The alarm goes off in the dark. Ted rolls over. It’s 5:30 AM. Time to get up. He’s training for a half-marathon. And no one’s going to know about it if he just lies there sleeping.
“The early bird gets to the finish line 😀😎😀#nopainnogain #blacktoe4life #tempoday #GoodLifeMarathon.” He tweets while brushing his teeth and trying to decide whether to wear tights or really tight tights today. He goes for really tight, and selects the jacket best suited for 3°-4°C, on a light wind day with a mix of sun and cloud and chance of seeing your ex-girlfriend. Grabbing his headlamp, a repurposed Newfoundland lighthouse he bought in the Running Room’s Black Friday sale, he heads out promptly at 6:00, ready to be the first person at Starbucks.
“Going to set a new personal best today,” he whispers in the ear of a stranger waiting for a bus as he passes them on the sidewalk. Surprised, and creeped out, they still manage to give him a thumbs up, albeit with the wrong finger.
At Starbucks he jogs in one place while putting in his order and describing to the barista in intricate detail, the pace, distance, and routes of every run he plans on taking for the next four years. With the line backing up behind him, she calmly, almost wistfully repeats a simple imperative; “insert your card, insert your card, sir insert your card please.”
Coffee chugged, he steps out of the cafe and flips up into a walking handstand to complete his warm-up. “Half-marathon,” he shouts from his inverted position to a neighbour stepping out onto her porch in her bathrobe to put a bag in the bin. “Remember what I told you,” she responds good-naturedly. “I know, I know,” Ted says, losing his balance as he twists away from a bag full of diapers she hurls at his torso, “Stop fucking telling you.”