I stand with my hands on my hips and wait for green light. This traffic light irritates me, and it shows. Fair enough that vehicles and pedestrians can't use the same asphalt area at the same time, but why should cars have precedence so long that I get cold? And why should they have the crosswalk in a Y-junction, so that you first cross one street and then have to wait for ages to cross the next one?
The rest of this course around the søerne in Copenhagen is fabulous, there are even two underpasses so you don't have to wait at all , so it might the price I have to pay. But I get irritated nonetheless , staring grimly at the motorists and probably sighing a couple of times demonstratively, still standing with my hands on my hips.
Behind me I hear another runner slowing down. Thumpingly. He sighs too. Good. There are more who feel like demonstrating against the city planners. Perhaps we should write a letter to one of the Danish newspapers together, or start a petition.
"Barefoot ! Pah !" someone mutters breathlessly behind me as the sound dies down.
I glance over. A man with yellow knee socks and yellow earbuds. He is jogging on the spot, bouncing on the spot, while he catches his breath and wipes the sweat with his sweat band. Staring focused on the opposite sidewalk.
I don't care too much about it. There are so many people who run around the søerne that there's bound to be one or two who stares wideeyed at my feet as I run past . Most people don't notice, or at least they are too good actors not to make me believe they don't notice. One or two staring is just fun.
But of course, most people who stare are surprised in a good way. Oh, wow, they say, not pah. This yellow jogger behind me, however ... Or perhaps he was just out of breath?
The cars get red light and my train of thoughts vanishes as I bounce over the crosswalk, in front of all the other pedestrians, and into a the smooth asphalt path along the water. This is where I run faster, just because I can, it's so comfortable to run here that it's almost impossible not to. But not this time. I'll run far today. This time I'll stay at 6:00-tempo, 6:30 -- trying to run so efficiently that my feet barely make a sound, and my breath stays calm and silent.
Behind me I hear the thumping again. He's breathing heavily now, only hundred meters after the intersection, and he comes closer and closer. He 's mad because I crossed the street before I got the green light, he's pissed because I'm barefoot and try to outrun him, I feel it in the footsteps, hear it in his breath, he's gaining now, he will pass. I smile to myself.
Just as he is right behind me, a mother on a bicycle passes us. Her son sits in his seat and turns to me. Why is that man barefoot, he asks. The mother responds something I can't hear. Can he run faster, he continues, still staring.
Can I run faster ?
By themselves, almost, my legs start running faster. It's a silly run, I put my head on one side and wave, almost flail my arms about, but still it's running, and soon, I gain on the bicycle. The son stares without saying anything. I get closer and closer. Behind me the thumping fades and the heavy breathing disappears.
After hundred yards or so I slow down again. Not because I'm tired, because I'm not, not even a little breathless, but because I'm going far, I will not collect lactic acid, only kilometers. The bike increases the distance bewtween us again, still with the son staring at me, and behind me I hear the thumping again. He also increased his speed! He must be really annoyed now, it's as if this barefoot idiot is toying with him !
Oh, let him pass , then, let him have the pleasure of running past me.
But far up ahead I hear a small voice crying again, and an arm waving from behind a lady bike, and the voice pipes, come on, barefoot man, run faster !
And so I run faster again. The son laughs a children's laughter and the mother says something, probably that he must sit still, she's a little wobbly, and my feet increase their frequency again (something they in barefoot theory perhaps shouldn't, but that's how I run ) and I increase my stride length and again the grass on the side of the path flies by a little quicker, and again I hear the thumping fading behind me, and the heavy breathing, and yet again I am alone with my silent breathing and soft tripping.
Suddenly the bike turns off to the right down a bike path. As I run past, I see the son waving back while he shouts something I do not get. And then I go down to the slow pace again, just over 6 min/km, resting pace. Not straight away, I run a little faster for a while, but I force the pace down, I will not accumulate lactic acid, not collect PRs. Just kilometers.
A hundred yards behind me, or two hundred , I see a man with yellow knee socks standing with his hands on his knees. It looks like he will vomit, but he probably won't, he's probably looking for his breath, he lost it somewhere on the path. See, he gets up and looks in my direction, down the path. He 's probably good to go in a few seconds.
The next time I turn around, I see him running from me, quite slowly. Oh, he's doing interval training, I see, fast one way and slowly back.
Across the least run friendly traffic light søerne has to offer.
This Saturday, 21st, I'll do my long awaited marathon. 42 km. I haven't prepared as one should. I hope I'll survive. Here my sufferings will be on display from 0946.
Almost passed by a shoddie. Twice.
Blog entry posted by nisto, Sep 17, 2013.