Thursday, November 17, 2005

On the difference between pushing and merely leaning in to something.

I jog west, at a leisurely pace, by the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue. It's just after 7PM, dark, the trail is almost empty. Two guys pass me. The first one is thin and moving fast, the other looks like a butterball. I decide to keep pace with him, to see if he is really that fast or simply sprinting a 1 mile dash. We wind over hills, under Lamar, into the dark trees on the north edge of zilker, up and over a few hills. As we approach the footbridge near Robert E. Lee I realize the butterball is deceptively fast. He is not kicking his knees up so much as floating over earth with a quick scissor movement of the legs. I start breathing heavy. My feet make noisy, almost angry sounds on the planks of the footbridge as I chase him. I stay about 20 feet behind him for about a mile. We run up a tall hill, then down into a small arroyo, then up where the Zilker Zephyr mini train tracks cross. I am going much faster than usual. Up the hill, my feet seem to make tight, solid contact, and I think "I HAVE to be gaining ground on him." Perhaps one or two feet of gained ground, that's it. By the time we get to the Mopac bridge I go all out and pass him. I break my imaginary finish line at the north end of the bridge. He claps me on the shoulder a few seconds later, says "keep pushing" and floats into the street and up the hill towards Enfield. I shout "thank you, man" without hesitating. It was inspiring.

I noticed from the neck up he looked tough. (sure, sure) I'll have to start wearing a watch and report how fast I am actually running the 4.5 mile Mopac-to-Congress loop. I run .5 mile warm up on a track, and started doing .5 miles of sprint, cool-down. I'd like to get up into the 7-12 mile range and possibly do a half-marathon.