Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stripped down running

Before I got injured, back when I ran five times a week, I used to run the running program at my workplace as part of its Wellness Program. Every Wednesday at noon I'd take a group out on a four mile run on the Mall, at about a nine-minute pace.

I had runners who dropped in and out of the program but mostly it was me and Marcus who ran each week. He's faster than me but we were a good match, both running-wise and personality-wise.

Things change. I was injured and out of running for a year and I changed buildings, and now I run at noon with two women co-workers whenever we can get out, but not as part of the Wellness Program anymore. We run five miles on the Mall at a nine-minute pace. The more things change...

Marcus is now into barefoot running and the other day when both my regular running buddies were unavailable, I ran with Marcus for the first time in three years. We went four miles on the Mall at a nine-minute pace.

I think I was holding him up slightly but it was fun to run with him again. He speaks several languages and is in the International Division at my workplace so he's always been someplace interesting like Hanoi or Moscow. We talked about his travels and the book he is writing, a potboiler novel.

He recently acquired a Kindle so he can read more efficiently and not have several score books lying around his house awaiting time for them to be read. Now he just has a monster que on his Kindle of several score backlogged books, at $9.95 each, awaiting time for them to be read.

We loped easily across the Mall, running up the hill by the Washington Monument and down to the Lincoln and then we retraced our steps and ran up Capitol Hill. The whole time he drew stares from passing runners because, well, he was barefoot.

Marcus swears by barefoot running, saying it is the natural way to run since it promotes a better, midfoot, foot strike. He claims it has kept him injury-free since he started running that way a few years ago. For forty minutes it was just like old times, running along easily at a swift-enough pace and talking about history, books and politics. Life isn't running but running is life.

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