The Burdo Zone


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ghost Running

A deeply enveloping gauze of dampness has taken the night, and only a glimmer of moonlight reflects off the road, the bridge and the river as I run my sprint repeats. Where a week ago the bright sun and tiny bugs above the bridge collided with my body, tonight there is a sense of no sense, a deprivation chamber in which my strides are suspended, my body ethereal and the effort pure. I stop and massage out a glitch in my left hamstring, and the resulting smoothed rhythm within my legs flows near effortlessly, driven by the audio accompaniment of Creedence, Hilltop Hoods and The Chemical Brothers.

At one point a trick of the light creates a mass in front of me. I veer for the apparition, but don't break stride. When a car rounds the bend, it's headlights pop the surface of the pavement into sharp focus, and I nearly stumble with the disorienting input. Back into the dark ether, and I am ecstatic, the final hill receding under the reborn power of my legs. My reward is a bathing flood of internal chemicals, familiar yet fresh, telling me that everything is healthy and right, and I turn to jog the easy 1/2 mile back to the tiny light of the front porch.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Exceptional: Rudisha

David Rudisha, the man featured in the first 33 seconds of the linked video, is one of the greatest athletes in the world that you have never heard of. Today he will challenge the venerable 800m world record, a time he has run within a few steps of already this season, in a major track meet in Berlin. To do so, he will probably have to run nearly half a mile in a scintillating 1:40, which is a near-sprint pace for even the world's best. He recently dominated the African Championships in Nairobi, and the towering Maasai Kenyan, at 6'2" at least half a foot taller than most top Kenyan distance runners, carries a quiet dignity in interviews that conceals the ferocity of his exploits on the track. Whether he gets the record today or not, he will go down in history as a supreme example of athleticism in it's finest guise- a serene demeanor with a powerful gift.

Update: a scant few hours after my above post, Rudisha took down the record in beautiful run:

He is only the third record-holder in this event in 29 years!