It’s the last Friday in April and before I start work for the day I thought I’d note that I’ll be ending it by pulling on a pair of sneakers, meeting up with my partner in crime near her office, and starting the latest season of the Commuter Runs. I think this is the third summer? I packed light for my day, left all the unnecessaries at home, hopped a bus (coincidentally joined by another runner, one of the new folks who also works downtown and who expressed an interest in the commuter run club) and made my way to the office. When the day ends, I’ll slip into my gear, leave my civvies under my desk (to be brought home on Monday) and boot up the Garmin. Sixteen klicks of post-work, pre-weekend run-bliss await. But now I’d better go earn it. (Well, as soon as I finish my coffee.)
Conversations with Magpie is a (new) long read series I’m working on as a kind of ten year retrospective on the themes in my running blogging efforts.
I just realized it. I have filled a decade with so many plodding klicks, one foot after the next foot after the next foot, for hundreds of thousands of steps adding up to a distance that is taxing to bend to a manageable perspective. I’ve now filled a decade with this running.
Magpie: I’ve been watching you.
You never say much, but I know. After all these years. I see you there now, of course. I didn’t notice at first, but you’ve been there since the beginning. Nearly the beginning. Not those first few months.
Did you know that I’ve mentioned you in my writing on occasion?
Magpie: It doesn’t surprise me. I don’t read it. Actually, I don’t read.
There are many words alluding to our brief conversations. Multiple posts about our quiet moments together. I’ve been writing all this, of course. I’m the guy who recorded it all for posterity. I saved it for something. Saved it for some reason I haven’t quite figured out, not yet.
Magpie: How will you figure it out?
If nothing else I figure that posterity let’s me look back. I figure that posterity is the prism through which I can bend my perspective into something worth looking at. Ten years later that all seems a little more clear.
Magpie: Tell me. What happened before we met?
I’m looking back now. It shreds through the delicate coherence of my mind to read the first few fragments of it all. There was almost what you might call desperation in the words. I had been something, then I wasn’t it anymore, and then I wanted the ineffable bits of it back once again.
Once, I Ran Ten K. (January 2007)
Two thousand seven is the year of incremental changes.
I wrote that. Plotted a destination in my mind, a spot on the distant horizon. Looked back. Or perhaps forward. Or.
A nudge here. A bump there. A baby step along the path to enlightenment. With one month down, it’s time to run. I used to be able to run quite well. Not so many years ago, maybe —and for two summers in a row we participated in a local ten klick race. Timed respectably, too.
Optimism veiled in desperation. You see how this began? With a plan that was too simple.
Magpie: Simplicity is best. Take it from me.
Well, sure. It began with the simplest of ideas. It began with a plan, a hope, a feeling of wanting something slightly different. A yearning for those few years prior, before the roots of adulthood had fully ravelled round my legs.
I used to jog after work. I’d even go so far as to say I had reasonable endurance. I was a runner —kinda. Somehow that has dwindled. Age, I guess.
Magpie: You were thirty.
Yeah. Back then this achingly ancient concept.
Though both of these would prove to be my eventual allies, you know.
Who can say? It’s complex.
However — a light at the end of the tunnel. Just over a week ago we inherited a treadmill. Long story. And not a particularly interesting story, either. It’s just there now, in the basement, waiting. And after all, two thousand seven has been declared my year of incremental changes. I started running last week. Slowly. Baby steps. With a reasonable number, and that is how I’m working my way up: incrementally. An easy pace. A warm up pace. A good walk. A slow jog. Six minutes. Eight minutes. Little more than a solid trot.
I’ve set a few goals: I’d like to run another ten klick race this summer. I’d like to run it as well as I did back in two thousand three and two thousand four.
At the time the pinnacle of my athletic career. I should say.
Magpie: Nothing to brag about. But a start.
Yeah, a start. Everything needs a start and starts are usually unfocused in a way that is never really clear until the story reaches a climax. It’s all I had: a pair of memories. A backwards goal on a forwards path.
So — it starts. And I’m noting today, very specifically, simply, frankly, because I came home from work and I ran (at a twelve minute mile pace) a whole mile. One mile. Sounds sad. Sounds weak. I know. But baby steps, remember.
Magpie: Did it?
