High Gravity and Headwinds


Great run this morning in Palo Alto. There are times when I’m unsure that I’ll be able to do a route. I have it in my mind and all I can do is start… and fall … and catch myself again. After all,  what is running other than falling and catching yourself – over and over again? Then I notice my watch beep and vibrate and I look down – 5 miles have gone by and I’m far from home.

Sometimes I feel gravity more than other days – it’s a similar feeling to riding a bicycle when perhaps the tire is flat – it feels flat – but no, the tire is fine, it’s just my legs that are flat.

This morning it was quite windy,  running up the steep hills (one is called the ‘Hill of Death’) I was blocked from the wind, but it was so steep and I swung my arms to propel myself upwards. Never look down at your feet –  always look up to the crest of the hill and imagine an invisible cord connecting your head to the top of the hill…pulling you upwards. It’s a trick learned long ago. After cresting the hill, I anticipated rolling like water down the other side giving me a chance to catch my breath. But it wasn’t so. I was met by a strong headwind that forced me to work just as hard as running uphill.  The beauty came when I turned toward the the rising sun (wave hello), followed the trail around a bend and then the wind was at my back. Yes!

For a long time I used to go to bed early. Sometimes, when I had put out my candle, my eyes would close so quickly that I had not even time to say “I’m going to sleep.” And half an hour later the thought that it was time to go to sleep would awaken me; I would try to put away the book which, I imagined, was still in my hands, and to blow out the light; I had been thinking all the time, while I was asleep, of what I had just been reading, but my thoughts had run into a channel of their own, until I myself seemed actually to have become the subject of my book: a church, a quartet, the rivalry between François I and Charles V. This impression would persist for some moments after I was awake; it did not disturb my mind, but it lay like scales upon my eyes and prevented them from registering the fact that the candle was no longer burning. Then it would begin to seem unintelligible, as the thoughts of a former existence must be to a reincarnate spirit; the subject of my book would separate itself from me, leaving me free to choose whether I would form part of it or no; and at the same time my sight would return and I would be astonished to find myself in a state of darkness, pleasant and restful enough for the eyes, and even more, perhaps, for my mind, to which it appeared incomprehensible, without a cause, a matter dark indeed.

-Marcel Proust,  Remembrance of Things Past

For me to read later (when I have time):

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