Today is a rest day. Well, resting from running at least. I’m still thinking and reading about running. Read Thomas Gardner’s log entry #42 today. In it, he writes about running repeats (1200 X 4, with jogs in-between) on campus when “about one hundred and fifty cadets descended on the track.” Descended. He uses the same word that I did in my post from Saturday about running at the YWCA track. I wrote: “a class descended on the track.” His experience was much different than mine. He writes:
On my faster laps, they would give me the inside, groups of threes and fours swinging wide at my approach then closing back in on the rail. On my jogs, the pattern would be reversed, the faster groups swallowing me up and then leaving me behind (44).
Far more ordered than the chaos I experienced when I ran on the track with about two dozen freaked-out novice runners.
Thinking about packs of runners and their behaviors makes me think of a lot of things that I’ve read, watched or experienced while running.
A List of Things this Log Entry is Reminding Me About:
- Running with lots of people in a race doesn’t freak me out nearly as much as I thought it would. I usually find a way to separate myself. I’m almost always running in the gaps between big groups of people.
- The most distinctive, and perhaps magical, experience I had running in a pack was during the 2014 TC 10 Mile. It was about 10 minutes into the race, when the sun was just rising and the air was still and calm. As we entered a tunnel, all packed together, we ran in unison, our feet shuffling the same rhythm at the same time. Really cool.
- The idea of being swallowed by a pack reminds me of watching the Tour de France, which is one of my favorite things to do in July, as the peloton finally catches a group of riders who have broken away in the hopes of winning the stage. One minute the riders, usually 2 or 3, are their own small pack. The next, they’ve disappeared, absorbed by the mass of bikers all biking together like a giant snake.
- Big groups of runners aren’t usually the problem. It’s the handful of arrogant and unprepared dipshits who are the problem. I recall reading one of Kenny Moore’s essays about running in the 1972 Olympic Marathon. In the first mile, Moore is tripped by an inexperienced runner who is running too fast and too close to him. Moore falls but manages to get up, only slightly bloodied.
Hover over the third paragraph to reveal an erasure poem.