My music subsides briefly as the robotic voice of a female trainer pipes through my ear buds, "speed up and run for 6 minutes". The drum and bass rhythm of the dubb-step I'm listening to regains its original volume as I check the timer, '20 minutes' in showing on the almost too-bright liquid crystal display. Deep and hypnotic the beats block out the rest of the world around me and my gaze starts to narrow, I no longer see straight ahead and I forget about any fatigue I might have had.
There is no longer any effort, I am weightless and every stride matches the beat now inside my head. I am not floating but I can see from the view near the floor, the soul of my running shoe crushing the black deck of the treadmill in very slow motion as it rises up to meet my shoes. The red rubber of my heal impacts first, the compression wave slowly compounds then explodes forward along the arch, to the ball and finally through the toe making escape velocity for just a fraction of a second before the other heal ploughs in.
My upper body is motionless, I know I am breathing harder but can barely feel it. I am reduces to nothing but a single sense somewhere inside of myself. I am detached, I am nowhere but right here, right now. So intense, only a pinpoint of focus like balancing on a razor. No distraction, no past, no future, only this minute present. I am moving through space but going no where at all, time has slowed down and I can see everything all at once.
A small bead of sweat has my attention now leaving a cool trail along my temple, through the outer edge of my brow and slowly making its way to my eyelash before living out its evaporative life-cycle. It took years for that liquid to cross the distance, I was there for its whole term, feeling the temperature differential, I was with it all the way, and got to know it intimately. I even felt sorry that it had to go and left.
Or did this just happen in only a few seconds? Did I zone out or was I able to perfectly experience a few moments? Is it possible that time slowed down or I just became hyper aware of these tiny details. I could go on, I know I felt more. Is this what happens to runners in the zone or is it possible to gain the full experience of an event when you truly give yourself over to it?
I'm now 5 weeks into my running training and I absolutely love it. I know it's good for my conditioning but it also seems very therapeutic, very primal and brings me back to my core. It's easy to come back to the world when you have some clarity.
When was the last time you felt something?