Burst

Today is the third day in a row I have run in the Nike Free shoes.  The first day was pretty easy.  I held back some, just to allow my body to get used to the new shoe and the gait that comes with less support and more natural running motion.  Yesterday I ran with Sue, and we did 6.5 miles in about 52 minutes, averaging 7:55 min/mi.  My body felt great after each of the runs.  There were no old aches or pains, and even better, no new ones, either.  So today, this gorgeous Sunday with bright spring sunshine warming the pavement, I decided to give the Nike Frees an all out test.  I chose to go long and fast, just to see what my body could do in these shoes.

I mixed and chugged a chia fresca and drank it after my morning coffee.  I had slept later than usual, and so didn’t make it down my front path until after 9:30.  Leaving later meant running in much warmer temperatures, and I was happily wearing capri running pants with just a base layer and light vest.  I turned on the Nike+iPod and took off.  I decided to take the long Marmion Way loop both ways, not caring about climbing the steep hill during my warm-up time.  My feet feel so much lighter in the new shoes that  even uphill is a piece of cake.  I took South Street to Penzance Road and Pebble Beach, skipping lightly over the rocks and stones that littered the path that was a real road before the big wind storm a week ago.  I put on some extra speed through the thick layer of sand in the center of the road at the end of the beach, and continued it as I passed the two marshes.  I hooked a right onto Eden Road, then another back down South to Marmion.  Today my quads didn’t feel like they were working as hard as I sprinted down the long slope at the head of the turn.

I also sprinted up the hill at the other end.  I turned onto Old Garden Road, checked the time, and decided to take it downtown and along Beach Road.  Before I knew it I was back on the loop to King Street.  I bolted back up Main Street, and as I crested the hill, my legs completely took over.  My feet barely touched the ground and it was like watching myself instead of being myself as I flew along.  I don’t think I have ever sprinted at the speed I did this morning.  I burst through the turn at Dock Square so fast that the buildings were a blur.  Having surrendered to the run and the speed, I couldn’t have stopped if I wanted to.  I was completely present in this run.  I could feel a wide smile on my face as I absolutely submitted to my body and what it was capable of doing.   I bounced up onto the sidewalk then right back down when I saw how many people were out this morning to enjoy the lovely weather.  I had to run on the street and work to stay super-focused on the oncoming traffic.  My breathing came so easily I wondered if I was imagining my speed.  I turned left onto Atlantic Ave and saw Sue running toward me.  I waved and asked if she minded if I joined her.  I did an about-face and matched my stride to hers.  We took the steep hill up Mt. Pleasant Street that we both despise and love for endurance training.  Even at this point, almost 10 miles into my run, I had enough energy to easily make it up the hill.  My time for running this morning was over when we reached the top; Sue and I parted company at Dean Street and I headed home.

Today’s run was 9.9 miles long.  I did it in 1′ 17″ 32″, which translates to 7:50 min/mi.  That is my fastest pace ever, and it was on a long run.  I looked back in my running log and on Feb 10, less than a month ago, I ran almost exactly the same distance in 1′ 29″.  That’s 8:56 min/mi.  Less than a month ago.  Today’s run was about 11.5 minutes faster.

I am, of course, obsessing.  I’m  trying to decide if it’s the shoes, the idea of the shoes, the chia fresca, a week of eating almost no meat, the deep, solid sleeps I have had lately, or a combination of all of the above.  If forced to make a choice, I have to say it’s the shoes.

Even as I sit here and write this, I can bring back the sense of exhilaration and feelings of strength and power I captured and carried like a banner across my chest on my burst through Dock Square.  There is in me a confidence in my ability to run farther and faster than ever before.  Today I experienced a weightlessness that I know was partly from the shoes, and partly from the relief of letting go of all the junk I have been dragging along with me on my runs.  The number and speed of the sprints in today’s run reflect the way I have not just broken through the barrier of fear, but burst through it, like the first runner through the tape at the finish line.

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One Comment on “Burst”

  1. Pat Says:

    What a wonderous feeling..and how well you shared it with us..I remember feeling like that a very long time ago in the water….you have given me something to strive for..to regain that feeling for myself


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