by Steph Creaturo
During a recent run in a local park, I fell into a pace for pace stride with another runner. A local running club was holding an event in the park, and she was with them – bib number 29.
This annoyed me at first. I don’t run with anyone. When I run, I clamp my headphones on pretty tight and burrow into myself. I tried to pace forward. She kept up. I hung back on the big hill. She eeked forward. I scooted to meet her.
Like keep your eyes on your own mat in yoga class, run your own race is a pretty big mantra in running circles.
Sometimes, though, we need a push. We can get stuck in a storyline of not trying a pose, of being lulled into a particular pace. This is where the pacer comes in handy. As long as we can stay rooted in our center when we work with a pacer, we can shake off the doldrums of comfortable and see what’s really possible.
I am trying to shave a few seconds off my per mile time. The appearance of this unexpected pacer was a welcome push to my current capacity.
The original feelings of annoyance molted into “this is weird” which evolved into a deep appreciation of number 29. I finally settled in; the cadence of my strides linked to hers. We stayed this way for a good three-fourths of the park; a lulling mediation of perfect synchronicity.
Then, she passed a coach with a clipboard and a timer, who shouted to her. And like a gust of unexpected wind, she bolted ahead. Her finish line was ahead. I still had miles to go. My temptation was to bolt, too, but that was her pace, not mine. It was once again time to pace on my own.