I hadn’t been running very long the first time someone told me I took lots of fast, tiny steps. It’s funny that there are always two ways to be seen in the world—the way we see ourselves, and the way others see us. Rarely do these two disparate views align. I guess I’d always envisioned my running strides as just that, strides. Long, lengthy leg reaches. You know, all gazelle-like and shit. But I don’t have long legs, so that image was less reality based, more delusional.
Still, hearing that I took tiny steps was a bit of a blow to my self-image. I tried to brush of the initial comment as uninformed, but when I became less of a lone wolf runner and started running with other people, they too commented on my style and asked me where I’d learned to run like I did.
I honestly don’t know. I had never (at that point) had a running coach. I simply went out and ran, letting my body do whatever felt right, remembering only a few pointers I’d gleaned somewhere along the way—keep the elbows in, head up (like Usain Bolt), run a little pigeon-toed, use the arms to pump and gain momentum, but for god’s sake don’t flail about.
Then Nancy signed up for Fit School where Coach Carol Frazey’s (so many F words!) mantra seemed to be “quick steps, quick steps!” Huh, I thought. Maybe I’m on to something here. Eventually, I started winning ribbons and medals in races, placing in my age group, Feeling Fast.
I may never be a Flo-Jo with legs up to my armpits or fifteen foot strides, but my fast little feet serve me well, thank you very much.
How will I finish
this race? On my own two feet,
and speedy, my pace.