At some point, the visions you’ve been having converge with reality. Like now. For months I’ve been running with a future event rattling around in my brain, and now it’s arrived. 30 miles, run in six 5-mile segments over 24 hours. The headlamp is charged. The food plan is written. Clothing in piles.
I felt this convergence happening yesterday, in the morning, as my visions of running turned to butterflies in the stomach. I hadn’t expected that, but of course I should have. How many times have I been through this process?
This is how it goes. Ambition turns to intention, turns to preparation, which unfolds through effort and visualization, converging on and building to nervous energy. I could do without the latter, but maybe it’s the internal combustion I need to finally move me forward.
Once those first butterflies emerged from their cocoons, wings fluttering, I was fully in my head. I spent yesterday not getting much work done, distracted. I cleaned the house furiously. I did laundry. Finally, B suggested I write my whole plan on the whiteboard we use for Suffer Club, the initial pretense that it would allow her to know where I would be at what time, and how she could help.
In reality, she knew that putting the thing down in black and white would settle my mind a bit. But what have I been doing all these months but putting it all down in black and white. Irony. But it worked.
After weeks of gorgeous running weather, New England is springing its cruel punchline. I woke in the night to heavy rain on the roof. I drank this morning’s coffee with that rain turning to sleet, and now, as I type, fat, wet flakes of snow.
We’ll start in the dark, 10pm, and it will be wet. The second round is 2am. Still raining. There are simultaneous urges to push back to another date and also to say ‘fuck it’ and just get the thing done. We are leaning toward ‘fuck it.’
The convergence of two strong forces, anticipation and reality in this case, is seldom peaceful. It’s ok, I think. It will be ok. I will feel the way I feel whether the timing is right or not. It will be hard, whether we are prepared or not. It was never just a run, this thing. It was always an adventure, and adventure is what happens when your plans fall apart and reality takes hold.
I like to think that maybe there is no convergence. My imagination forms an asymptote with reality, and I’m following both lines as they approach each other but never meet. Maybe I only jump from one the other, and that’s where the butterflies come from, wondering if I have what it takes to make the leap.