Four minutes in, and I know today is going to be a struggle. It’s gonna be ugly.
The climb up the stairs is exceedingly brutal, the sweat starts earlier, and the second wind ain’t coming. I think about quitting at ten minutes, twelve minutes, fifteen minutes. Those are nice round times, and a man can’t be faulted for one “easy day,” right?
But I keep going. I trod through leafy streets, around dollies used to bring in beer to the convenience store, over dried dog crap (doh!), and by lecherous fifty-year-olds at the bus stop. I keep going, at speeds perhaps approximating those of bronze-medal race walkers, if I’m being generous.
Three minutes to go, ok, I can do this. Three minutes is nothing. That’s only ninety seconds, I mean, 180. It’s nothing. Then I see that I’m off a minute somehow. Four minutes left.
Those last four minutes? Nothing pretty. Sweat in eyes, shadows seeming to disappear in favor of more direct sunlight, cracks in sidewalk seeming to crop up out of nowhere. But I get to the finish line, my apartment gate at 22:50. I do ten seconds of hardcore running in place and finish at 23:00.
Now that’s a round number.