Poem: running is almost euphoria

wait for the car
cross the street
calves sore
turn corner onto main road

glad i put on cap
sun is blinding at 8am
pull the brim down
still blinding
turn the brim to the right
off and on blinding
pull the brim down farther
ah running without squinting

how far today
feeling better than last saturday
feeling better than tuesday
are tight calves ok for steep 5k
are tight calves ok for rolling 10k
duck under the branch
yeah 10k today

first checkpoint
very slow time but body ok
sidewalk ends
running on sand shoulder
through santa rosa valley
nursery on left
field and humpy hills on right
passed halfway point without checking time
wave at 3 decked out cyclists
highway work crew sign pushes me against traffic
the three towers—my turnaround—are getting tall

as i pivot homeward
watch says i have reduced time
i accelerate
legs are not complaining
legs feel good

so different from last week
calves groaned and would not shut up
headache homed in on me as target
no air
turned around at less than a mile

legs feel relaxed and strong
head clear
lengthen stride

body stronger than all summer
best since spring
i float

almost euphoria
but euphoria
is a bicycle built for 2
forgets time
transcends physical boundaries
experiences true light
converts photons to shadow
ignites godspark

i look up at hill and increase speed
lungs lightly burn
crest hill and float

pure ease glides me
past checkpoint without marking time
fields behind
back on sidewalk
knees not tender
legs pistons
tell hot lungs to shut up

turn onto side street
fly home
fastest time in 5 months
some days running is almost euphoria

About Ben Unseth

Executive Director at Project Understanding (2014-2017), social service agency in Ventura, CA
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