On the morning of Sunday June 5th, I went for my regular long distance run. I’ve been running for a while now, so it’s fair to say that that I am pretty experienced? Any reasonably knowledgeable long distance runner knows that high temperatures and fast running are a combination as bad as Justin Bieber’s musical legacy (although I must confess I do like his most recent collaboration with Skrillex and Diplo)
But getting back on track (pun intended)
At 6:30am on this particular humid morning, I knew that I was going to aim for a distance of approximately 10 miles at a reasonably slow pace. Almost mid-way through my run a well-dressed, colour coordinated athlete of a man…whom I will name Mr Slick…whips right past me! It was at that moment I could feel the heat of competition stir within my ego.
Fortunately, my intuition didn’t listen to my ego. My body seemed to instinctively know that if I wanted to continue my run until the end, trying to out run this man would cause me nothing but muscle spasm! So I listened to common sense and slowly crept up to Mr Slick and began to overtake!
It felt good.
My ego began to rejoice, but then Mr Slick’s ego fights back as he begins to increase his pace and once again smoothly overtakes me, although this time he has more determination in his face, breathing and stride. At this point I have no choice but to surrender to the moment, as I know it’s going to be impossible to outrun Mr Slick again, but then destiny reveals its sense of humour!
I think that you can probably work out the fairly obvious conclusion to my story? If you have looked at the image above or know of Aesop’s fable the Tortoise and the Hare, you know that despite my slow pace I was eventually able to over take Mr Slick because he had burnt himself out. It was later that evening for the first time, I was really able to fully appreciate the pure genius of the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.
As a runner it is very easy to get caught up in the end results, and make no mistake I’m proud that I was able to complete a 10 mile run before 8:30am on a lazy Sunday! But the end result means nothing if I don’t focus on the quality of the journey; the breathing, the pace, the rhythm, the technique and the faith that all I have to do is put one leg in front of the other.
Y’see in this tale I literally represent the tortoise and the shell is a metaphor for all the weight of experience I have accumulated and carry with me. I am a man in my 30’s so why the would I waste time trying to outrun someone I could never beat on their terms!? It makes no sense on any level and that’s the great thing about ageing you realise that you don’t have to move to the rhythm of anyone else’s pace but your own.
Thank you Aesop.
Until next time