As I settled on my bed this morning with a cup of coffee and the newspaper, I wasn't expecting anything to jump out at me while I turned pages. An article about the new Governor. Candidates for new offensive coach at the university. A rash of purse snatchings. Parkour.
The headline said DAREDEVIL FITNESS FAD CATCHES ON: YOUNG URBANITES BRING CROSS-COUNTRY RACING TO CAMPUSES, STREETS. I felt my heart speed up. I started reading the article, then put it down, closed my eyes, and whispered, "Yes!"
All my life, I've had a love/hate relationship with running. As a child, I ran through the neighborhood with my brothers and my friends - in and out of yards, over hedges, around bushes, under low branches.
Charging up hills and almost flying down them... sheer freedom!
Then came school and running the track. How deadly dull can you get? Oh, I'd try to liven things up, playing the ROCKY soundtrack in my head as I ran. Once I started half a lap behind everyone else in my class and "Gotta Fly Now" not only got me caught up, but I actually arrived at the finish line third!
That was the last time I ran full out like that - sophmore year in high school.
Shortly after that, I saw CHARIOTS OF FIRE. The quintessential "running" movie of my time. I hated all the track work and tryouts and training, but the sequence of the minister guy running through the rocky fields of Ireland had me on the edge of my seat. YES! This is what running is!
The rest of the movie was a letdown for me... It was all on track.
Many years have passed since high school and that date (who did I go with????) to see CHARIOTS OF FIRE. I've been married twice, had a kid, gained-lost-gained weight, held several jobs and lived in several places - and not once did I think about running in all that time.
Until this morning.
And the article on Parkour. I thought about this ALL DAY.
Basically, parkour is running like the cops are after you, or maybe the devil. It was inspired by martial arts, gymnastics and military obstacle-course training, and the participants (or traceurs) leap over walls, slip through railings dive through open windows, careening along and letting no obstacle stop their progress. It's been popular in Europe for about a decade, but is now making the leap to the USA. If you've seen the new "Casino Royale", you got an eight-minute eyeful of extreme parkour in the opening sequence (I will now have to see this movie).
I am now thinking about running. I want to run. This is the kind of running I can relate to, that I would enjoy. Jogging down the road, running around a track - I just don't get it. It seems like the most boring thing on earth. But parkour? It would feel like....
Like... being a kid again.