my chest for the run, believing that once labelled I would indeed possess these qualities 'Faith, Hope, Love, Courage, Trust, Endurance, Protection...'

For those lay to the marker community, Sharpies are a breed of texta, not a knife just incase you were starting to worry.

Anyway, turns out sharpie ink isn't that easy to wash off.

But when it came to the run, everything inverted. I felt fantastic. I overtook people the whole time. I thought I might be a chance to do it in 1 hr 30 minutes. I overtook the 90 minute pacemen before the halfway mark. The more I ran the better I felt, the harder I ran.

I also decided last minute to wear my giraffe stockings, even though the nylon doesn't breath well it just felt a bit somber wearing all black. It turned out to be the biggest competitive advantage. Every spectator complimented them. I got massive cheers from a cheersquad dressed in pink. It was the biggest boost.

I only got overtaken in the last 800m or so by guys that turned out to be marathon runners. If you are running a marathon in under 2:30 you are seriously fucken fast, so I didn't mind. I sprinted across the line to finish in 1:25.33 (1:27 something by the starting gun) In ballarat speak that's 3.5 laps of the lake at 24 minutes per lap. It was the run of my life. All my best runs have been characterised by superstitious trinkets and emotional breakdowns.

I'm superstitious it turns out. What of it?

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