Sunday, November 1, 2009

The sounds of silence

Today was supposed to be a 6 mile run. Well, I thought I had time on my side since the clocks had gone back an hour, and piddled around for a bit. I then had the brilliant (but ill-fated) idea to try and find a 6 mile run on Well as these things go, there is no such thing as a last minute 'find'. Half the battle is preparation - triathletes tell you that all the time. I know the drill all too well - prepare your stuff a few days before, practice T1 and T2. Lay it all out the night before, make a list, check off the list, re-check one last time in the morning. So paranoid am I that I take 2 pairs of running shoes, and a lot of extra clothes 'just in case'.
Unfortunately I seem to have slipped into some bad habits with running. No such care or preparation is taken, and this morning the chickens came home to roost. Flapping around wildly, I called to Stuart for help. I suddenly found that I was short of time, and since I had an appointment at 1pm, time was starting to slip away. Naturally I was not happy with the routes Stuart found me, and huffing and puffing I went off to do the run downstairs on the treadmill.
Got there, put on the ipod - only to find that it had discharged! I felt like running back upstairs, saying that it just was not the day, and leaving the run till tomorrow. But then I thought about the god of my running universe - Paavo Nurmi. He certainly did not run with ipods or any such items. He ran in silence - the silence of the Finnish forests. So I started running.
I have run without music (I only use it on the treadmill anyway), but today was different. It gave me an hour to think about Paavo Nurmi. So the first time I ever heard about this running god, was when I was living in Italy and used to read the Italian equivalent of Runner's World - Correre. Correre ran quite a few issues on Paavo Nurmi, concerning his spirit, his training and his ability to run like the wind. The thing that always struck me was that he would run for miles and miles in the dark, and he enjoyed running through the silent forests best. Always alone, always in silence.
Since I had never run alone, let alone in the dark, I could never really understand it. OK, so even now I have not yet run in the dark, and am not sure that I ever could, but I have finally run alone. It is a wonderous thing, and as I stated in my previous post, last Sunday I felt like I could still go strong after my 9 miles. To me that is being in the zone, not just hitting that sweet spot because I had a good run.
I have read other blogs where people say that running on a treadmill is boring. Well, that's just because the mind has not yet transcended the boundaries of the gym. You run with your mind, the feet action is a biomechanical motion. When I run outdoors I enjoy the sun, the wind or the snow on my face. I love saying hello to the doggies I pass, I try and greet other runners, but they do not do that much here in Boston. I enjoy my run in a different way. On the treadmill I think about my form, running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (yes, just like Rocky), my upcoming races, and the songs on my ipod. It is never boring. And on the rare occasion that I run without my ipod on the treadmill, then I think about Paavo Nurmi and imagine that I am running through the cool Finnish forests - hell, sometimes I even dream that one day I will go to Turku and run through those very same forests - there is no reason why I couldn't.

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