This morning I was awake really early, and I decided to go for a longer run than I usually do. I set myself a time goal of 1 hour, which is about 15 minutes longer than the “long runs” I usually do, and opened up the Nike Run Club app I’m using to track my runs to see if I could find a one-hour guide to keep me company. I was lucky enough that Eliud Kipchoge recorded something with Nike. The minute I found out about that – I was thrilled. Who isn’t? Eliud Kipchoge fascinates me as a runner [because apparently, I’m becoming one of those now], because of his decision to quit track and take to marathons, because of his belief that humans are limitless and boundless, and because of the way he smiles even when he’s firing on all cylinders trying to keep pace with his target at the end of his run.
If you don’t know about Eliud Kipchoge, please Google him. I encourage you to. He was one of the athletes behind, and trained for Nike’s Breaking2 projects, and one of the most talented athletes in the world.
And so I began.
It was a pretty awesome run, I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I ended it feeling good about myself – and actually feeling like I could have gone longer at the same pace, which is what the “Coach” told me I should feel.
However, two things stood out. First, the music. All throughout the run, I listened to strains of African music from the accompanying Spotify playlist. This was incredible. African music is traditionally perceived as being a percussive-dominant musical genre, and this is generalizing the continent. The Black Panther score was a representation that this was untrue – in mainstream music. That playlist though, was a perfect compilation for a long run that introduced me to so many strands of that continent’s music. I loved it.
The second, was what Kipchoge kept reiterating each time he came to speak on the guide. Each time he interrupted the music, he said “Be kind to yourself”, and I’d ease off. I’d stop stressing about the next stride and how it would feel – or the next lap, or the next couple of minutes. I’d smile. I’d ease off the tension in my muscles, ease off any clutter in my brain, and be kind to myself. I was running – and I was super pleased with myself all morning.
Thanks, Mr. Kipchoge.