My Elementary school would have a Track and Field day that had all sorts of events that included throwing and jumping and running. To decide the order of the children that would race in the final race between the three groups (Red Flames, Blue Streaks and Silver Bullets!) there would be a mini-tryout of sorts. All the kids would just run from one end of the soccer field to the other in your respective groups (I was a Red Flame!) and the fastest people would go last and the slowest people would go first in the final track and field event.
I was always one of the slowest people so I would always be one of the kids that would run first - painfully obvious that I was not the best and I was not the fastest.
I even had a dream once, as a kid during this time, that I was unbelievably fast. In my dream I felt my legs pumping and the rush of passing people while I was running across the soccer field. The feeling of being on air. All the kids and the teachers came up to me afterwards saying, "How did you get so fast? We want you to run last you are so good!" But - just a dream.
This is not some story of how now 15 years later I am now an exceptional athlete that can run extremely fast breaking records and breaking hearts. But I am fast. I can run hill sprints at a speed that might be luck and might be practice but there is some natural talent in there as well that I always had. I can run track sprints and pass people and I know now that I am fast and I am good.
There is a jarring feeling in your knees and legs that occur when you are consciously trying to slow down.
When I start I think 'run run run run', abs tight, arms loose, head up, hips out. Try to slow down, stop, walk back. Start again. Before you start and before you can really think - it's over. You've reached the top of the hill.
I have gotten fast and it wasn't until I mentioned it to someone the other day about Elementary school track and field that I remembered how I used to be slow. There is something that comes from being taller, understanding my body and biomechanics better, better shoes these days perhaps? Maybe all I did was I let go of being slow and I started being fast instead.
This may seem like such a simple story but I want to stress that I always thought I was slow. I might have been then but I'm not now. If had continued to assume that I was I would never have found a training tool that I enjoy and look forward to.
This is the top of the hill that I usually run near where I live. I can watch kayakers and canoers and runners and walkers from the top of this hill. It is inspirational seeing so many people bettering themselves - getting better and getting faster - even though I may never meet them.