THE MEATY VEGAN RUNS
I’ve got an exam coming up. For my motor licence. An exam. Tomorrow. I thought I was doing okay, but now I’m having trouble breathing.
On TV, Sven Kramer – a famous Dutch long track speed skater – is preparing for his much-anticipated Olympic 10,000-metre run in PyeongChang.
Eight years before, during the Olympics in Vancouver, he crossed the 10,000-metre finish line celebrating, thinking he’d run gold only to found out that he’d already been disqualified due to a mistake of his trainer’s. He didn’t make it in 2014, and now here he is. I can’t watch this.
I don’t care about the Olympics. Or skating. Or Sven Kramer, for that matter. But I’m panicking over an exam that, seriously, nothing depends on. It’s not like I have sacrificed friendships, opportunities, relationships, experiences, a whole lot of nights and a whole lot of food to have it all boil down to this moment where I cannot fuck up because this is my final chance to render it all worthy.
Unlike this guy on TV, who radiates tension as he’s pacing the stairs from the dressing room to the skating rink and back again, I am allowed fuck up.
I turn the TV off and sit in silence for a good fifteen minutes.
It’s not that big of a deal, I keep telling myself. It’s just an exam. That’s all it is. Nothing bad or irreversible will happen if you don’t make it.
My breathing’s at a point where I’m not sure if I’m chocking or just very hungry.
I put on my running shoes. This is what people do, right? I’ve read about it. They have a lot on their mind and then they run and it doesn’t necessarily solve their troubles, but it helps them take their mind off of it. By means of warm-up I perform 3,5 squats and then run out the door. My knees stiffen in the watery afternoon air, my calves tighten. I can feel the bump on my left lower leg from when I fell over in Laos.
Evy’s got an interval training in store for me. “Start slow”, she tells me. “Make sure to run a pace in which you can easily keep going.” I’m panting. Nothing serious happened in Laos. I was driving very slowly when my front wheel met a pothole. I tipped over and my motor bike’s footrest collided with my shin. It was nothing.
I’m running past my usual landmarks. It starts to rain. The music that’s accompanying my run annoys me. It’s intrusive. I shut it off. Now I only hear city sounds, the wind whistling along my earplugs and my own breathing. I’m still panting. Listening to my own breath, I try to find a rhythm. I can’t find it. I either breathe too slow or too fast. My side starts to twitch. I put the music back on, for distraction. Evy interrupts, telling me I’ve run for 20 minutes now, in a pace that’s way above my average. I had never fallen over with my bike before, not even during my driving lessons. What if it happens tomorrow?
So what if it happens tomorrow?
But what if something more serious happens tomorrow?
I can probably try and go for 15k today. Why not? Best I’ve done so far is 12. I can do 15. Let’s go for 15. I pick up the pace.
The music stops. I take shelter under a viaduct and check my phone. The battery’s dead.
Around me, cyclists and pedestrians gather, waiting for the rain to blow over.
I just stand there, looking into the direction I was supposed to go. The rain swipes across the asphalt. I turn around and head home. I’m so beat, I have to take walks in between. I arrive home soaking wet, and without taking a shower, plump down on the coach with a bag of potato chips which I finish in one go.
That feeling in my throat earlier?
I guess I’m going with hungry.
The Meaty Vegan is chronologizing her attempts at not eating anything animal while undergoing the bestial challenge of training for a half-marathon. ‘The Meaty Vegan Ran’ is from 2017, and the ‘The Meaty Vegan Runs’ covers 2018 and forward. You can find an overview here.
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