Loosely. That optimism veiled in desperation pushed me forwards down my backwards path for a few weeks. I remember bits of it. I remember logging time in the dark basement. I remember putting in my time within the most minimal boundaries of progress. I remember running, recording these barely-worthy spans to just to say it was done, to get the heart beating ever so slightly faster, and then check-boxing a grand success.
It was the optimism that eventually broke me. Do you remember?
Magpie: You didn’t know me then.
Right. How could I? I was jogging in ten minute stints in my basement with the oversized plan of calculating enough distance, somehow, unfathomably, mathematically beyond scope, to tread the imaginary thousand or more klicks from that same basement backwards, back to the coastal city from which we’d moved three years prior.
Magpie: You were running to Vancouver on a treadmill?
It was my goal, yes. It was my goal in merely the most mathematical of fashions.
Running to Vancouver (February 2007)
Just to be completely oddball about this whole fitness thing, I’ve decided to make it both more concrete and more abstract all at the same time. I’ve made it concrete by assigning a quantitative goal. I’ve made it abstract by attaching that quantitative goal to a random fiction and put said fiction into an electronic format.
Magpie: Once a geek, always a geek, huh?
I’m a quantitative goal kind of guy. I’ve been around for thirty-odd —emphasis on odd— years…
Magpie: Turning thirty sure did a number on you, huh?
Mortality is scary.
Magpie: Mortality is just more math.
…and I know this is what tends to work for me and my neurotic little brain. I’ll be keeping track of my running and for every klick I run I’ll record it and add it to the total. The abstraction is then my goal to run from Edmonton to Vancouver. This run will only occur hypothetically of course, but the total klicks (eleven hundred and sixty klicks according to Google Maps) will be my real destination.
My treadmill measures in miles, not kilometers. I’ll be converting using the factor of 1.61(x) based on what the treadmill says. This could take a while, so sit back and shake your head.
Magpie: The suspense is killing me.
Then I’ll spare you further agony with some of my own. Two weeks later I was already writing of my impending failure. The treadmill didn’t get me all the way to Vancouver. In fact, it barely made it out of the city.
Short Circuit (February 2007)
A stumble, tripping me up in my running efforts has emerged. A sporadic problem with the circuit breaker on the treadmill is cutting short my kilometers. According to the little label on the breaker switch, the treadmill is rated for 10 amps. It’s plugged into a 15 amp circuit. Everything should be right as rain, but anywhere from three to ten minutes into a jog, the built-in breaker on the treadmill trips and the belt bobs to a standstill. I’ve got the electrician-of-the-family looking into this mystery but for now, other than trying a few new electrical options over the ensuing days, my progress is impeded.
I was thwarted by the limits of my hand-me-down technology. More time was spent debugging a system than debugging my plan.
Magpie: It sounds lonely. A man and a broken treadmill in his dark basement.
You really have no idea.
People ask me why I so deeply despise treadmills and it is difficult to impress upon them the nuances of this exact sentiment. They are lonely, functional, recording machines designed for a single purpose. The ten years that followed this pathetic attempt at mathematical fitness-making has proven to be as much a social endeavor as is has been of athleticism. Marathons are not the product of four hours of plodding, but by the push to move through a crowd and under the sun and across gritty asphalt. You could log forty-two klicks on a treadmill, but would you call it a marathon?
I’m getting ahead of myself.
Magpie: You are. As I said, I didn’t know you yet. Though I do get the sense of a looming break in more than your little machine. Your spirit. Your goal. Your optimism. Weren’t you still moving backwards at this point?
No. But I was pretty much standing still, even by the base standards of a treadmill.
Other than resetting the circuit every few minutes whilst running, I’m limping to Vancouver these days.
Limping. Limping but still moving.
Unseen in a dark basement.
Magpie: It conveys a little creepy when you put it that way.
It’s been ten years. Maybe it was a little creepy. Or maybe it was a little shy. Or maybe it was a little optimistic and naive.
I wasn’t writing much on the subject, but for some reason when I did I was still attempting to convey glimmers of that optimism between the few scattered data points of my mathematical fitness efforts.
Magpie: If it were me, I would have left the lights off.
I should have, admittedly, but then I would have neither the posterity of those memories nor the perspective they are now giving us both. A month of short jabs at what even now I’d think of as an epic running goal, and I assume I could the house of cards my plan had been built upon.
Yet the unravelling of the plan is interesting. At first I lash out at my tools before eventually ceding my shortcomings to myself. Mostly.
