Running well below the profile of average runners, staying slow on purpose, I opened up to the ruddy and wheat hued fragments of crushed pebble and granite meeting my feet; the leafy spring air; the man pulling the bass from the water below me; the odd gait of a man ahead on the trail as he looked up into a tree; the approaching sound waves from the woodpecker he was looking at; then the sight of the downy- feathered, juvenile, white and black woodpecker drumming for breakfast on a dead arm of a great lakeside tree. I later saw the same man on the second pass, walking away from the area, and I got a profound sense of his solitude.
A husband and wife walked their dog around the lake, and on the third pass, we exchanged pleasantries. On my last lap, someone’s feet crunched on the pathway behind me. The first other-runner of the morning, a woman, ran past. For a moment, I almost protested this by boosting my pace. Instead of focusing on her, I looked inside at the impulse to do that, and laughed. I also felt the forces of her passage, and how her presence ahead created a wake in an athletic dimension inviting me to keep pace behind her. I could feel the impulsion to lock onto her pace, keeping a static distance. It was something dynamic in the atmosphere, unique to human beings training in proximity. I resisted this pace-setting force in order to better feel it’s pull, and I have to say, there’s more to it than me, the other-runner, and our minds. The other runner’s effort, whatever pains, feedback, and adjustments were happening, were happening because of her spirit pushing herself through the air and light.
I arrived at the end of this passage of this morning run energized that the goal of re-acclimating and toughening my feet, ankles, knees, hips, lungs, and circulatory system with the simple act of running, had begun again. The first part of my weekend mileage day was complete. I am grateful for another run.