Other Runners

motivation-irresistableI never used to notice runners. I’d see them, of course, when I was driving around town, put I didn’t pay any attention to them.

I do now. I think it is like the “blue Buick” syndrome. You never notice blue Buicks… until you buy one. Then everywhere you look: in every parking lot, passing you on the highway, in your neighbor’s driveway – a blue Buick. Running has been like that for me. Now that I have been doing it for a little while, I notice how many other runners there are. I see them everywhere – even now that the weather has turned cool and dark, folks are still getting out there pounding the pavement.

Once and awhile I see someone who motivates me. It might be the way they are running or how they look – something catches my eye and I think “Oh, I hope I can do that someday.” I promise, I try not to be a creeper about it. I keep my staring discrete. Recently I was walking Hermes and saw a man running towards me. His running looked effortless, even though he was moving at quite a clip, and he still had the lung capacity to wish me a pleasant morning. He did not look like I do when I run – sweaty, red-faced, clumsy, face scrunched up in painful concentration. He looked happy, free and comfortable. After he passed, I thought, “If I keep at it, there will come a time when I’ll look like that when I run.”

It backfires though. I was running at the park the other day and I saw this gal coming towards me, running with her arms high on her chest. She looked more like she was boxing than running – with each step her fists were level with her cheekbones. As she ran by I thought, “Well, that just looks uncomfortable.”

Then I started worrying. Do I do that? I remembered that my Run Clinic instructor told us to run with our arms at a 90 degree angle. I know I run higher than that, I didn’t think I was as high as boxer lady, but maybe I was… I started concentrating on my arms, forcing myself to hold them at what I thought was a 90 degree angle. I would do okay and then slowly… slowly… the arms would creep back up. (Incidentally, I think women instinctively run with their arms higher than men. Maybe not all gals, but a lot of us. I suspect it has to do with protecting the bosom.) Anyway… you know what happened right?

(Long time runners are probably laughing at me right now!)

I got through the run okay, but the next morning, and for several days after that, my shoulders and arms were killing me! Lesson learned – allow your body to find its own natural rhythm. That includes breathing, arm placement and anything else. Sure, there are adjustments that can be made with the help of a pro, but doing weird things ad hoc in the middle of a run? Not smart! In other words, “Eyes on your own paper!”

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