Forgive me, please.
I used to be a golfer. Kinda.
I was born an Air Force Brat, so, I think teaching me to golf was something that my dad had to do as part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Growing up down south, the town I was in had a robust set of municipal courses, and was dirt cheap for high schoolers. So, I spent a lot of Saturdays with a buddy looking to get picked up as a fourth with some of the older golfers. Some of it was a love of the game; a lot of it was old white dudes like to feel cool by sneaking young white dudes cold brewskies.
Anyway, one of the things that’s stuck with me from my golfing days is the concept of the perfect shot. The shot that makes you sing in your loins.
So, the conceit is that at least once each loop you’ll hit a perfect shot.
The perfect shot is instantly understood – everything feels smooth, the sound of the club connecting with the ball resonates, and even before you finish the follow through and raise your head to the heavens to watch the ball arc through the sky, you know the ball is going exactly where you wanted it to go.
A good golfer gets a couple of perfect shots a round. A pro might get one per hole and make a career out of it. But even a duffer, even a beginner, even a middle class white teenager buzzed off of two Michelob Lights sweating in the late morning summer sun in the South, is going to get at least one per loop.
And that’s enough to get you to come back the for the next round. Maybe enough to get you to go to the driving range in the middle of the week to work on the swing.
I think there might be a similar thing with running, and I think I hit it tonight.
It’s not the fabled “runner’s high”, which is, itself real – that hits towards the end of a long run, when occasionally the body will choose delirium instead of quitting, and it is glorious.
Instead, it’s a mile that just goes right. It doesn’t not hurt, it doesn’t feel effortless, it’s not necessarily easy.
But it’s a mile that just kind of floats by, exactly like it should.
I think I had a couple of perfect miles tonight after the sun had set behind Jamestown. I was moving, not pushing, but feeling the effort. I was aware of the wind, the crunch of the gravel beneath my feet. I made eye contact with rabbits, and tried to will them to stay still as I ran past, then felt kinship with them as they hopped away from the trail.
It was unexpected – I was pretty wiped from work today, and had pretty much planned on phoning in a mile on the treadmill and calling it another day on the streak. But, as I went to get changed out, the air just felt right, and I decided I may as well make it a real run.
I’m glad I did – there was at least one perfect mile, and it makes me want to chase the next one.