Sunday, April 28, 2013

On running six thousand meters

There was a 6k race in the woods near where I live yesterday. And guess who came in 34th of 50 people! Which is slightly misleading - there aren't separate lists for men and women. Or for the 5'2"-and-under and everyone else. Clearly, if enough categories were created, a career as a professional runner would be in store.

The advantage to paying to run the same loop I could for free whenever is, I suppose, that it forced me to keep jogging beforehand. "Training," I suppose, but that seems an exaggeration. These were slow jogs - procrastination, really. The race itself I figured I might do more slowly. Part of this was, I had no idea how long of a jog I was normally going on. A pedometer app kept giving wildly divergent results, and this is off the grid, as it were, so Google gives no answers. (A mile? Five?) Maybe the race would the same distance I normally go, maybe much more or less. And if it turned out to be much longer, and I was going it without podcasts, it could take weeks. Of course, without a miniature poodle (who accompanies me on the shorter-time-wise jogs), maybe I'd go faster?

In the end, the race was about the distance I normally go, but what can I say? I know this is the opposite of what running purists suggest, I know that being one with beautiful nature (and in spring in these parts, it's quite beautiful) is supposed to be enough. But I seriously think the Savage Lovecast theme song began playing in my head during the race. Where were the ladies of DoubleX? Where was Leonard Lopate interviewing a foodie? And Friday Night Comedy with the BBC? My own thoughts, then? Thoughts, of course, tending towards what to have for lunch. That's where the mind can go at a certain point in a run.

Which brings me to the other advantage to an organized run: at the end there were apple-cider doughnuts from a nearby farm. And bagels, but my nuanced understanding of regional cuisines was such that I knew which to go for. And a clever move on this farm's part, because anything eaten just after a race, one held too early in the morning for runners to have had much breakfast beforehand, is going to be the best thing eaten ever, so now I'm much more inclined to purchase said doughnuts in the future.

What I hadn't counted on was that once you're in a race, no matter how little you care about the results, the mere fact of people running next to you speeds you up. Ultimately, intellectually, I'm more than content with athletic mediocrity, and run for whichever health and head-clearing benefits. (Vanity? A toss-up - I end up more fit, I suppose, but probably a bit heavier, and what's muscle weighing more than fat and what's the fact that running leaves me famished, well, who knows.) If I was ever going to shine as a runner, this would have happened in high school, but I was smack dab in the middle of the pack among the nerd-school girls' track teams. I wasn't too worried about it. But yesterday, I spent the race hovering near two women of give or take my own dimensions, and kept thinking I didn't have the height excuse and had better pass them. One I passed eventually, the other there wasn't a chance. What did it matter? It just did. I had to sprint at the end.

Bisou, the day after the race, attempting to see how many ticks she can accumulate despite recent application of anti-tick medicine.


Jacob T. Levy said...

It's not just post-run hunger; those apple cider donuts really are Pretty much the best things ever. Not many other places one can find them, either-- certainly not in April!

Phoebe said...

Well then! Perhaps a long run to Terhune itself is in order.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Bissou. JM