After a few weeks “off,” I’m back in serious pre-marathon training – I just don’t know which marathon I’m training for.
Yesterday’s long run started early. I’ve been fooling around with pre-run breakfasts and fuel sources to see if I can’t find a better combination than my old rice porridge + walnuts + honey combo. I can tell you one thing; celery, apples and almond butter ain’t it. What was I thinking? Terrible decision!
Later, I was trucking along the second half of my run, thinking my normal long-run thoughts:
I feel slow. Maybe I’m slow. I think I should pick up the pace. Is this a good speed? I wonder if I look fat. i feel fat. Maybe I should have something else to eat for breakfast. What about my GU, should I stay with this one, or should I switch to another one. I wonder if 16 miles is too short, maybe I should run harder and longer….
All of a sudden another runner blew past me. I didn’t even hear him coming. He sped by effortlessly.
This man – he wasn’t tall or long legged or even Kenyan – looked like he could run forever. To say he had a smooth stride isn’t enough. He flew. He floated. He sailed over the asphalt! It took only a few seconds for me to fall in love completely. His running style was immaculate. The stuff of professionals. His turnover was efficient and fast. His shoulders neither wobbled nor twisted. His breath was even and controlled. His arm swing hit perfectly. It was economic. Compact. Graceful. And it looked like so much fun!
I snapped out of what had been a mediocre run. I turned my attention instead to Mr. Perfect Runner as he glided ahead. I examined his stride, his armswing, his head. I took it all in. I looked at how his legs kicked back and where he landed on his feet. I memorized how relaxed his shoulders seemed. And then, when he finally ran out of sight I thought about my running style and I spent the next 45 minutes trying to be graceful and happy and strong. And you know what? Not only was it the best part of the run – I also suspect it was a good deal quicker.
Mr. Perfect Runner, I hope to see you again soon.