There is this oddity that happens (my dad would categorize it under the ‘reversal theory’) with growing children. It goes like this: when they are extremely young (as in 4-6 months) they feel heavier when you carry them than they do when they’re a just a bit older (say 6-8 months). Even though they’re bigger and weigh more.
The reason is simple, it’s because these older babes are carrying their own weight. Their muscles are strong enough now to do so, whereas when they were smaller and lighter, they just hung in your arms. Like lumps of mashed potatoes. (minus the butter and sea salt, which is a tragic shame).
This thought occurred to me when I was running this morning. I was trying to run my eight mile loop in my new cushionless shoes. But I ended up running 10. I couldn’t stop. And besides the shoes, I was trying out a new arm position because my pipes had been flying around by my chest pushing my shoulders up to my ears, causing some bad muscle cramps in my neck.
And the weirdest thing happened. When I lowered my arms, I became lighter and tighter. As if that one shift had pulled my body together in a way that lightened me perceptibly. And, as I said, I couldn’t stop running.
The self carry
I’ve been thinking about it all day, and I realized it was the same as the baby phenomenon. I certainly didn’t lose weight over the course of 10 miles, but I got lighter—because I was holding myself more efficiently and totally together, making me much easier to carry.
A simple shift—of the body, of the mind, on the mapped route. And suddenly, the ability to go farther, faster, stronger, easier. Holding my own self up. Look ma, no hands.
Image credit: dullhunk