It is faster than walk. In fact, that is how the dictionary puts it. Webster says it is to: move at a speed faster than a walk, never having both or all the feet on the ground at the same time.
Truthfully, there is something magical about never having all my feet on the ground at the same time. It isn’t hard to do when you are sitting, with them propped up against the porch rail. But running is an entirely different matter.
To dart, dash, sprint and scurry. To and fro. Here and there.
I used to run. Every day. When I was at my most committed running, I put in about six miles each morning. You can tell the people who are genuine runners. By the very look of them. But I am not one. No. Underneath my skin, I came from the roots of some old German woman who baked kugel in hot kitchens, and whose belly lapsed over the apron strings around her waist. I have thick German ankles and wide hips.
I bring all this up because of today’s date. This Monday, May 6. It was back in the year 1954 that one Roger Bannister of the United Kingdom did some running. He became the first person to run a 4 minute mile. Yes, he had both feet not touching the ground in 3:59:4. All of this at Iffley Road, Oxford.
I will never run a four minute mile. No woman has. But male or female — most of us won’t. It is tremendously difficult. When I was in college, as part of our Softball preseason fitness routine, we had to qualify with a 6.5 minute mile. That about killed me, and I was in pretty decent shape back then. I can’t imagine knocking off 2.5 minutes from that.
But people have run it faster. Men, specifically. The IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) is the official body which oversees the records. Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) is the current men’s record holder with his time of 3:43.13. For the women, it is Svetlana Masterkova (Russia). She has the women’s record of 4:12.56.
Now, here is one even more mind boggling to me. The official marathon world record is 2:02:57, run by Dennis Kimetto in Berlin in 2014. That is 4.68 minutes per mile over 26.2 miles. How does anyone even do that?
How does anyone even WANT to do that?
Didn’t Dick and Jane start this whole thing any how?
See Dick. See Dick run. Run, Dick, run.
And then Forrest stepped in.
Ah. But the truth is, sometimes we need to run. If we are late, or if someone is chasing us. We need to run to get to first base after we’ve hit the ball. We need to run if we are to jump over the hurdle.
It requires more momentum.
That’s life too, isn’t it? Our lives go at different paces, depending on the day, the week, or even the year. There are plenty of times when we can walk evenly, and take it all in. But on occasion, we need more momentum. More Oomph. And so we run. We pick up speed to make that jump over the hurdle. To get over that fence.
The outcome is never certain either. If we are in peak shape, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, we are more apt to win whatever race it is we are running. But if we are not very fit, we are slow and sluggish, before, during and after.
And then there are the moments when we need to walk. And take things slowly.
We may not be breaking any records, but somehow, I think it is better that way, as we move through our days. In fact, as they say, we may even be better off is we actually stop. And smell those roses.
Unless, of course, they are in a bouquet, hanging around the champion’s neck.
“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.”
― Joseph Campbell
“People look for greatness only in the extraordinary and completely overlook the wonder of the ordinary.”
― Ann Tatlock, Promises to Keep
To be alive──is Power.”
― Emily Dickinson