Tonight, it took a slick surface, a dark trail and some brand new shoes to teach me how to find my stride again. Snowed all day but none of it really accumulated so tonight that turned into ice. I compensated by shortening my stride and in the span of the run, started to turn it up that I was at near marathon pace by the end. The new shoes, they felt GOOD, well worth the $65 I dropped a few days ago. (Aside: Why anyone buys running shoes in Canada is beyond me.)
I distinctly remember glancing down at my watch in the middle of the path -- I was almost 10K into the run, the time on the Garmin read 48:49, and I thought: "This is what it feels like to coast." I often find my stride after the 4 or 5 mile mark of any longer run. My stride feels good, the breathing settles even at a faster pace, my form improves (though is never perfect) and I feel like I can just keep on motoring. Forty eight minutes of solid, heart racing cardio to be followed by another 20 or so minutes. That's what I love about distance running. It's not about the first few kilometres, but it's when you start piling on the minutes, when 30 minutes turns into an hour, then you lose yourself for a few miles and you've knocked off two hours and 14 plus miles.
Isn't it just amazing, you ask yourself, how the human body can just keep on going. I've had conversations with people who think that running is one of the best exercises, that you feel that it's hard enough that you are truly working out. But I'm also amazed that, with training, you can teach yourself endurance, and run at pace or even faster two hours after you started. Running becomes easy because it really is ones of those natural movements.
Anyways, I just had that thought, somewhere between 48:49 and a few minutes later when I was running alone on the trail, pounding out step after step with my newly unwrapped runners, blasting out at a decent clip, finding my stride once again.
8.1 miles or 13K in 1:06:34
(and pictured below, an interesting self portrait at my elevator).