5AM Runner

The Devil Inside

insideAnd so my wife left me, again.  Packed her bags, got into her car with a big guy and drove off.  Well, the big guy is actually my son and they went away to Alaska for a week, so perhaps it is not as dramatic as it may seem.  Still – why Alaska? – you might ask, and that’s the question that’s been on my mind ever since I’d heard about the planned vacation.  Besides the jaw-dropping wilderness, astounding glaciers, icebergs, whales and other natural treasures, what is there to see, really?!  Look, some day when I am old and gray, I might just venture out there, and – as they roll me out in my wheel-chair onto the main deck, wrapped in a warm woolen blanket, drool coming out of the corner of my mouth – I will probably look up and finally see what most people say is truly a wonder that is different from any other place on earth.  But until then I have other things to do and other places to see.

Speaking of getting older, I always knew that my body would change to some degree after decades of serious abuse, though I never imagined that the changes would be so shockingly significant.  We all know that as we age, we are likely to develop wrinkles and a bit of gray hair, likely to lose some speed and agility, perhaps even lose some teeth…  As a young man, I could eat an apple without using my hands, punch a hole in a wall and look absolutely fresh only 5 minutes later.  No more - these days, I need to catch my breath and recover after walking up a flight of stairs!

But the physical deterioration is not even the worst part of it all!  You know what is?  The voice!  Yes, that voice that used to quietly suggest: “Skip a day, no need to run today – can simply do it tomorrow”  or “Hey, you ran enough already, ok to stop here” has now become an emphatic loudspeaker!  A soft whisper has turned into a screaming trumpet, increasingly more difficult to ignore.  The devil inside, it wants you to quit, to give up trying and to stop believing in yourself.  And where it was once easy to shut him up and to overcome the weak voice of self-doubt, as I get older – the battle is becoming more and more grueling.  And though I hate to admit it, I have been on the losing side of many such recent battles, quitting early or avoiding the tough parts of the morning altogether.

But let me tell you this – until the day I am sitting on the deck of that Alaskan ship, drooling on myself - I am not giving up the fight.  If I have to re-invent myself many times over and try something different, so be it, but giving up entirely is not an option.  Though the piercing scream of the devil each morning is making it ever so tough, I think we all have it within us to give him a cold shoulder and keep trying.