Part 1: Last Sunday, I ran 16 miles. During the week, I was supposed to run a 2mi day, then a 6 mile day embedded with 4 miles of “speedwork.” The day that I set out for 2 miles, I got lost and had 5 miles on the books by the time I made it home (and late for work.) So, the next run, I thought I’d just do 3 miles and do “speedwork” – which, according to the training plan, is back to back miles at a rate faster than I’ve run before. I hadn’t gotten close to that pace yet, and I hadn’t even really tried. On “speed” days, I was just running faster than I normally do.
Part 2: One of the guys who joined the College last year as a Senior VP is a very fit guy. He’s run a couple marathons and I think has established some pretty nice finishes at triathalons. Now that I’ve moved, I live within a couple miles of his house. I’ve seen him and his wife (also a very fit individual) go by on their bikes from time to time and they are not just “cruising.” They are racing. I met him a social event last year before the marathon and he graciously gave me some good tips and lots of encouragement. Now that we work at the same place, we bump into each other occasionally and he’s always inquired about my running plans and goals, which is very nice.
Collision Parts 1 & 2: So, since I covered 5 miles earlier in the week, I started out on Thursday morning to try a short speed distance. My goal – 3 miles as fast as I could go. I was determined and focused and was trying to run as efficiently and fast as possible to see how fast I could really be. (I have never tried this before – EVER.) So, I had one mile left and I was really moving – I was actually running at the training plan goal pace. I was thinking to myself, “Wow – too bad I’m alone when this is happening!” Next thing I know, a guy goes by on his bike and yells out “Hey Whit!” but he’s past me before I get a good look.
Later that morning, I get this email headline in my inbox – no message included – just a subject:
HILARIOUS. I have never been that fast before in my whole life and then when this elite athlete and colleague happens to see me, HE THINKS I’M A FAST RUNNER! I’m still laughing. (And I hope he never, ever, sees me running again.)
Today, I was aiming for 18 miles. Janet and I had a plan to break the mileage into loops and a friend from work, Kat, planned to join in for final 8 mile loop. Janet and I had a really nice 10 miles at a nice pace where we could actually chat with each other for the first 7 miles, and tried a new road on the route that was really, really pretty! Kat kicked in at mile 1o to pace me for the next 8 miles, which was great. I was already tired, but she was just getting started, so she had good energy and stayed with me, also chatting, making the mileage easier to take.
My daughter, Lucy, drove by in the car at mile 14 to check on us, see if anyone needed a ride home, and offer ice water. I assured her I could make it home, gulped the water, and waved her off. At mile 14.5, my left knee got mad and stopped doing its part. It was complaining non-stop, causing a left-listing shuffle that then caused a side-stitch on the right. Lucy was long gone. I had 3.5 miles left. Kat switched up the route to get us onto a dirt road instead of pavement, but I was still hurting. All in all, I made it to 16.93 miles. Not 18. Not quite the 17, but close enough that I’m putting “17” in my training log. And I don’t think I could have gotten that far on my own. This is why friends are so great! When things get tough, friends can make it feel less tough, and even figure out a way to lessen the challenge. Friends are awesome.
Here we are in my driveway (Kat -left, me -right.) Phew.
Also, here is an update on Margaret’s training in Lancaster, PA. I don’t know what she does *every* day for training, but it’s probably better that I don’t know because I would feel weak and lazy in comparison. Especially because last I heard from her, she said, “Yeah, I didn’t run much but I did stadium steps.” STADIUM STEPS. Do you know that that means? That means she is running UP the stairs of a football stadium, and back down. And back up. And back down. Yesterday, she ran in a half-marathon. For the past two years, she has tried to get Janet and me to sign up and we are both squarely in the “No Way” category. Hot, humid, central PA, in Amish territory (aka HILLS). But the highlight of the race is running alongside the Amish and that the finisher medal is a hand forged horse shoe. She really wanted that horse shoe. Here was her text yesterday,
Yep. She probably won her age-group, too.