Things in Mind On Running (March 2007)
If you have been watching the little meter sloooooooooowly tick upwards, you may have noticed that progress has been a little slow. I hate to blame something in particular, but I’m going to anyhow. It seems my little friend electricity and I have something of a disagreement.
Magpie: Damn you, law of physics!
Are you mocking me? I probably deserve that.
I, for example, think that by unplugging everything else on a particular circuit to run a treadmill for a short duration is a pretty fair compromise. It takes time. If I forget to plug the deep freezer back in, or re-activate the furnace then we have a problem. Electricity on the other hand considers this insufficient and continues to demand sporadic breaks at inconvenient times during my healthy-paced afternoon jogs. This is frustrating. And I’m at my wit’s end about how to satisfy the unruly beast that is 120 volts of copper-riding energy in my basement.
And then a few days later, this.
Out of Shape Sucks (March 2007)
I admit. Progress has been slow.
First, the whole treadmill thing has me in a bit of a bind. It works. Sporadically. But sporadically is more akin to frustration when one is depending on something for sheer reliability. I was spoiled by the gym.
I should mention that there was a brief moment when I paid for a membership at one of those fancy gyms. I even bought some personal coaching. That’s the trick though: it seemed like a great idea from a dark, lonely basement. Nostalgia. It rears up once again. The golden age of backwards, long ago, before suburbia and work and the ever creep of age crushed my dreams, whatever those indistinct dreams were.
Those high-end treadmills have a way of leaving one with something to be desired in the realm of home-quality fitness equipment. Instead, I bought some new runners and have been weather-watching for opportunity to get out on the streets. It’s not the cold so much but the ice on the sidewalks that slows me down.
Keeping track? I’ve left the city limits.
Keeping track of my numbers, I asked. I definitely was. It wasn’t a large number. Here I’m still dealing in my too optimistic mathematical abstractions. I know it too.
I know I suck, but one step at a time. Pacing is everything.
My first real outing (with the dog in tow) netted a wheezing one klick.
I was out of shape. Really. One klick bowled me over and left me broken.
That was the kick. It all fell down right there.
All the treadmilling. All the plodding backwards or forwards or just bouncing up and down on a plastic track through ten minute stints in my basement with the oversized plan of calculating enough distance, somehow, unfathomably, mathematically beyond scope, to tread the imaginary thousand or more klicks, all of it meant so very little when I actually stepped out of the house and onto asphalt.
My goal remains the same, but I’m adjusting it to the point where I can join a running class when the new Running Room location opens in April.
I’m thinking the “Learn to Run 5K” class would be a good start.
It would have been.
But I didn’t.
At least, not at first. Actually a week or so later I confirmed the news that I was going to be a father. That has a way of pulling you out of the sulky, backwards nostalgia that one tends to cling to while traversing those chaotic and frustrating between spaces of life. I would not be sprinting across that space. I packed away the treadmill, stopped recording my mathematical accumulations of my pre-parenthood baby steps, and all-too-quietly ceased writing on the topic of running.
Magpie: Not permanently. Right? Obviously.
No. But that first year, or the next ten months of it at least, has little to do with the chronology of my running life.
Magpie: Will you tell me?
Next time. I think that’s enough looking back for the moment.
Things were going pretty good for a week there. I fit in six runs over eight days. I pulled off a couple solo jaunts. I did a nice long fifteen klick tour with the crew. And I even did another (more) successful tempo. And then my sinuses decided that they hadn’t been infected in a while so promptly filled up with snot and left me in a cottonheaded daze on the couch for four days. Day five I played it safe and took an extra day of “I don’t trust you sinuses” rest, and now on day six I’m hoping I strong enough to get back into the rhythm. Lost… almost a whole week of training on a short schedule. Drat!
It’s officially the middle of March. The ides…. so beware.
Or… y’know. Carry on. I won’t be. Not like I have been at least. Something has got to be done about my running life.
So, I joined the group for a short tempo sprint on Tuesday evening. The cold temperatures have faded just as quickly as they arrived. That morning it was wool hat weather and a brisk sprint to the transit centre from my truck. That evening it was four degrees above zero and everything was melting into brown puddles of street slop. The regular Tuesday evening run was in daylight-savings pre-sunset, it was almost tropical, and I was feeling pretty good. Mostly.
