I run and run and run. My knee, injured in 2004, now gives me no pain. I can feel only the ground under my feet, my ankles flicking my feet back. My arms swaying sharply, but gently. I can't see any details in the park, it's 10 o'clock at night. A few runners pass me going in the other direction, otherwise I pass only late night dog-walkers. I'm training. For what, I don't know. But I do know this is necessary for The Runner.
Tonight I ran 8.8 km. This is the farthest I've run since my injury, all on trails and uneven ground. I run the last 1km barefoot. I recently read Born To Run - Chris McDougall's inspiring book about natural running gurus. They run barefoot. I try it out of curiosity but with pessemism. And soon I am floating. Running on trails, in my shoes, I feel a new lightness. I'm just skimming the ground with my feet. Hovering over the uneven surfaces of grass, mud and pavement. But barefoot, on the flat road, I am even lighter. I leave no impact on the ground. I am weightless. I understand now why endurance runners, when they first try barefoot running, are transformed. They are amazed by the simplicity of it. It is now that I realise how humans were designed to run long distances. It is like this. Without thick soled running shoes.
Light. Light. Light. Chris says to keep reminding yourself, as you run, light - light - light. If you can perfect this, fast will come later. Don't concentrate on fast. Don't think about fast. Think about light, and you'll become fast.