Distance: 4.48 miles
Rate: 10:23 per mile
I learned something today. I’ll get to that in a few paragraphs.
I wasn’t terribly interested in running slow today. In fact, after having a full day to rest after my 12-miler, I felt crisp and ready to go. While my warmup was a little slow (just a little), I was off like a rocket. This was a short four miles, which still makes me giggle, so why the hell wouldn’t I put my pedal to the medal and go after some fast pace? The first trick was to ignore the back-of-the-brain survival instinct that told me I needed to slow down and stuff it into a closet. Then I needed to remember how to put one leg slightly farther in front of the other. This may have all been lead, in part, by reading a bunch of marathon threads on the internet yesterday and wondering about bringing up my pace a bit. These short runs are supposed to be about going a bit faster, so let’s do it.
I was reminded quickly what the miracle of speed was like. For good reason, it’s been a long time since I’ve tried to break any speed records. Whizzing down the course faster than I ever have was a great sensation that’s going to be hard to break when I slow down for tomorrow’s six-miler. First miler was great, obviously, the second one still good, even as I crept a bit closer to that ten-minute mile mark (I was doing around 9:30 beforehand), but it was the third miler that I got shocked.
So this is what I learned today: the mental state of a runner - to the external world - is only slightly higher than a paramecium or bacteria. As I was about to round a corner, an older lady in a mini-van flagged me down. The first thing I thought was “oh, no”, which sounds entirely selfish, but this was not someone who looked like they were in the slightest bit of distress. She was not having a heart attack.
Regardless, I broke pace and doubled back to help her. I’d kept RunKeeper going in hopes it’d be a quick interaction.
Her: Do you know where <road> is?
Me: I have no idea.
Her: You don’t know the roads?
Obviously, I’m a runner, so I know all of the roads in our little suburban rat’s nest by name. I don’t. This one, I’d honestly never heard of. She was holding a piece of paper, her dash had no navigation or display and it was apparent she had no smartphone or standalone GPS unit, so it was obvious I was her first and last option for help.
Me: I know the layouts, I don’t know the names.
This is true, I know the layout of this entire batch of neighborhoods. I couldn’t tell you where anything was, which became something else in the next set of note…
Her: So where am I?
Me: Well, you’re on… uh… <road> and, there’s a major road, called, uh… I don’t even remember.
So let’s go back to that lesson. You’re googling me for map directions when I’ve just spent the past twenty-five minutes wondering exclusively where my next luscious gulp of oxygen is coming from or where not to step so I don’t fall and destroy my leg. I can’t do that. I am useless to you.
Unless you’re bleeding profusely, a runner is absolutely useless to you in any inquiry you may have. If I were walking, sure, that’s something else. I could pull out my phone at that point and show you maps and all that, but I couldn’t even do that. Do not ask a runner anything.
The entire interaction couldn’t have taken longer than about twenty seconds, but getting back to pace when I’d already had a good bead on the balance of physical and respiratory effort was a pain. I was more mad than anything and I used that as fuel. I don’t think I was going to break any records this time around, but I was really really close. The last mile went smooth despite my mental simmering. Turns out RunKeeper went a little crazy on the course charting because of my stop, so I had to adjust it slightly, which changed my pace a few seconds. C’est la vie.
Slower tomorrow, hoping for another faster attempt on Tuesday ahead of the fourteen-miler. I work another six-day week (one day off for the long run) because of store inventory. Blech. Feel free to ask me any questions now, just not during :)