Now, maybe I was a bit overdressed.
Maybe I was slightly dehydrated.
Maybe we didn’t warm up quite as properly as I would have normally liked.
Maybe I shouldn’t have had spicy chicken for lunch.
Or maybe I need to (finally) hit that reset button.
I’ve been on a bit of a break for the last four months. Breaks are occasionally required. Breaks are occasionally deserved. I ran New York and followed it up with a half marathon in Anaheim the weekend after. I was spent. I was tired. I was stressed from pushing through life with the marathon monkey riding my back the whole way.
So, I’ve been on a bit of a break for the last four months.
I’ve been knocking off little more than a couple casual runs every week. A lazy winter trot here and there. It was always a blizzard or too snowy or too icy or too dark or too… something. I’m full of excuses when I want to be. A little too much rich food. A little careless with my weekday dessert rules. A slouch on the couch beats an evening four klicks. Sleeping in wins out over a morning bike ride. And always just a bit more of a putting off of the ever-compounding interest on my growing fitness debt.
So, I joined the group for a short tempo sprint on Tuesday evening. Just three klicks. Admittedly faster than my winter trots but hardly a record and I’ve run half marathons at the pace I ran for those three klicks. I kicked it out of the gate, paced Ron for about two hundred meters, then fell back. By the time I rounded the corner I was sucking air like a rogue shop vac. By the time we hit the turn around I actually felt for a few seconds like was about to puke.
I walked for twenty seconds. Then resumed at a slightly more plodding pace to pull up last in the gate back at the shed.
I need to hit a reset button.
And I’ve said it every time I’ve made some excuse. I’ll kick it back up to full speed in the spring. I’ll break the break. Promises… promises… promises.
So here’s the deal: In April, barring something crazy, injurious, or manic happening, I’m going to aim for five runs per week: Monday through Sunday… five runs of at least four klicks, two days of break, and probably much more distance than that implies when the shoe rubber actually hits asphalt.
Leading into April? Well, I’ve got half of what’s left of March to get from nearly-barfing-tempo to whatever is needed for the following month. That’s going to mean getting back into my evening run routine again with some solo neighbourhood slogs. Perhaps an early morning Saturday saunter before the pancaking hour. Figuring out how to squeeze in some personal motivation between the cracks of everything else.
Of course, if I didn’t write it down, it was going to be measurably more difficult to motivate myself. Thus… it is written. It has been recorded. Published. Official..ized.
By May I’d like to start running home from work again.
By June… well, by June I’ll be a couple hardcore races into this season, so June better be running a lot more smoothly than March, and hopefully… hopefully that sets the tone for a positive summer of great running.
Reset button, consider yourself pressed.
Sunday’s run was one of those days when you go out running, and you’re only glad you went out because the experience of it is (a) something that needs to be shared to be appreciated, and (b) leaves you with both a story (as in “remember that day…”) and a point of comparison for all future runs that will undoubtedly have better trail conditions than this one.
The temperature was hovering just around freezing, and maybe even a bit above. We had accumulated a couple centimeters of fresh, wet snow overnight. And everything instantly began to melt just enough to become a lake of cold, sloppy slush on every possible surface.
By the time we’d reached the relative dryness of the gravel river-valley trails, we’d traversed enough puddle-laden asphalt that our feet were soaked.
Every step was a sloppy little splash. Every step squeezed a little more icy water between our numb toes. Every step had us yearning for a dry pair of socks back home.
I slept Sunday night with wool socks on.
Pictures? Yes. I brought my GoPro! The following are animated GIFs. Click each to view, wait a few seconds for it to load, but make sure you’re on wifi because they are pretty big downloads.
I’ve been doing quite a lot of pondering lately on the topic of mindfulness.
Y’know, mindfulness… “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment” (quoth the dictionary) or also known as a way of steadying the flutter of an overly active brain.
Some people perceive mindfulness as a kind of spirituality-light, or an offshoot of meditation. Many people who do yoga, for example, I’ve been given to understand practice the stretching exercises because it has the parallel benefit of relaxation and mindfulness mashed into a physical kind of sport. A number of years ago I tried Tai Chi, which became a kind of slow motion yoga meets Kung Fu thing.
