Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Cat and Mouse
After pushing pretty hard for the Marathon Relay and keeping with a tough week of workouts following, my 12 mile training run on Saturday was very physically taxing. So, when I left for my lunch time run on Monday, I thought I would take it pretty easy and treat it like more of a recovery run. When I started the run my legs were still tight, but the quickly began to loosen up in the first quarter mile or so.
Right about that same time another runner, a female, entered onto my route. Every time I come across another runner, I spend a significant amount of time evaluating their form and pace. I also take note of what they are wearing as far as clothes and gear, i.e. HR monitor, GPS, iPod, etc. There was nothing extraordinary about this particular runner, white shirt (non-tech), orange running shorts, no watch. Her form was good, but she didn't "look" like a runner. She was short, medium build. The most critical thing that I noticed was that her pace was faster than mine! I tried not to worry about it.
"You're not racing, Brian. You are recovering."
"So what if it's a girl. There are plenty of girls out there that are faster than you."
"Stick to the plan."
As she began to pull away, I could actually feel my pride draining away. My shoulders hung and my head dropped.
"It doesn't matter. You are not racing. You're just out for a nice, easy run."
By the time she got a full block and a half ahead of me, I was taking stock. I was a half mile into a 3 mile run. My legs had loosened up, and my lungs felt great.
"Fuck it. Let's race."
I opened it up right away, and within 2 more blocks I was within striking distance. Then, unfortunately for her, she got caught up at a red light. As she waited for the walk sign, I am pretty sure she turned and saw that I was coming, but if she did she gave no real indication of taking notice. I was within 30 feet of her when she was finally able to cross the street. Not having to break my own stride, I made up the ground quickly.
The dilemma of passing was a real threat now. I could pace behind her a few feet, but I always feel a little "stalker-ish" when I do that to a anyone, let alone a woman. I could pass her, but sometimes I feel a little "dick-ish" when I do that in a non-race format. Then I considered that I had just spent the last half mile "racing" this girl down Lincoln Ave., and I decided that I would go ahead and pass.
I pulled to the left and began to make my move. As soon as I reach her blind spot, she gave a little glance over her shoulder and she took off!
"Oh, I see we have another competetor on our hands! That's fine."
I tucked back in behind her, encouraged by this little match of wits. I stayed a couple more feet behind her and looked for my next opportunity. As we approached the next stoplight, I saw my break. having run this route 3 times a week for the last several weeks, I have become familiar with the timing of the lights and traffic. I knew that the walk sign would be on just as we were to get to the crosswalk. So, she probably slowed a little out of concern for her safety, and I opened it up again, veered to the left, and passed her a couple of feet before entering the street. I know its petty and I know that I took advantage of 2 stoplights to catch her, but a little smile came across my face as soon as I passed her.
Now, I don't know if she stayed straight, turned left/right, or stopped completely because as I turned right and headed down Kirby, I told myself to never look back. The last thing that I wanted this girl to know, if she did go the same way as me, was that I was racing her and I was deeply concerned about her turning around and passing me!
When I finally reached 4th Street, I glanced back and the girl was nowher to be found. She probably stayed straight at Kirby and headed out to Windsor for a long ass run, but what I would like to think is that she was so awed by my superior racing abilites during our little cat and mouse that she no longer wanted to run on the same path as me.
Is it any wonder why I run by myself most days?