On Sunday, LC says to me as we’re hanging out in the parking lot after our twelve klicks (he did thirty!) and sipping our well-earned social-distancing coffees that he is meeting up with LS on Tuesday... if I was interested.
This morning I was tired. Lead-in-the-legs, aching-all-over tired. Part of me was looking for an excuse to skip a day, an excuse that never came, but at the end of it all I had planned my day around this six-thirty meetup with the guys.
I show up and ... it’s the fast guys.
LC has been meeting up with THOSE guys, the ones in every club who are in the club because a slow club is better than no club and, well, they have each other. Good guys. Nice guys. But the guys who are on their rest days running faster and further than me when I’m pushing... like Tuesdays.
I’m not fast.
I’m not slow, either, but my long pace is enough to bring me within (literally) seconds of breaking the two-hour half marathon barrier. It’s the pace allocated to middle-aged, desk-jockey dads who were out of shape as kids and picked up running in their thirties to burn off some weight and be social.
Two of the four guys I ran with tonight were in their sixties, and had run Boston multiple times. Both had run sub 3-hour marathons (not halves!) when they were my age. The third guy ran a fast forty-klicks on Sunday, and was thinking of doing a half on Wednesday if the weather held.
The point I’m trying to make here, the impression I want to leave as this is read, is that these are good guys who train hard ... and slow-poke me, trying to up my distance to something that could be called running, was lacing up to go for a jaunt with them.
It was everything I had to keep up.
It wasn’t even particularly that fast. My overall time seems slow because we lingered at traffic lights and rather than walk-break we’d do a pretty much dead stop to re-tie shoes, or wait for a vehicle. When we ran, it was my tempo pace and I felt every step of it.
And them? They were just out for an easy mid-week run.
Sometimes you gotta push yourself, I guess. Sometimes you gotta run with the fast guys to see how you rank, to see how well you can keep up, to take it up to a different level for one evening and remind yourself that the race should only ever be with one person... the guy wearing your shoes, because your fast run is almost always someone else’s casual jaunt.