Now, before Bill gets too excited about the latter portion of the title, let me just explain that I'm blogging about two separate runs here. So Bill will have to scroll down to get to the good stuff.
Another weekend, another 35 miles done. 15 on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. Believe it or not, this was a step back week. A step back in terms of total mileage. I only ran 10 miles Tuesday and 10 miles Thursday, giving me just 55 miles for the week. It's a way of letting your legs rest without sacrificing the longer runs. Next week, I'll run a shorter long run (17) but more miles total. A way of letting your legs rest from the grind of the long runs without sacrificing total mileage. Genius!
So, I had talked with Madeline and Rachel via FB and they definitely wanted to come down for another hilly run on Saturday. Then I convinced my dad to come. Then I convinced Kathy to come. We had quite a group going by the time I was done begging everyone. The only person missing was Jon, and he was off running a trail marathon.
We started a little after 7:00. This was a special run because it would be my last one with Madeline before she heads out to California for graduate school. I really, really hate that I didn't meet Madeline until two weeks before she was leaving. We could have had a lot of good runs together. Luckily, Rachel isn't going anywhere (that I know of), and I hope we'll be running together a lot more soon.
My legs felt pretty good given I'd taken it easy the first part of the week. But it was really, really muggy. We ran the same course on which dad faded near the end last week. With the increased humidity, I was afraid he'd go out way too hard and fade worse.
I'm happy to say that he didn't. He had a great run. So did everyone else. Kathy faded a bit at the end, but she looked very strong considering she hasn't run that far since APRIL and has not been out on that course in just as long either. I am really glad she came, as she is one of my favorite people to run with.
I stashed water, so we all stayed hydrated. I even stashed some water in a cooler down in the bottoms, so it was ice cold. Unfortunately, when we went back to get the cooler...someone had stolen it. Only in Bedford. The hills were there, just like last week. Madeline stayed with me on all of them, which is really, really impressive given it's only her second time out there. I am going to miss her.
So I invited them all back for the 20 this morning, but no one took me up on it. So it was just me and Tim. One of the teachers from Rowan's daycare came to babysit him at 5:30 this morning so we could go run. Yes, she came at 5:30. What a good babysitter!
We narrowly missed a very bad storm. I had been awakened around 4:00 with thunder and lightning. And I vaguely remember thinking "I'm still going to run." It stopped just before we headed out. It was dark, of course, and so we both had flashing lights and reflective stuff. But we decided against a head lamp. I was almost sure that there were street lights that went all the way out I Street. Um, wrong. It was really, really dark for about an hour.
Within the first quarter mile of this run, I knew (just like last week) it was going to be a long day for me. My legs were dead. They did not hurt, but they would not turn over. Yes, this was a purposeful outcome. But it's still not pleasant.
Especially when you're running with Tim. Even though he raced yesterday (placing 8th overall in the Cicero triathlon), he was bounding along like an antelope. I love my husband. But I'm not gonna lie--as he floated up I-Street (just over 2 miles in, mind you--I was feeling this way WAY too early), I found it irritating. Why does Tim have to be SO perfect? Yeah, I was pretty tired.
We followed our usual route, and my legs never improved. I mean I wasn't going that slowly, but speeding up anywhere near to marathon race pace on those hills (or even the flats) would have been impossible for me.
Which brings me to the issue of Tim's butt. I saw it for the better part of 20 miles (eat your heart out, Deckard). Again, I want to preface the next section of this post by stating that I love my husband immensely. He is a wonderful man, husband, father, son, brother, and person in general. But he is not actually perfect.
Tim occasionally engages in one of my very biggest running pet peeves. And, as far as I know, he only engages in it in my presence. I call it one-stepping.
If you've ever been one-stepped, you'll be shaking your head up and down vigorously when you read what is to come next.
First, a few ground rules. One-stepping does not apply during races. Nor does it apply when some pre-planned pace has been agreed upon (as in deciding that you and your running partner are going to run a 7:00 pace). It also usually does not apply during a group run, so long as everyone has someone to run with. Finally, it does not apply when running up a large hill. This will all become clearer later.
So here's how it works. For example, today, when Tim and I would finish at a water stop, we would start running together. Within a minute or two, he'd pull about ten feet ahead of me. When I'd speed up to join him (an enormous feat given how my legs felt), he'd, in turn, speed up to reclaim his 10-feet-ahead status. We were talking most of the run, but it amounted to me shouting up to him, him turning around and saying "huh?" and me re-shouting what I'd already shouted.
No matter what I did, he kept that little bit of distance on me. He did not do this last week, but he has done it before. I do believe it's not done consciously, and it's certainly not done with any malicious intent.
But damn, is it irritating. When a person says he/she wants to run with you, I'm sure that you, like I do, assume that the person wants to run, like, NEXT to you. Or right in front of or behind you. I do not find it irritating that he can hold a faster pace than I can. I find it irritating that he wants to run together but then runs away from me.
Now, on the big hills, I am the first one to say to him "Go ahead and I'll see you at the top." I don't like to run big hills any more slowly than I have to. It just makes it last longer. And I don't want to burden him with that. But it's like he'd hear me coming up next to me and put on a surge. Kind of reminds you of a race, huh?
Yeah, that's the purpose of racing. Holding off other people. It might also be beneficial if the two people running were trying to hit a certain pace, and one runner was falling off. Seeing the other runner on pace would certainly serve as motivation.
But this was a long run. Long runs are, in general, done at a very comfortable pace. While I wasn't killing it out there, I wasn't running that slowly. It wasn't like a pace that was uncomfortably slow for him--he runs with other people at a much slower pace.
Now, this is not about trying to see who is faster. There is no dispute: Tim is faster. For us to race would be futile. I did not say a word to him during the run. For one, I was too tired. I didn't want to discuss (i.e. argue) with him about how he was doing this. And we were actually having a good time. I was not fuming mad. I was irritated and, mostly, I was confused. But I just went with it. Mile after mile, all I could see was his butt. Rarely his face. It was like chasing someone in a race--someone you knew you couldn't overtake. If you sped up, the person would just leave you again until you'd burned yourself out and he still had gas in the tank.
So I asked him, later in the day, why he does this. He paused a moment and gave me an answer he's given me before. "I feel like if I slow down and run next to you then you will slow down, too." Um. Is this your first day here, Tim? I've never gotten in trouble for running too slowly. I've been told over and over to cool my jets or I'm going to get injured. To make sure I run easy runs and take rest days.
In other words, motivation is not a problem for me. At all. And I asked him, based on his answer, why then did he speed up every time I had sped up in order to catch him. He had no answer. He doesn't know why he does it. He doesn't really think he needs to run in front of me in order to keep me running. He didn't even realize he was doing it. He's sorry and he's just as baffled as I am.
My main question is--why does he do this with me and not other people with whom he runs? It must be some sub-conscious alpha male thing.
Again--this is not a slam at my husband (really, Tim, it's not). It's about running etiquette. If you invite someone to run with you and you do not specify a pace for the run, make sure that you run a pace that allows you to be next to each other. Got it, Tim?