Other folks seem to skip the whole effort and just douse their grey matter in chemicals, like ethanol or tetrahydrocannabinol …which having only really dabbled in the former and feeling like I understand how these might act as an easy-quick fix for a too-busy mind, I personally think they lack the long term payoff of actually earning inner peace. It’s a cheat.
I think mindfulness could probably benefit many people, but then I also think there are likely those of us with busier brains than others, or at least some minds are more apt to flutter from the parasympathetic conditions of the real world. Some people are just enough out of sync with the vibe of the norm that a good balance is trickier to find. The crazy universe bothers us more. The stupidity pokes parts of our brains that don’t get poked in other more aligned heads.
So I frequently seek some balance and clarity in various thought-out methods of my own.
I’ve been writing for years about the benefits of running and mindfulness. I love running with friends, but when I go out for a solo dash around the neighbourhood there is a meditative benefit that I perceive despite being difficult to quantify in any meaningful way. I just… feel… more balanced after six klicks through the streets. It’s not sitting on the floor cross-legged and ohhhhming buddhist-like chants, but it is a kind of vacated awareness, the mind given a half hour’s break from anything besides moving legs and avoiding obstacles. There is a quasi-zen quality to a peaceful run.
I’ve been doing quite a lot of pondering lately on the topic of mindfulness because I’ve been having fleeting moments of mindfulness-like clarity that are emerging from something new in my life: playing the violin. As I write this I’ve logged nearly a hundred hours of focused practice on the instrument, which is enough for me to say that I’m starting to feel a certain level of confidence on the instrument. I’m not ready to do any major public performances, no, but I am acutely aware that my practice time has become divided into two distinct forms: the times when I am focused on learning and the times when I am focused on playing.
To be clear, there is a big, thick fuzzy line blurring any obvious distinction between the two kinds of practice time… but there is now a line where there had once just been a blur. So, when I am playing to learn I focus on technique, hone my time on repeating short segments to get them as close to perfect as my beginner violining skill will allow, and devoting the mental cycles of my brain to improving my playing. But, when I am playing to play I focus on the music, ignore minor mistakes and start to lose myself in the flow of notes and the feeling of the sounds I’m creating, and my mind is freer to drift into those meditative spaces.
When I just play to play, and it is still a fleeting and rare experience, I’ve started to taste the fringes of that same kind of mindfulness that I’ve been able to find in a solo run. That is obviously very cool, and I’m sure I’m not the first to notice this (though I never felt that way about the saxophone because it was always a bit of effort to play either for school or when I dabbled as an adult for fun.) In fact, I’m pretty sure there is probably epic literature on the subject of music and mindfulness somewhere. It must be a thing that musicians achieve, maybe even consistently, after picking up an instrument and playing for hours. Why else would music be such a integrated aspect of our culture?
The other night I played for an hour. Just played. I ignored the stuff I was supposed to be practicing (hopefully my teacher isn’t reading this and judging me right now) and I just played some of the “fun” sheet music I’ve collected over the last five months. Just played. Lost myself. Let my brain wander. Then looked at my watch and realized an hour had gone by and the storm between my eyes had calmed a little bit.
If that’s not mindfulness I don’t know what is.
I know a few people who read my blog started reading it — continue reading it — because at one point I wrote a lot about running. That hasn’t exactly been the case lately, I know, and I really do have a few reasons for that, some good, some not as good.
A Good Reason: I’m on a bit of a winter running break
I’m not an Olympic athlete. I’m just a guy who runs. I’m just a dad with some free time that I devote to a sport that I love. And occasionally — I think I’ve even written about it — a guy just needs a break. I mean, even after a summer of marathon training, I’ve still been running. Just barely tho: trotting around the neighbourhoods. I’ve been plodding through the snowy trails when the weather cooperates, but I wouldn’t exactly call it training. One or two runs a week. Some vague goals. Pretty much as recreational as one can get without completely putting the legs in an elevated and reclined position.
A Bad Reason: I should be writing about my break, but I’m not
As much as I need a break from the running, I probably needed a break from the writing about running, but breaks seem to be important too, and getting my mind around that, justifying it, arguing with words in this space in favour of the time-off, running-sabbatical, x-training-vacay could have been more of a priority. You can’t just write the doubleplus good stuff.
