We convened a family meeting when my grandmother lay dying after a stroke, and it was decided to “pull the plug,” something that sounds heartless. But it wasn’t. She was not coming back. But she wasn’t going anywhere either – yet. Each assistant to her being alive was turned off except the data that flowed from her body onto a screen above her head reporting heart rate and blood pressure. We waited for the moment when the line would be flat. Instead it slowed momentarily, and then rose up to 165 then 185 beats a minute.

Today I finished my 60th run in the 115 days since March 3rd. Here are some numbers.

And here are some graphs.

Here we go. OK. Top of the grade. Pick up the pace. Fuck that guy. Ok. Look back. No cars. Go right. Guy walking dog. Fuck. Truck blocking the sidewalk. Ok. Come on. Come on. Where’s 43 (1:43 PM on the clock). Where are you 43, you can do better than that. Where’s 43. I’ll be at the end of this block before you show up! Cars? No. Take the lane. Come on. There’s 45. Good. Sidewalk all the way. Fuck. Dog walker. Back in the street. God, this song. I love this. Yes. Shade.

When I run my heart rate can get up as high as 165 beats per minute. Grandma left when we were distracted, when we let go. What keeps us alive is distraction from the fragile spider web like strength of our bodies, cells, neurons, glands, muscles, blood, bones, and skin. Running for me is prayer, forcing an encounter between the fragility of my mind and the strength of my body.

But will my mind prevail when, for certain, my body fails and I can’t run?

The Clock is Ticking

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