This morning I reached my halfway mark through the couch to 5K program. It actually started out to be physically my worst morning yet. I couldn’t sleep last night due to my knee aching. (I was also in the midst of this fantastic book, which kept me up too; I’ll talk about that in a moment.) Then this morning my left ankle was really sore. I have to chalk these things up to “it happens” and go with it.

This morning I also encountered the “blerch”. It’s my birthday, so I indulged in cake that my co-workers brought in. If you read my first post in this blog, I’m diabetic. I only allow stuff like cake once or twice a year (my blood sugar is under control now), and I rationalized it by running an hour later. Despite my aches and pains, I just ran anyway, and it is getting somewhat easier, except for the uphill parts. Remember, I’m just conditioning after years of not running due to a heart problem, which is now fixed.

After the run, like usual, I felt like singing.

Now about that book that has been keeping me up late at night: Austin Aslan is the author of one of four books I’m currently reading–though I’m finishing his first due to him being next in line for an interview at this site. He wrote The Islands at the End of the World, which I’m enjoying so much it’s crazy. The book is maybe incorrectly marked as “cli-fi” at Goodreads, and that’s how I found it. The author later let me know he wasn’t sure why anyone had categorized his book as such. But it does have an environmental message, and a good one. I won’t spoil it, but the pace and suspense are perfect. There are references to Army of Darkness even (hello). There is humor among tragedy; humor is a good way to cope. There are strange green auras in the sky. There is a teenage girl with epilepsy–and there is her father. Their relationship reminds me of mine and my father’s. The novel is set on the Hawaiian islands, which alone are rich with culture, mythology, and beauty–these things all are woven into the spectacular story, which I will not spoil. Go read the book!

Anyway, I thought a lot about that book when running. It’s so down-to-earth and real, just like my favorite people, the people who make life all feel right. There’s a feeling I got from the book, the same feeling I get from running. It’s hard, it’s life, but it happens. You make do. You go a step at a time. Sometimes you think “this is tough,” and a few minutes later you think, “I did that?” “People have done so much more.” “It’s okay if I only did that, though.” When running (outside), you get barraged with natural beauty around you. You think of how things got here. You are comforted in memories of those who came before you. You imagine the people who came before them. You imagine the sky, the ocean, the forests before them, before our kind. You want to believe we’re all doing our best. Your feet pound the wet grass and the sidewalk covered with leaves. Mothers with babies stroll by. The mountains are dark in the gray sky. The most meaningful things whisper to you through the noise of the modern world–and this is what Austin’s book does, this is what running does, and it’s quite beautiful.

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