Ginger With a J: The Next Level

This is what it would look like if I ran in my boyfriend's body. Although he's usually not that tan.

Every so often my boyfriend James and I will have a conversation about what it would be like to run in each other’s bodies. For instance, if I was placed in his body while running a 30 minute 10k, would I be thinking it feels amazingly awesome and flawless? Or would I be begging for it to slow down? And if he were to be placed in my body while it runs a 45 minute 10k, would he be thinking that it feels painful, like that’s as fast as I will ever be able to run? Or would he be thinking, God, this is so easy how can you not go faster? Sadly, we probably won’t ever know. But I can assume that most likely, if I ever ran even one 4:49 mile, that it would feel amazingly awesome and flawless, as if I were flying.

Within the last couple of months, I had three track workouts where I felt out of my own body. Those sensations only lasted a mere 100 meters but gave me a glipse of what it might be like to run fast. As I approached the backstretch, all self doubt and temptation to give up escaped my mind. Naturally my stride opened, and as my knees lifted up, it felt as if I hopped into a flying vehicle of sorts on cruise control, where it was a smooth ride to the finish. My form actually did change as James’s coach complimented me on the fact that I wasn’t bouncing. “You need to run that way all the time, even when going slow,” he said. Sadly, when I came down from my high and began the cool down, I forgot what this fast felt like.

My thought process has been that running fast is this magical place that I just haven’t been to yet. The next workout, I wasn’t able to get to that place like I had the week before. I didn’t chalk it up to failure though. I just thought that some days you’ll be on, and others, off. But even if you feel off, you can still hit your times. In that workout, I averaged about 93 seconds for eight 400 meter repeats. This was a huge improvement from last year, where I was only able to average about 1:41 for eight 400 repeats. I had just assumed that once you run faster though, it will feel easier. All the time.

Whether you are someone who runs a 25 minute 5k or someone who runs a 20 minute 5k, if you are giving it all you got, those efforts will probably feel the same, right? However, with speed, comes fitness. Prior to my little achilles mishap, I was just starting to feel stronger, a feeling I never had in my running. I believe this is why I was just starting to experience those little moments on the backstretch where I felt weightless and free, what I like to call the next level. At the moment, my training feels like a video game. I let Super Mario fall off the bricks that he was walking on and I have to start the new level I just reached all over again.

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What about you? Does running faster feel different? If so, what’s it feel like?

I write about mindfulness, mental health, and the professional sport of running with the occasional poking fun at the sport. When I am not running, I'm either helping people as a counselor or trying to make them laugh as an amateur open mic comedian.

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  1. Now that I’m racing two minutes per mile faster than I was when I started, I can definitely say that it feels the same. It’s still tough, it’s still pushing me to the edge…but isn’t that the point?

    Don’t injuries SUCK? Ugh! When you’re injured it’s so easy to feel like you’re going to have to begin all over again, I think, since so many of our injuries are “overuse” injuries or are caused by ramping up our training too fast. I bet you’ll find that, just like starting a Mario level over, you’re better prepared for the pitfalls and challenges ahead and you’re able to get through it much easier and quicker!

  2. Great point about being better prepared. It’s like the time off recharges our minds to make the situation a more positive one and become mentally stronger once we start back up! I’m back to running again and I already feel stronger due to the lessons learned! Hope your hammy feels better soon!

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