Today we ran in a pack. A pack of 4 strong-willed women determined to achieve our goal for the day. It was a simple and pretty straightforward goal: to run the furthest distance any of us has ever run… ever (a mere 14 miles). Somehow that goal managed to be more complicated to achieve than we expected. Well, it started out as our Saturday morning runs usually do: the zombies arrive and grunt a greeting to each other as their eyes glaze over when they attempt to read the course map. Often it is a series of loops here and loops there or turn right then turn left then turn right again… ultimately someone always manages to get off track and either do more miles than intended or fewer miles than required. For training purposes, it is best to aim for more miles than intended (even though it really sucks, but you usually don’t realize you have gone over until you have finished).
Well, our pack quickly glanced at the map and determined that it was actually a pretty simple route. We got this! No problem! Everyone knew where to go (well, our mellow friend doesn’t really worry about that because she just follows our lead… she has trusted my navigation skills many times… and I have always been an excellent navigator… way better than my husband… okay, I am starting to babble). Heck, it almost doesn’t matter if we don’t follow the course exactly because everyone has some type of technological gizmo at their disposal. In our pack today, we had two Garmins and my fabulous Droid phone with the free running application. Well, it is only fabulous when you remember to turn it on and it took me about .25 miles before I realized I had forgotten to turn it on. Same issue with the Garmin during a pit stop… So, we really didn’t have the most accurate data, but we managed.
Well, the route consisted of following a road to a turnaround point, coming back to where we started and then doing another loop in the opposite direction and coming back to where we started so we could go home. As we run I don’t really pay attention to how far we have gone because I try not to focus on that, but I do pay attention to the landmarks. So, of course I was getting antsy when we started heading back to the parking lot after our second loop, but guess what folks? Yep, they didn’t map out the course for a 14-mile run. So, we passed the parking lot (where are cars sat eagerly waiting for our return) for the 3rd time and continued running back towards where we had been on the first loop. Then, we thought we were at a good turnaround point, but when we got to the parking lot we still needed another 0.5 miles! Dang it! We ran past the parking lot for the 4th time! I nearly cried with agony. Is this run over yet!? 0.5 miles later (a trip around the block) and we had our VICTORY! Please don’t do that to us again…
Running is quite a competitive sport. For the most part, I have been competing with myself. However, tonight I realized that the competition actually extends beyond myself to other runners. So, here is the story of how that came to be…
It was a rather awesome evening for a run along our most favorite Jax bridges. The weather outside was just slightly perfect… not too hot and not too cold. What more can you ask for in Florida? It was also great to see my two favorite running buddies pumped and ready to go! We couldn’t wait any longer for our running coach to stop talking so we started stalking away and she finally gave us the “go ahead” signal. And we were off! And we were flying… seriously. I was pumping my legs fast, but feeling pretty good considering my body was still in pain from the BodyPump class I decided to try out yesterday.
Then, somewhere around mile 1.5, my buddy says something like “Wow, we are moving at a fast pace. I am trying to keep up with you.” I immediately replied “What? I am trying to keep up with you!” Basically, it was the battle of who was trying to keep up with who. Seriously, I wanted to make sure I didn’t get left behind so I threw up some dirt to keep my spot in the ranks. Mellow yellow behind us didn’t say a word. She just goes with the flow at whatever pace we decide to set. I don’t think she even breaks a sweat. She seems to enjoy every step she takes. I wasn’t quite feeling that pleasure tonight (wait, I don’t think I actually have felt that).
So, we were neck and neck or toe to toe… however you want to describe it. Then we get to the second bridge and speed racer decides to give it an extra boost. Well, I don’t allow any space to come between us. I am at her heels (even though I am breathing like a mad woman and most definitely flailing my arms and legs). At the top I manage to say “Are you trying to kill me?” She just responds by telling me that I was the one who set the pace in the beginning so she had to maintain it. Whatever.
There you have it folks. Running is a competitive sport. Yet, that competition is what keeps us on our toes (or wherever we are supposed to plant our feet… don’t ask me because I don’t know anything about proper running form). I only moved fast tonight because I was motivated by my running buddies. Thanks ladies! I can’t wait to race again on Saturday! (ok, we may need to slow down a bit because I don’t think I can maintain that pace for 14 miles).
By the way, it is not too late to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! Check out my website! http://pages.teamintraining.org/ncfl/wdw11/haponte
Isn’t that the title of a horror flick? My experience this morning was a bit scary so I think that title fits well. I might as well dedicate this blog to another list of the not-so-joyous aspects of running. It all started at 4:45 am when my alarm went off. I already mentioned how annoying that sound is and how difficult it is for me to pull myself out of bed. But, I am getting used to it now and didn’t struggle too much to dress myself and cook up a bowl of instant oatmeal. Sure, the drive was long… real long. And, of course, it was pitch black outside. Lets also mention the fact that this city doesn’t seem to like spending money on street lights… who needs those, right?
Well, maybe someone who is looking for a liquor store at 6:00 in the morning. Seriously, I was looking for the liquor store parking lot… that’s where the team was meeting. My arrival wasn’t as smooth as I had hoped because I actually drove past the liquor store unaware. I drove for a bit and then realized I should stop and call the running coach. Smart move. She told me exactly where to go. I did follow her directions and got back on the street. Then the scary movie started playing. A car was driving straight towards me! What the? I veered off into the grass median while the car swerved in the other direction. Fortunately, it was early so there were no other cars and we were both driving at a slow speed. I cursed at the other car under my breath until I realized that to the right of me was another road. What the?? Yeah, I was the idiot. I totally could not see where to turn because it was so dark! Needless to say, I was lucky to make it to the liquor store parking lot… and it’s a good thing the other car didn’t follow me because he definitely would’ve thought I was a drunken idiot.
So, that’s another negative check mark to add to the fun sport of running. Driving so early in the morning can be hazardous, especially when you are a zombie. But that’s not all! I have more to add to the list. How would you feel if your running coach told you that you run like Phoebe on “Friends?” Yes, it’s all about the flailing arms and legs. If you want some good comedy, come watch me run! Or how about the socks I had to discard because of all the blood that had oozed from my poor little toe! And let me tell you that it burned when I took a shower! Oh, but that wasn’t the only body part that burned… does anyone know what chaffing feels like? Not so pleasant.
Running is fun. Running is fun. That is my new chant to keep me going back for more. At least it makes for some interesting stories. 🙂