When hiking up in Forest Park, I'm continually astounded that many, if not most, of those whose path I cross are runners. The Wildwood Trail is beautiful, but with all the tree roots and rocks popping out all over the place, it can be more than a little dangerous unless you're paying very close attention to where you land your feet. The photos above give some idea, but even more dangerous are the little root-y hazards that aren't at all so obvious; I've tripped so many times on the subtlest bits of root that, with the fallen leaves and dappled light, I could barely make out against the same-colored surface of the path.
And yet all these people keep flying by me, their heads thrown back, seemingly unconcerned with any potential leg-breaking or tooth-scattering disaster. Maybe when they really get going properly, there's a bit of elevation, and their toes don't catch on things so much. Or maybe their feet have a sort of sixth sense for all the roots and rocks and are able to avoid them without much effort. Kind of like the happy relationship I had with dog poop in Paris; I seemed to have the most excellent radar and never put a foot wrong.
But up on the trail I'm so prone to stumbling that I can't but gaze down at the ground in front of me the whole way; if I want to revel at the glory of nature - or take a necessary swig of water - I pretty much have to come to a complete stop. I think maybe I don't lift my feet very much when I walk. Perhaps I've got a bit of a "Versailles glide", that peculiar gait used by the ladies of the French court, moving across the parquet without lifting their feet, seeming to float rather than walk.
Yes, that must be it.
(I don't think Norma has quite got the "glide", here, but I believe you get my point....)