Slow is Smooth, and Smooth is Fast

Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.


This has become my new mantra, from the mouth of one of the best TV dads ever, Phil Dunphy, thought of on the run, when I think of funny things to pass the time, thoughts drifting from Sofia Vergara, the usual means of time-pass, to Phil, reacting to emergencies, calm, zen-like, slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.  It doesn't sound rational; how can slow and fast exist at the same time, linked by smooth, fluid movement, the steady metronome of soft-landing feet on dirt?

There is a moment, all athletes talk about it, the runner's high, the zone, where time slows and there is no thought, only pure motion, where it would be outside the realm of possible to miss the shot, the pass, the putt.  A moment when the mind is operating on a different level, beyond conscious decisions about angles, speed, power...it just flows.

Go slow.

Watching the world's fastest runners, everyone seems to comment on how easy they make it look, how they don't look like they are struggling; they are relaxed, smooth, just over 4 minute miles for mile after mile, running in slow time.

Don't slow down.

But don't try to go fast, don't clench your teeth, don't raise your shoulders to your ears, don't extend your leg as far as they can go sending heels crashing, don't squint your eyes, don't worry about that big rock or the downed tree lying in your path, don't hold your fists so tight you make fingernail marks in your palms, don't run loud, don't think.

Do.

Find your inner 5-year old, smile softly, kick your heels up, jump through puddles (your shoes will dry), say good morning to people you pass, and good job to people who pass you, hurdle rocks, branches, tree stumps, go off the trail, get scratches on your ankles and shins, sprint to that next tree, then take a break, listen to your breath.  Listen to the animals, warning each other that there is something wild coming down the trail.

Relax, go smooth, let time slow down, because slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

1 Mile with Uli Steidl and Geoff Roes

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