I was two miles into my morning run, Modern Philosophers, when my body gave out, and I collapsed in a heap on Eastern Avenue. My lungs were burning, there was a pain in my side, and my legs felt so heavy that I swore they were made of lead.
As I remained sprawled out on the sidewalk, the light rain became a steady downpour. Apparently, the triumphant Return of the Runner was going to end sadly and pathetically in a cold Maine rain.
“Get up and finish your run, Austin,” came an unfamiliar voice from behind me.
“Use the Force, Austin,” Ben Kenobi suggested in a soothing voice.
“Ben Kenobi, is that really you?” I asked the shimmering ghost of the great Jedi.
“Yes, Austin,” he reassured me as he raised the hood of his Jedi robe to protect himself from the rain. “Trust your instincts. Is this really how you want this run to end?”
“But I just can’t run anymore,” I whined from my position on the sidewalk. “My body just won’t allow it. I don’t even think I could try…”
“No! Do or do not. There is no try!” Ben was joined by the shimmering image of ghost Yoda, and the little guy was angry. “Finish this run you must. Pathetic and embarrassing this is. A Jedi you are not.”
I tried to get up, but my legs just wouldn’t cooperate. I could only manage to sit up as the rain pounded on me.
Ben looked around, hoping there were no witnesses to their inability to inspire me to leap to my feet and sprint home. “This is beyond the scope of our powers.”
Yoda nodded his agreement. “Call in the big gun we must.” Yoda raised a gnarled hand.
“Come on, Babe. I need you to finish your run. Do it for me, okay?” I couldn’t believe my ears. I knew that voice. The goosebumps popping up all over my body confirmed it.
I turned to find The Girl Who Owns My Nerdy Star Wars Fanboy Heart standing behind me in shimmering Jedi ghost form. She was bathed in a green aura, and wearing the sexy black workout outfit that had inspired me to go the gym on many occasions. It had also caused the postponement of trips to the gym quiet often (if you get my meaning…).
“Sweetheart, is that really you?” I asked.
She nodded and smiled, which caused her adorable dimple to come and dance on her cheek. She held out her hand to me. “Let’s get you up off the sidewalk, and then we’ll run together to The House on the Hill. Deal?”
I nodded, took her hand, and allowed her to pull me to my feet.
“I’ve got it from here, guys,” he advised Ben and Yoda, who vanished immediately.
“How? I mean what?” I couldn’t form complete thoughts because I was too stunned by her presence, and because my brain never functioned quite properly when she was wearing this particular outfit.
“It’s Star Wars Day,” The Girl Who Rocks My Lightsaber explained. “Let’s finish this run. You want to be in great shape when I come home for Summer Vacation, right?”
We ran side by side at first, but that was too distracting because I kept wanting to turn to talk to her. As always, The Girl Who Knows Me So Well knew exactly what to do to solve the problem.
She shot out in front of me, and I followed her perfect bottom in those tight, skimpy spandex shorts back to The House on the Hill. It pulled me home like the most powerful Tractor Beam in the galaxy.
Three more miles in the books.
I know I’m a total Star Wars geek, but I truly believe that The Force exists, Modern Philosophers. There is something out there that inspires us, give us strength, helps us to achieve things we never thought possible, and makes us feel like there’s nothing we cannot accomplish.
That force is Love. Every time I run and don’t think I have enough left in the tank to get me back to The House on the Hill, my thoughts shift to The Girl Who Owns My Heart. I think about how proud she is of me when I run and keep myself in shape. I think about how I want to take care of myself so I’m always around for her. I think about the way she looks at me and feels my muscles when I’ve been working out.
That’s The Force that inspires me. Her Love is what keeps me running even though I’m positive the activity was invented by those who practice the ways of the Dark Side…