The answer to the second question is "yes", those little suckers simply get up and go. They don't think about it; they don't need shoes; they just run with pure joyous abandon and beautiful, natural form.
51 year old guys? Not so much!....... :-)
One of the things I really need to work on is my run form. This and losing a few pounds could be the difference between a good half marathon leg at the upcoming Rev.3 SC 70.3 race and struggling home. Thankfully, as best I can tell (based particularly on feedback from the guys at Bull City Running and coach Marisa) I'm pretty much a "mid foot striker" and I don't have huge issues with either over or under pronation. I see this as a good start (especially when it comes to avoiding injury), but there's soooo much more to work on. Basically I'm still pretty much a "plodder"... I don't float majestically across the asphalt... I fight my way there!
Most recently I have been working on "toeing off" and trying to finish every stride. I can certainly feel the benefits when I'm fresh, but find it hard to stay focused on this when I get tired.
Then there's run cadence. Again, I can comfortably maintain a good cadence (maybe 80-90 per min) when I'm fresh, but do I maintain it at the end of a long run?
I also, apparently, run like a plank! The new challenge is to introduce "contralateral rotation" - basically having your right leg and left shoulder work in harmony and vice versa. I'm looking forward to a session with The Puppeteer on Friday to start to get this "grooved". I'm absolutely positive that improved flexibility and core strength will be a recurring theme!
No doubt there will be a dozen other things in the future to add to the list. Isn't it amazing that there is so much to learn and that even something as fundamental and "natural" as running can involve so much learning.? It's so easy, even a baby can do it!