The Soupster hears a runner’s monologue.
Guest Written by Lois Verbaan
“Another thing I love doing in Our Town,” Jo mused, “is the Alpine Adventure Run.”
The Soupster raised his eyebrows and looked through the steam rising from his mug. “Good for you!” he exclaimed. “An 8-mile run over the mountains isn’t a walk in the park. The extent of my racing involves getting coffee before noon,” he laughed. “How was the run?”
“Super fun! Lots of exercise, amazing scenery, and a two-hour, one-way conversation with no one to interrupt or disagree,” Jo replied.
“Talking to yourself for 2 hours?” the Soupster asked.
“Well, technically, thinking to myself” Jo said. “Picture this: You arrive at the beginning of the race and find yourself surrounded by the fittest people in Our Town, suddenly wishing you’d overslept. Before you know it, the starting gun is fired, and your thoughts are racing faster than your feet…
…Oh no! Why does it always feel like a full sprint at first? Okay, pace yourself. Look at all these people beside the road cheering us on. I wonder if I know anyone? Yep! Better pick up the pace so they won’t suspect I’m actually dying — right here in front of the grocery store.
…Okay, here we go. Start of the trail. You’ve got this. Tree root, mud, slippery planks – repeat! A runner slowing ahead. ‘Passing on the left! Cool tattoo!’ Hmmm, someone is not a happy camper. Time for positive self-talk: ‘I feel steady and grounded. I run with confidence. I am Zen.’
…I hate stairs. I hate stairs.
…Phew! The ridge at last. This sweat dripping in my eyes stings. Goodbye sunscreen. Another runner. Should I make noise, or be stealthy? ‘Whoo-hoo! Whoo-hoo! Keep your eyes peeled in case of bear!’ Yep, that got his attention! I should have had that second pancake for breakfast.
…Oh WOW! Sun illuminating bright green foliage and flowers all around me: Fireweed, lupine, dogwood. And look! OH. MY. GOSH. I am in heaven. I love these clouds filling the valleys, and the snow-capped peaks poking through.
…Eyes on the trail! Concentrate. Is anyone catching me? No, don’t look back. Enjoy the journey. Be grateful. Run to your own rhythm.
… Yes! Heading down. Lean forward and use gravity. Tray tables upright and locked. Good work, knees! Thank you, ibuprofen! On the road, let’s sprint to the finish just around this curve. Whoops! Just around the next curve. Nope. Next curve, for sure. WHERE ON EARTH IS THE FINISH LINE??
…I hear cheering. What a crowd! Some speed now would be nice. Hello, legs? Are you two listening?
So that’s how it went for two hours and one minute, Soupster!” Jo laughed.
“Well, I broke out in a sweat just listening to all that,” the Soupster said. “How are you feeling today?”
“Great, other than a few aches and pains everywhere below the waist – and the voice in my head is a little hoarse,” said Jo with a smile.
“Ah, I see,” the Soupster replied. “Best get a few days’ rest. It’ll do you both a world of good.”