Speed and pacing

Slow run yesterday, but also a longer-than-usual one. Felt good.

I’m a slow runner in general, actually. Slow enough that if not for a bit of ego, I’d be calling myself a jogger instead. When I run in the neighborhood, I can forget how slow I am; when I run at the indoor track, it’s pretty obvious. Though with the start of the new year, there are a few slower folks who are clearly just learning to run, as I was six months ago.

Anyway, everyone has their own pace, and I find myself respecting anyone who’s even attempting to run, now that I know just how much work it is.

But there’s one type of runner who does kind of amuse me. The runner who will burst past me at incredible speed–and then, a couple minutes later, I’ll catch up with them, because after going all out, they were soon forced to slow to a walk. This is different than the controlled walk/run pattern of someone who’s training themselves into running in the first place. This is a matter of folks not knowing how to do anything but throw everything they have into their running from the start–and then crashing–and then as soon as they get any energy at all back (or notice I’ve caught up with them, heh), throwing their everything into the running again–until they hit a wall again, and so on.

I did this too, just a little, when I first began trying to run, though even my everything wasn’t exactly fast. But I only became able to sustain a run for more than a minute at a time when I figured out how to slow down. To pace myself.

I’m a slow walker, too, and so I’ve been on hikes when this happens as well: I’m trudging up some hill, slow and steady and panting a little, and a group goes bounding past me. But half an hour, an hour, two hours later, I’m still going, while I meet the bounders on their way back down, looking the worse for wear.

It may be that, if you sprint fast enough, you can get where you want to go, and get there faster. But more and more, I find myself convinced that this life thing doesn’t work that way–that it’s a paced game, after all.

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