Este tipo cuenta que el compás que le dio un norte no fue el magnético sino el escolar, el que dibuja círculos. Vendió su auto y conoció el transporte público de una ciudad, Los Angeles, que no es conocida por eso. Armó mapas, senderos que indicaban subidas y no bajadas por ciertos pasadizos y escaleras, áreas temáticas. La práctica lo llevó a conocer los ritmos de la ciudad en distintos horarios.
The meal ended late, well past midnight. Nobody was driving in my direction, so I began to walk toward the bus stop. But I know L.A.'s transit system, and wee-hours offerings are few. I'd have to wait as long as it would take me to run.
So run I did. I took the same route, but it was absolutely transformed. The only remnants of commerce were hosed-down sidewalks and dumpsters stuffed with restaurant refuse. When I cut to a boulevard with no sidewalks, I found it to be nearly car-free; I was gliding along, alone. Six lanes of asphalt were mine. I was suddenly moving faster and steadier than I ever had.
Twelve miles in a single day. It was the greatest distance I'd covered, and the first time I'd seen myself as somebody who could move smoothly, and at speed. It was bliss. It was amazing.
Y hasta organizó eventos de 200 personas para caminar durante dos días:
third annual Big Parade, a two-day walking festival that covers 35 miles, 100 public stairways, and includes an overnight campout in a city park. In 2010, over 200 people participated.)
El autor hizo mapas con marcas de lo que quería explorar. Encontró formas de dar vueltas en la ciudad y hasta de vagar, mezclando corridas con transporte público, visitas a amigos, y una comida o compras en el medio del camino. Hizo del recorrer la ciudad un juego, no exento de reglas. Lo interesante es que lo que más buscaba era la diversión pero por sobre todo la libertad:
I'm not aiming for practicality. I make up rules for one reason: Rules are for games, and games are fun. I'd never thought of rules for running because I'd never seen it as potentially enjoyable. [...] something that would occur more and more: an odd regard in which I was held by "real" runners. I was up to five days a week, and my miles were in the double-digits. Yet a few serious runners still scoffed at my technique. "That's not running," one told me, horrified that runs often included a dozen stops at traffic lights.
Lo poderoso de este testimonio es que pone en evidencia lo institucionalizado y regularizado que está el mundo de los corredores adultos de carreras en espacio y tiempo circunscripto. Me hace pensar en el contraste con los chicos que corren por diversión sin tiempo, y los ladrones que corren hacia un objetivo o por su vida huyendo de un peligro. Lo llamativo es que nadie parece terminar de abrazar la libertad. Tal vez los adultos siempre buscan el estado mental de la meditación. Pero ¿por qué no se puede tener un estado de conciencia del presente sin tanta vuelta?
As much as I'd rejected it, I sensed that increased distance might actually require a greater sense of pace, of gliding, a more trancelike mental state: the runner's high that I thought I was incapable of.
I began joining my conventionally running friends on regular training jaunts. // Distance became seductive. As I moved closer to a more standard definition of the sport, I began thinking something I imagined only real runners think: I needed a goal. Of course, it had to be a marathon. [...] the pressure of a Big Goal can lead to Big Denial
Al final un balance positivo y explícito:
Now I realize that the true center of my circles wasn't the point of a grade-school artifact. It was what I was seeking: the heart of the sport, which isn't so much bliss, but freedom.
[Monique Ryan:] When you eat a bowl of spaghetti, most of the carbs are stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver. [...] [Benjamin Rapoport, a 2:55 marathoner:] "Many fruits are high in carbs but are also high in fiber—and too much can cause stomach trouble midrace". "Bananas are a low-fiber choice," says sports nutritionist Ilana Katz, R.D. "And you can peel apples, peaches, and pears to reduce their fiber content." She also gives her clients permission to indulge in white bread and baked potatoes without the skin since both are easily digested.