A Visit from St. Sebastian (Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon – Virginia Beach, VA)

‘Twas the night before race day…well the night before we leave

For race day isn’t until Labor Day’s eve

We leave in the morning for Virginia Beach

Where a half marathon PR lies hopefully within reach

Sitting down on my futon, pondering what I will write

While icing my quads, for they’ve been a tad tight

I think of this new era, these uncharted waters I’ve been sailing

The things that I’ve written, and the things I haven’t been detailing

I’ve taken a break from the social media scene

Focusing more on running, my blog, and my routine

But I’m not going to lie, there are times that I waver

With no job or boss acting as my slaver

If you’ve been following this narrative, you know that my job is no more

There isn’t anything in my day that feels like a chore

Sure I do all the cleaning and cooking and shopping

But I write my own schedule, and that’s the chocolate fudge topping

But despite that, my training has still had a few bumps in the road

It’s been a struggle to make sure that I’m always in ultramarathon mode

With no job to act as the enemy in my life

Other things have taken its place, and cut me down with a knife

So although it’s only thirteen miles that I’ll have to run in a few days

Let me run down the things that stand out in this phase

I need to solve the mystery of my life’s new villain

Or I can forget about JFK, I’ll be on my couch chillin’

I’ve been reading a lot, ideally every night before sleep

I naturally gravitate towards things that are weighty and deep

Rereading the Upanishads has left me inspired

While the ultrarunning books I read left a lot to be desired

It’s not that I’m just looking for suggestions and tricks

These authors just come off like they’d rather suck their own dicks

I think about this a lot, how I come off in my writing

Downplaying my achievements, while still keeping it exciting

I’ve been working on my series, “Running to Stand Still”

I’ll finish it one day, I promise I will

At first I was putting them out every week

But I have slowed things down, to improve my technique

Plus I have all these race poems and race reports in store

And one more surprise that you won’t want to ignore

When I get in a flow, the writing comes easy

But getting people to read it, without feeling sleazy

Has been quite a challenge I have to admit

With no one in your corner, it’s tempting to quit

My most avid readers are Gf and of course Mom

And the random people this reaches on WordPress.com

But I just have to remember what I set out to achieve

To leave a record for my kids before they’re even conceived

Of this brief but monumental detour in my journey

Before becoming a full-time dad or hell maybe an attorney

It’s not about the miles or my time or my pace

It’s the lessons I learn, it’s the hunt and the chase

I learn more about myself the more miles I run

It’s hard work for sure, but also much fun

But I gotta admit, I can’t help but feel funny

Since most of our worth is tied directly to money

Not working has me feeling like a lazy piece of shit

Even though all my hobbies require focus and grit

Just a guy who decided to forgo paychecks for passions

Chose struggle over success, squalor over mansions

Focus on my breath, mustn’t think about that

Be present and mindful, hell act like my cats

Don’t chase away those thoughts, but don’t let them dwell

Tell them they’re not welcome, but be sure not to yell

I guess my Headspace subscription has been paying off

Though in times of real trouble, you can’t help but scoff

Like how present can I be when I’m doing my first open mic?

Or when I encounter a rattlesnake on my trail run or hike?

It’s easy at a show in Queens to see My Morning Jacket

But much tougher when taking the GRE to prove I can hack it

All these things have been obstacles, including the latter

But the biggest one: fearing that I just do not matter

Will this whole struggle just be all for naught?

It’s the one thing I feared in the years that I taught

With no job holding me back, nothing stopping me

I run into these mental roadblocks, albeit shockingly

I still can’t quit place who’s the culprit to blame

No boss, not social media, not even what’s-her-name

All of these things surely must have one thing in common

To keep me from achieving my innermost brahmin

Working in this new endeavor has been pretty frightening

But I gotta solve this damn puzzle on my way to enlightening

Turning off my computer, I am hit with a thought

This crime has been solved, and this villain’s been caught

I started this poem simply to add to my collection

But turning off the screen, I’m now met by my dark reflection

It’s been me all along, I’m the only survivor

I’m the thief, the lookout, getaway car, and the driver

When things go awry, it’s been me at the helm

Not administrators, past loves, or spirits from another realm

By pursuing my dreams I’ve been left pretty exposed

And though I do my best to try and act composed

Not being enough terrifies me, more than snakes on a trail

Though I’ve had some successes, I’m more afraid that I’ll fail

I sit on this stool, my girlfriend in my corner

While the announcers and audience are all trying to warn her

“He’s a fraud!  He’s fake! He’s a no good dumb prick!”

“Get away while you can!  Go on, do it quick!”

With no real adversity, it’s my mind playing games

But it’s motivation still, and it’ll add to the flames

If I’m my own enemy, it’s OK, let it happen

It’s just another person that I’ll have to bust a cap in

This one will be my pleasure, he’s been trouble for too long

Especially years ago, when I wasn’t as strong

Maybe this was the real reason I left my job in the city

There’s one final boss battle, this one not as pretty

This one will take place in the depths of my soul

Because I’m the only one in the way of achieving my goals

To conquer my fear, there’s no plan that needs to be formulated

Like Tool’s new album, take my fear, my arm, then innoculate it

In the meantime, I look forward to a weekend of beaches and camping

And full of electrolytes to avoid dehydration or cramping

I still gotta get some training runs in, but I’ll do it on sand

Keep my muscles loose: calves, groin, IT band

Because even though a personal record in this race would be pretty nifty

It’s just a tune up race, the big goal is the JFK 50

Hopefully the free shows by Live and Dashboard turn out to be a delight

Happy race day to all, and to all a good night!


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