A Good Reason: I’m not selling anything
I could be completely wrong, but I’ve always kinda pictured my writing as being a bit more genuine than some — many — other running blogs out there. I mean, I don’t make money off this website. Really. Nothing. There’s no ads. I’m not part of some multi-level vitamin supplement sales scheme. I’m not peddling a service or selling you my advice. I’m just documenting my experience. So, in a way it feels like that takes me off the hook because this isn’t a job… it’s just a thing I do.
A Bad Reason: I should be better at competing with the MLMs
That said, if I’m going to put in the effort I still like an audience and it’s getting harder and harder to compete against all the pro-bloggers out there who are hard-core, epic-running machines with five gajillion devoted followers and by the way have you tried this eight-dollar-per-can organic-vita-juice-shake-supplement grown in the jungles of Greenland that they reaaaaaaaaally love, and you should try, and “please click this link to order” ‘cuz you’re really helping them support the dream. Because even if that makes me a liberated media socialist wingnut, not everything you read should have a catch. I still believe there should just be independent places, free of “please pay me now” buzzing in your face-ness, that aren’t always trying to sell you something: I’m not. I don’t. I won’t. Well, other than an idea about a sport I love. Hopefully I never need to change that.
A Good Reason: I’m burnt out
Life. Work. Politics. I’ve been looking for a center of balance and every time I sit down at a keyboard to type something out, I enter this fray of social insanity that I’m struggling (oh-so-unsuccessfully) to ignore, and it creeps into everything I say or do or think because it’s a fundamentally outrageous part of life that, like a good long run, sometimes you feel great, sometimes you’re just plodding along, sometimes you’re cruising with the wind at your back, and sometimes you’re climbing a hill with a leg cramp. That last one is how I feel right now.
A Bad Reason: Running is my center
Or it should be. I need to remember that more.
Running. (revved back up in 2017!) Bowing. (some beautiful music!) Cooking. (in a new kitchen!)
Claire scored a custom hoodie with our running crew logo on it. She’s barely taken it off since opening it.
It’s that time of year again.
The time to think about setting goals, sharing ideas, giving gifts, and all that fun stuff.
Over the last couple years I’ve (apparently) become the go-to guy in our running group who always seems to be doing little technology clinic talks and explaining to people how to effectively (hopefully) use their expensive and fancy GPS watches. All that is great (I assume) and one of the props I frequently share is a picture of the crazy spreadsheet I use to track not just my raw running data but also my running goals.
Enter the distance and time and let the spreadsheet keep me on track.
I always promise that if folks check in with me around the New Year I can share a copy of that sheet.
Well (like I said above) it’s that time of year again: time to think about setting your running goals, sharing ideas about how to meet those goals, and … well, in this case, getting gifts… this one is from me: it’s just a small thing, but you might enjoy it. It’s a shareable copy of the Google spreadsheet I use, all blanked up and ready for your 2017 data.
I know at least a few people have been using the one I shared last year, and a few more have requested a copy for 2017. It’s pretty straightforward, but if you are a technophobe or are one of those people who avoids spreadsheets at all costs, then maybe just stick to paper. But if you enjoy geeking out on your running data, this is literally what I’ll be using (and have been for about 5 years)… and you can have a shiny, new copy just for yourself.
Share and enjoy!
*Note you DO need a Google account to use this.
This winter I’m going to hope that I can give that title to my super-grippy running shoes. Though if I actually didn’t need them because the streets are clear that would be ok, too.
It’s been a month, almost to the hour, that I stood in the corral of the NYC marathon staring down the forty-two klicks of inevitability that lay out before me.
Two months ago I was in panic mode.
Today I am feeling the weight of the race fading into the rear view, the recovery from the effort simultaneously not nearly as bad as I’d imagined, at least physically, but at the same time like climbing over a mountain of post-marathon motivation drain.
You put your heart into something like a marathon whether you intend to or not. It takes a conscious effort to reach into the future and plan every step, every force of will, every calorie consumed, every invisible wall. And then in a moment, after the most grueling morning of your life, you step across a line painted on asphalt and … it’s done.
You shuffle from the finishing corral, and just as abruptly the thing you have been building towards, yearning to accomplish, aching (literally and spiritually) to complete is just over.
So, your body recovers. Your muscles resume their average workload. Your time is no longer packed with carefully measured distances to accomplish. And rest no longer seems like a dirty word.
But your head is still out there, swirling, fighting to find a sense of that grand importance of accomplishment that you left back there, spread thin across the pavement. That takes, maybe, a bit more than a month.