32° 42' 56.65'' N 117° 9' 39.90'' W

Drafting On An Elbow

Aaron McHugh

Joe was a recovering alcoholic who upgraded his addiction from booze to running. He told me if I tucked in close to his elbow and ran hard, he promised it would be tough, but he wouldn’t drop me. He’d won duathlon world championships, and I was trying to complete a Xterra off-road triathlon. Predictably every day there was a workout-no two-days the same. There was banter before the run and color commentary and coaching afterward.

Drafting behind his 150lb frame eased my pain while my legs and my mind trained to sustain the pace on my own. I became known as the apprentice, “Schoolboy.” On his elbow, I became capable of running faster than I could accomplish on my own. The principles of aerodynamics made it possible, but his commitment to pull me along changed my life.

Where are you drafting, gaining an advantage provided by someone else?
Whose elbow could you tuck into for a time?
Where could you become the apprentice for a season?

*Photo credits Kurt Williams