Apparently the quote has been wrong all this time.
I’ve never been very fast. I used to let myself THINK I was fast, mainly because I loved Bridge to Terabithia and wanted to be a runner like Jesse Aarons. Oh, and I loved the music from Chariots of Fire and the incredible scene where the guy falls but still wins the race– they inspired me to fantasize that I was fast, which of course led me to thinking that I was fast.
But I’m not really a runner. Look at me. I’ve got a thick, heavy frame, a low center of gravity, and zero discipline. You can see the zero discipline without looking very hard.
If I had an athletic destiny, it would have been for me to be the greatest tug-of-war anchor on the planet. I kid you not; we never lost when I was in anchor position on field days.
But back to running. I’m not fast, and Usain Bolt IS fast, but he’s still not really running like the wind. I mean the wind is invisible, whistles through leaves (ask Mr. Bolt to do THAT), and is inconsistent in its speed. Okay, I’ll say it: the wind is capricious. Although, come to think of it, Mr. Bolt might be capricious, too.
Anyway, upon further consideration, I really don’t think anyone can actually run like the wind. But I submit that, at least for me, running is LIKE the wind.
You see, sometimes the wind comes roaring out of the mountains or off the coast all enthusiastic-like– as if it has just made some kind of resolution to blow, blow hard (Who’s a blowhard? *Hey-o!), and really get great at blowing. And that’s how I am. I decide that running can’t be that hard, so I go for it. I get up in the morning, warm up for 15 minutes, then hit the sidewalk. Or trail.
And it feels great and I feel strong and like I could go forever. But maybe I should run just a little faster and see if I can push myself just a little harder. So I do and pretty soon I’m puffing long and loud, grunting a little with exertion as each breath claws its way out of my chest, and I’m out of gas.
I run myself right out of running. And the wind blows itself right out sometimes too.
Then there’s the inconsistency.
Maybe the wind just doesn’t feel like it some days. It knows it needs to cool things down in the valley; it knows that blowing for a while will do it and the ecosystem good, but kicking back behind Timp is just so nice and inertia keeps it in place.
And that’s like me, too. I’m in my chair at work, plugging away at an outline and lunch rolls around and my jar of soup in the fridge is calling to me and saying I can read and walk, right? But I can’t read and run. It feels so nice to just relax a bit.
But then, when the wind gets going, it’s all, “Hey, this feels good. I love the feeling of me rushing past ears and through mountain passes and leaves and over torrential rivers. I’ll keep it up!”
I feel good for at least half of the time that I’m afoot and plodding along at roughly 5.2 mph. My legs feel strong, my lungs are powerful and my heart’s growing mightier. I can feel my waistline melting.
The wind gets tired. Enough branches on the ground already. It won’t hurt to just gust a little, will it?
I slow a little, but see my time is racking up too fast. I just ran over the bridge, I can slow a little, can’t I? So I slow up a bit more, then see that my 2nd mile is going to take more than 12 minutes, so I push and slow, push and slow. It’s hot. I’m gusting.
And what makes the wind go, anyway? Something to do with barometric pressure, I’ve heard. What makes me run? Something to do with the pressure of my gut straining at my belt and the pressure in my chest after climbing two flights of stairs. Don’t forget the pressure to not keel over when playing soccer or basketball with my kids. Or the pressure to keep my body in good shape because it’s a gift and I wouldn’t want to look at, much less do sacred ordinances in, an obese temple.
As you can see, running’s like the wind. For me at least. A nice breeze feels good when I’m running too, especially when it’s at my back. But that’s a different thing.
So how about you? Do you run? If so, why? If not, why not? What motivates you to do this crazy activity, anyway?