Monday, March 17, 2014
Pre-Peep Season and Marathon Man
I have two packages of Peeps in the woman cave, waiting to be opened. Iris and Isabelle found them and were sniffing the cellophane wrapping today as I worked out there.
Tomorrow we go to the vet for their annual checkup, vaccinations, heartworm test, check on Isabelle's arthritis and Iris's teeth, and then when we get home, I will open the Peeps. Hopefully that will be my redemption for taking them to the vet, which they hate. Isabelle usually trembles and hides behind my legs or under the chair the whole time, and Iris tries to protect her sister even though she's trembling herself.
So tomorrow I will have to come up with some form of Peep entertainment for the girls, to make everything okay again, post vet visit. I'm considering a Peep wreath this year. If I'd thought of it earlier, I could have found some green peeps and used them for today.
I got going on my workout, starting out at a slow pace, about my 24 hour race pace, but running gradually faster with every 2 mile interval. By the last half I was running solidly and well under 9 minute pace. About 14 miles into my workout another runner showed up on the track. He looked like he was probably in his late 50s to 60 years old, looked like a former hard core runner, skinny body, legs without a trace of fat on them, gray hair and scruffy beard, wearing old, short (circa 1980s) running shorts and a late model Boston Marathon jacket.
Something about this guy told me he was really proud of that jacket. Maybe it was the way he avoided eye contact with me after I walked my 9th lap as he started his warmup, so he probably pegged me for a walker/potential nuisance jogger to get in the way of his sacred Yasso 800s, or who knows. I had my earbuds in place listening to hard core trance music. All I know is, I said hi to him as he jogged by me and he said nothing. Anyway, he had the look.
As he was doing his warmup laps with strides thrown in, I was back to my running, which by then was around 9 minute pace. I cruised past him easily when he slowed down between strides, but he passed me back, as soon as he got back to his warmup pace. I continued at my steady, trance-fueled pace dipping down into the 8:30s and finished my 2 mile interval, and it was getting warm, so I took off my fleece jacket I had been wearing all morning. I still had a good 4 1/2 miles to go. I got back on the track and did my walk lap, and launched into my next 2 mile interval.
I observed Marathon man as he did his intervals, he appeared to actually be doing 800s, and he was moving pretty good for a guy his age. Probably close to 6 minute pace. I kept on my steady pace, and a couple of times as he was recovering and catching his breath, walking backward on the track after finishing his intervals, I noticed him staring at me, as if he was trying to figure out what I was doing. I kept my game face on and pounded out the laps to my music.
I was on my last 2 mile interval and saw him staring at me again, then I realized he was trying to read my shirt. I was wearing my Oklahoma Ultrarunning tshirt from 24 the Hard Way from a couple of years ago underneath my old Across the Years fleece jacket that day. When I finished, I walked a last cooldown lap on the track before going home, he was finally able to read my shirt and that time, he made eye contact and gave me a nod, as if he had finally accepted my presence on the track, as a legitimate athlete doing a legitimate workout.
Who knows, I'm probably completely wrong with all of this but it sure was funny to watch his reaction and see his face when he read my shirt. I imagined him thinking, There really are people out there who can run longer than 26.2 miles. They really exist. I just saw one. And...some of them are middle-aged women with gray hair.
If I had been wearing my Team PearlIzumi workout attire that day, who knows what he might have done. Introduced himself? Said "Hi"? Bowed down and kissed my feet?
Back in the days when Dennis was still running competitively, it always blew me away, the geeky runners who would act like he was some kind of running god, they would approach him so carefully, like talking to him was a once in a lifetime privilege, for which they would gladly pay large sums of money, and if Dennis had said, "Kiss My Feet for I am a running god and you are beneath me" they would have puckered up and bent over.
The way they got all nervous, you would think Dennis was going to ask them for their running credentials before he'd give them the time of day. As if he'd say to his agent, "Tell them I only speak to people with a 10K PR under 32 minutes".
It was just an interesting observation of human behavior in the subculture of running. Dennis is the nicest most unassuming guy you'd ever meet, he'd be more likely to talk to the last place finisher than the guy who finished ahead of him or behind him, and he never even had an agent.
Anyway I just have to laugh at runners because I forget, the ultra world is so different, and then I get around some of the road racing world and it can be a whole different experience. Culture shock.
Well I hope marathon man runs his sub 3 hour marathon at Boston in April because that's about what his Yasso workout would predict. Even if he runs 3:30, it's impressive for an old geezer, I sure couldn't do it or come close.
But I hope he learned something, by sharing the track with me, watching me run 2 mile intervals with my eyes focused ahead of me, between the lines, running a steady pace for 3 hours, systematically clicking off the miles in my relaxed trance-like state.
Maybe when he's hurting in those final miles, he can flash back to that day on the track, and remember that there are some people out there who keep going beyond the finish line, and that 26.2 miles is just the warmup.
But since he didn't even say a word to me, I doubt he even considers it. Probably doesn't even cross his mind, and he probably doesn't even care.
But it kept me entertained. Whatever mental games it takes to get through multiple laps on the track.