First started long distance running when I was eighteen. Still running to this day. I love it and hate it. I love it while I am doing it, and I hate it just before I am about to do it. I run when it is raining, snowing, or when it is unbearably hot. The good thing is, I am not the only crazy one out there. Having the right gear for each temperature or climate type is the key. So here I am on one of my 6-mile runs around Central Park. It's about 9 A.M. and overcast - a good day for running.
Starting out slow as usual, but hoping to pick up the pace as the run progresses. Except for a bit of nagging achilles tendinitis, I feel great. Been bothered by it for the past four weeks. It makes its presence felt early in my runs then disappears. A runner goes by me, obviously laboring; I can hear his labored breathing. I shall be overtaking him soon is my guess (My strong point in running is my patience.). I usually run with my mouth closed during the entire run. That ensures filtered, clean oxygen is getting to my blood and muscles. My breathing basically follows the beat of Peter Tosh's "Johnny Be Good"...Tada da tada da ta da da da.... Having a good breathing rhythm is key. Focusing on breathing while running is also a kind of meditation.
I am beginning to pick up the pace after passing by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I pass several runners. I get a few smiles or nods from those coming toward me. Nothing beats getting a smile from a woman. Puts an extra stride in my steps. Don't worry; AP understands. She will probably say to you, "If I see a handsome young man running by me I would smile at him too." I check to see if I am maintaining good form. Yes. elbows tucked in, landing on ball of my feet, eyes looking ahead, leaning slightly forward, relaxed.
Here comes the hill; its a ball-buster, but I am ready for it. Breathing through my nose, pumping my arms, short strides. No looking down. I have to look way ahead. A big mistake runners make when running uphill is to look down. I get through the hill quite easily. Now for the downhill. Here is where I allow the force of gravity to do the work, giving my body a rest and filling my lungs (intake through both mouth and nostrils) with huge gulps of air. My speed increases but from the force of gravity; I simply let my body go limp.
One mile to go, and this is where I begin to open up (mouth still closed). I am in my element. I am powering through, passing several runners in the process. Oh, I get passed too, but rarely...hehe. I am strongest near the end of my run; It's like I have renewed energy. My strides are longer, and I feel like I am sprinting. Ahead is the 150 meters hill that brings me to the end of my run. Still mouth closed, I power up it like nobody's business, eventually leveling out to the finish point. Still mouth closed and avoiding the temptation to put my hands on my hips I walk along the Central Park West sidewalk feeling as if I had just conquered the world.