cruel fitness

"The art of the great rhythm..." --Nietzsche

I am resting now. This is the hardest part of training, something I've always struggled to do. You work yourself into a cruel fitness, the sense that you can run forever. You have these new capacities at your fingertips. The eight mile runs, the ten mile runs, the twelve mile runs, even the long runs do not leave your weary. The workouts reveal strength behind strength, and speed where there was only acid before and empty effort.

It's at that very moment that the runner has to be careful. Having pulled the bow taught, the feeling of that tension, that power, is so great and pleasureable that the temptation is to fritter it away in small releases, in the joys of the tireless state and the effortless 6 minute miles. We want to luxuriate in this power. To squander that shape in those private moments, on the private joy of training fast, of working out. But this is not the point, no. Having built a heart that is ready to pump gallons and strong legs unwilling to tire, the runner must do what is most unnatural: mezquinar, as they say in Spanish. Hoard and store and save.

The tension of the bow is to make the arrow fly.


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