I can’t believe how humid it has been. I can’t believe how much I sweat. I can’t believe how dark it is in the mornings. I can’t believe how many miles I have run this year without earbuds. I can’t believe how many miles I have run this year. I can’t believe how much my legs ache. I can’t believe how swollen and deformed my feet have become. I can’t believe how many pairs of old running shoes I have strewn about my house. I can’t believe how many pairs of new running shoes I have stacked in my basement storage room.

I can’t believe I paid twelve dollars and sixty-eight cents for a bag of grapes at the grocery store this morning.

I can’t believe how patiently I sat in the waiting room at the car dealership recently, immediately after I finished running 26.4 miles. (I sat waiting for just over three hours, even though I was there to get the oil changed and a tire patched. Then I lost patience and apparently all emotional control because I started crying when they said it would be just a little longer. One employee stepped forward and gave me a loaner vehicle, something that is apparently incredibly difficult to come by (I neglected to read the signs explaining just that, even though they were literally plastered at every workstation and on every door). They sent me home to wait another couple of hours for my car, which they drove to my house when it was done.) I can’t believe how much of a difference good customer service can make in one person’s day. I can’t believe I cried at the goddam car dealership.

I can’t believe another school year is well underway. I can’t believe how old some of my friends’ kids are. I can’t believe how old some of my friends are. I can’t believe how old I am.

I can’t believe the pandemic is persisting like this.

I can’t believe I am going to run another marathon. I can’t believe how slow I have gotten. I can’t believe how physically challenging some of my runs are. I can’t believe how mentally challenging some of my runs are.

I can’t believe how early I get up in the morning to get in my miles before work. I can’t believe how daunting a training schedule can be.

I can’t believe there will come a day when I can no longer run.

I can’t believe how much I can’t believe.

I plan to run this weekend. Ah, now there’s something I can believe. In fact, there is an awful lot I can believe.

I can believe, just this year, I have run the most miles I have ever run in a single week. I can believe, just this year, I have run the most miles I have ever run in a single month. I can believe I will run the most miles I have ever run in one single year.

I can believe each training run makes me stronger. I can believe each mile I run makes me healthier in body and mind. I can believe running makes me happier and more energetic. I can believe my running buddies will provide endless support and encouragement. I can believe the running community will provide endless support and encouragement. I can, in fact, believe I am going to run another marathon.

I can believe I will continue to set lofty goals and articulate seemingly improbable intentions, and I can believe I am going to work my ass off to achieve them.

I can believe it. I will believe. I do believe.

by Tori Christie

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