Running in the Dallas Airport
I didn’t think I could make it another step, the mountain of luggage slung around my shoulders weighing me down like a boat anchor.
People were looking at me weird, their eyebrows raised, just as I usually do to others I see running through an airport.
Over the intercom I heard, “This is the final call for flight 1394 to Fort Lauderdale.”
“Not… going… to… make… it!” I groaned, then rounding a final corner I saw the finish line: Blessed Gate 14. A minute later I arrived, all sweaty and out of breath. The area was empty and technically my plane was supposed to be taking off just then.
“Sir,” a counter agent asked quickly, “Are you on this flight to Fort Lauderdale?”
They repeated the question.
More gasping, I couldn’t talk. But I was thinking to myself, “Yes, of course, that’s why I’m here in a sweaty puddle!”
Finally I got the words out, explaining, “Uh-huh, and I’m the one the checked luggage people called ahead about regarding all the tons of extra luggage I have you’re supposed to checked under the plane,” as I unceremoniously dropped a 50 lb bag at their feet, not counting the two other backpacks still on my back I was hoping to all get crammed into an overhead compartment or checked below.
I added, “This all needs to be checked through to Port-au Prince, not just the next stop of Fort Lauderdale.”
One lady started protesting that the airplane door was supposed to be closing right now and they didn’t have time for this monkey-business while another lady thankfully began hastily making up tags and radioing below to the cart lackey’s that more bags were a-coming so re-open the baggage bay doors pronto.
I crossed my fingers. Fortunately, the second lady won. I was shooed into the plane (amidst repeated urgings of hurry, hurry, faster, faster) the proud last passenger aboard. Everyone else was buckled up, even the overhead storage bins were already closed. Ha, Safe! Just in the Nick of time.
Running to Jingle Bells
Last weekend on the first day of December, myself and 817 other Wichitans participated in a 4-mile benefit run for Arthritis research (and also to kick off the Christmas season).
The start and finish lines were at the Exploration Place downtown and the route followed Wichita’s scenic dried-up river bed. It was great fun, I set a new PR, and, considering the number of runners, was happy coming in 80th place.
I couldn’t have gone as fast without the extra boost I received from everyone cheering me on: my brother and his girls and my parents with my niece Alexis. They all strategically staged themselves along the course and made a scene as I passed!
Seth took this picture with his iPhone:
(note the bells on my shoelaces! it’s not called the “Jingle Bell Run” for nuthing)
The race was on a nice chilly, cloudy morning. Not like what I’m experiencing here in Haiti, less than a week later! though admittedly it is not as bad here as I was expecting, currently this being Hatian winter (with highs more in the 80s rather than 90s).
My friend Danny asked me if I had been running more the last couple months to work up for this race. I told him, “No, it’s the other way around: since I’ve gotten into a running kick of late, this was my way of celebrating!”
Thoughts on Form (and Thoughts on Thinking)
Recently running has become more fun for me than it used to. I think one reason is because I’ve changed my form, resulting in the activity becoming less painful.
I used to always jog with long strides, heel-striking every step, and oft as not hunched over as well. Apparently, this is not ideal form.
They say one of the best ways to learn “proper” running form is to run barefoot on a grassy surface and see how the body naturally responds. Lo and behold, doing this results in 1) a much lighter step 2) instead of heel-striking the foot naturally ends up landing more towards the middle to front of the foot 3) strides becomes shorter and 4) posture more erect.
Says certain experts, all these components: shorter strides (such that the footstrike ends up landing underneath the body instead of reached out in front of the body), faster cadence, running on the toes (or middle of the foot), standing up straight, all make for the most efficient running technique, whether barefoot or shod.
So, whether this is all hair-brained science or not, I’ve been trying it! In short, trying to morph “sprinting form” down to a jog. At first this caused my calves to be incredibly sore after running, but now I find this to have resulted in my being less tired and being able to run faster and further than before.
The physical aspect of running aside, I do love (and always have) the process of thinking while exercising. Seems that while my body is healthily working (not just running, but bicycling, feeding cows, whatever) my mind is freer to think about the deeper aspects of life, to delve hidden crannies of introspective reflection.
Important decisions in my life have been made while running!
Yesterday I met runner Barry McDonald. A group of us went to the United Nations headquarters in Port-au Prince to eat at an American-style restaurant they have on base (I haven’t been in Haiti long enough to crave American food, but sure wasn’t complaining ‘cus I do love me some a cheeseburger!).
Anyways, Barry was there, and I got to talk with him awhile. He is planning to run across Haiti (12 marathons in 12 days) to raise money for a much needed maternity center for Heartline (the organization I’m currently volunteering with as a driver).
What he is doing is pretty exciting, and I may get to help in some way with the logistics of his big run (planned for mid January).
You can learn more about the run (and the cause) here. I think it’s pretty interesting…