slowing down

I have never been a particularly speedy runner. I can manage splits in the low 7:00 minute range on the flats, but not for long ; ) Most often I find myself in the 8:30-9:30 range on long outings, depending, but I’m much more comfortable measuring my runs in hours out, vertical gain, terrain, and summits climbed rather than minutes per mile anyway.

Today, clinging tenaciously onto the last couple of days before the winter semester begins, I managed three separate runs: a morning 5k snowshoe run breaking trail through the woods across from our house; a 4.5 miler on roads from work back home; and a 4 miler back to work with Dragon leading the way.

Buttressed by a spectacular sunrise and sunset, this was truly a terrific day to be out.

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During it all, I reflected on a couple of conversations I’d had over the past week about pace and how runners interact with the world. Whether I’m clawing my way up a steep snowy slope at 20 minutes per mile or floating along a rail trail, a human-powered pace allows me to see the world in a way that I could not otherwise do.

Too often, I don’t seem to have the time to see a new world in each footfall–the rime-covered branch overhead; the tangles of hawkweed, vetch, and daisies along the roadside in late summer; sun filtering through the hemlocks in early spring; or the tracks of a vole across a snowy pasture in December–yet each of these moments helps to make my world whole.

It may be blasphemous to say, but for me, running is not so much about going faster, but about slowing down–to see, to hear, and to understand more of what’s really important.

One response to “slowing down

  1. You make me feel better for being such a “slow” runner! But really, truer words have never been spoken. When I slow down my life is so much richer and beautiful. I went on an hour and a half snow shoe along the river across from our house this weekend and marveled at the ice bergs in the water, the various animal tracks (even tried to follow some), the witch hazel blossoms, and the grouse that scared the dickens out of me. It was the perfect 1.5 hours.

    Like

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