It's Thursday and I am in my Carlos Lopes room doing dead lifts, stacking more weight and bending at my knees and lifting explosively into a vertical position, or more like first position since my feet splay and the weight itself is the lightest bar I could find with a few more pounds added, so that the movement looks almost delicate. In my Carlos Lopes room with the light bouncing off the neighbouring building into my place, between sets now, none of the neighbours themselves visible through their windows. In my room and padding in front of my window less like a lion and more like a bird, nervous-looking but not feeling any nerves since this is business, these dead lifts, moving meditatively and bird-like in front of the window and looking out at the building next door at the drawn blinds and the street below which doesn't see much traffic on a Thursday morning, for what is often a busy street. Letting my muscles recover. Here in my Carlos Lopes room, walking to one end of the room and back, the window first on my left and then on my right, two sets finished, settled into a comfortable zen-like rhythm of getting things done and thinking about them only in present-time, all other thoughts passing through without snagging. Bending at my knees for my third set, hands curled around the bar, the bar surprisingly cold for a summer's day. Staring straight ahead at a painting of a red tulip. Quadriceps flexed. Gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius all flexed. The background of the painting yellow, and just the top third of a green stem visible. Biceps and triceps flexed. Body like a whip. When I think Holy shit. 

I only have seven weeks.

Seven weeks until the Porto half-marathon and ten weeks until the Lisbon half-marathon. I raced a 10km last weekend in Vancouver in 31:40 which was exactly my split in my half-marathon in February, most of it on the same course. Seven weeks out from my next half-marathon and an attempt at the 1:06:33 Canadian Master's record, and I can't quite run half the distance at the pace I need.

To be fair the past two weeks' training hasn't been good. A week before the 10km I had a day when I was awake for only 6 hours, and those six hours were feverish and painful from something I'd picked up at work. Headaches, dizziness. Joint pain. Even heart pain, and a friend suggested it was because my heart was expanding, at which I publicly and stoically balked while privately thinking maybe. And fatigue. That came back. My heart rate climbed ten beats at my usual pace. I was like this for eleven days.

Some mornings you wake and you just know things are different. Better. And so Wednesday of this week arrived and I woke and everything felt slower, in a good way. Sounds came at me differently. They were sharper. Layered and deep instead of olioed.

The tulip painting resting on the floor, and above it at just above standing eye height the nail. Right quadricep twitching a little bit. Heart rate low and even.  The bar warming up where my hands are, where my hands had been for ... how long now? Another twenty pounds of plates lying flat on the yoga mat next to the bar, a yoga mat I use to protect my hardwood floor. Twenty pounds I reach for, coming out of my poised position. Twenty pounds I add to the bar.  I want this record.