Back to business meant Black Monday, a day when more than 75,000 people were laid off in the U.S. My small company was not untouched, I am sad to say, although by the grace of God I still have a job. It was a hard hard week.
On today's schedule was a 10 miler. I had to decide whether to run with my official group, the Montgomery County Road Runners Speed Development Program, or with the good ol' Snail Trails. The Snails run on a path that's about 5-minutes from my house, but it's a always a crap shoot whether there will be anyone there who is going the distance you need. I knew with the SDP (enrollment=300) I'd have plenty of company.
The SPD-ers met at 7 a.m. (RealFeel=6F) this morning at a site charmingly called Candy Cane City. Doesn't that just evoke Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I am quite vexed and sad to report that, though scenic, there was no candy to be found.
Our pace groups are based on our most recent 10k race, which for me, was my glorious PR at the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot: 1:06. Our coach then calculated our paces for various runs (you know you love all the details):
So I started this morning with my group of four, and we were running 12 minute miles—on purpose!! YES!
Except, it soon started feeling...too slow.
And that's coming from someone who last week tried to run 8 miles in Charleston, South Carolina, (where I was attending a writing workshop run by Natalie Goldberg--if you've heard of her tell me what you think) and managed only SIX, in a blazing 1:20, which included the part where I fell and ripped my spiffy new New Balance running tights to shreds (size L). (Along with my knee. And hands. But the tights! Marked down to $30!!!)
This is why I will never understand running. EVER. One day your legs are encased in cement, the next day you're...only slogging through mud.
About three miles in, two runners joined our small group, and after a bit one of them asked, "Who here is a triathlete?"
Ah, the magic words. I wormed my way beside this tall fellow, P., and we started chit-chatting about triathlon, me bragging about my 4-hour Olympic finishes. Finally I realized that it would be polite to maybe ask what races he had done (ya think??) so I did, adding, jokingly "However, if you say 'Kona,' this conversation is over."
Well, you can guess the rest. He said oh Eagleman this, and Battleship that, and blah blah, ending with: "Kona Ironman Triathlon World Championships, 2004."
No you did NOT just say Kona.
I ran my 10 miles this morning with not just any old Ironman, but a KONA Ironman, with a 15-hour finish and no crawling and this guy said it was the best experience of his life. So I grilled him about it for the next eight miles or so, trying to wring out of him the part where he gave up, where his spirit wilted, where he questioned his sanity, where it all fell apart.
Nope. Nada. All he could report is how he felt: "I'm in the Kona Ironman and you're going to have to surgically remove the smile from my face."
Me: "But...didn't it hurt? Didn't your BUTT get sore?" (I'm detail-oriented like that.)
Him: "Well yes! Duh! But I'm in the Kona Ironman and you're going to have to surgically remove the smile from my face."
Well then what about after, I bet you needed an IV, almost collapsed, legs fell off?? "I went back to the condo, went to sleep, woke up thirsty after 4 hours so had a drink of water, hung around the pool the next day, and then went horseback riding."
Plus, this fellow is starting a new tri club: Montgomery County Multisport Club. (P., just put the check in the mail. Heh.)
Back to this morning's run. Me, P. and J. kind of left my pace group behind (which is a big no-no and I don't know quite what to do about that) and ran somewhere between 10 and 11 miles in 1:50, which puts my pace somewhere between 10:30 and 11 minute miles.
The fastest 10 (or 11) miles I've ever run--ever!
Someone has to explain how running 12:15 minute miles on my long runs is going to make me faster. Cuz I'm not buying it.