Mile 18. Thump. Thump. Thump. Breathe In. Breathe Out. The runner looked down at the pavement passing beneath his feet. The discarded plastic bottle cap was interesting. “I should stop and look at that for a few moment and take a break,” he thought. No, that was silly. He was not going to stop. Thump. Thump. Thump. He looked up, needed to keep an eye on the oncoming traffic. You never know when a distracted driver could swerve just enough to clip you with a side mirror. Geez, the tires on that Jeep was loud. Thump. Thump. Thump. Pace is getting slower, need to pick it up. Hips hurt a little now, alright moving my legs faster. Thum, Thum, Thum, Thum. Heart rate is back up. Pace is improving. The sun is coming up now. The first rays of the day casting long shadows from the sage brush along the side of the road. Head up. Back straight. Thum, Thum, Thum, Thum. Good rhythm now. The bridge over that culvert just up ahead. Mile 19. Thinking of the time that a stop was needed last time that required a quick pee behind that set of bushes over there. Another sip of water. Not going to stop this time. Thum, Thum, Thum, Thum. Coming to the bridge now, that cyclist seems to be coming fast. His head down, does he see?
Mile 90. Need to fix that peddle, it makes that annoying clicking sound on every revolution. Flick. Flick. Flick. Flick. Flick. Sun is coming up. Love this time of morning. Downhill, cranking fast. Those diesel trucks push a lot of air, do they have to get so damn close? Looking down now. Tires just outside the white stripe. Steady. Flick. Flick. Flick. Flick. Grabbing a water bottle. Squirting a little in my mouth. Not sure about that Fruit Punch electrolyte flavor. Need to clean the bottle better this time. Took to long getting out the door this morning. Need a routine in the evening to make sure everything is ready. Easier to just get up and go. Mile 91. Flick. Flick. Flick. Here comes the culvert, need to be careful. The transition from asphalt to concrete always is a little rough. Oh, there is a runner up ahead. He is getting to the culvert now. Truck passing on the right. This is going to be tight. I am not slowing down. Need to keep my pace up.
Stupid mechanical pony rider, he is going to have to move over a little. No room here. Right up against the side railing. Not going to stop. Setting jaw now. Picking up pace. Thu, Thu, Thu, Thu, Thu. Fingers spread out. Arms pumping strong.
Hope this idiot in the red shoes does not move to his right any. This is going to be tight. Gripping handles tight. Lowering head. Truck passing. Wind rushing quickly. Flick. Flick. Flick. Flick. Flick.
Eye contact. Head nod. Finger raised slightly on handle bar. Right arm in a half salute. Til’ next Saturday.