A Bitchy Little Boost

I’m going to say something that sounds pretty horrible and bitchy:  I totally got a boost from another runner’s pain on my run today.

To back up a bit.  My first run since the marathon was a week ago today.  I intended to return to regular running last week, but….um, yeah.  Didn’t really happen.  I was pretty good about going to the gym and such, but just couldn’t muster any enthusiam to lace up my running shoes and head outside. 

Today, I got a brand new pair of running shoes in the mail.  It piqued my interest just enough.  I decided it was time to suck it up and go for an actual, real run instead of copping out and heading to the elliptical.

So out I headed to Hudson Park, my normal running course.  Through the village, across the west side highway, along the riverfront and past the marina to a certain set of benches; turn around, repeat in reverse.  Five miles, roundtrip. 

I’ve done enough marathons to know that I shouldn’t expect much of myself for those few weeks after the race.  I don’t know whether it’s mostly physical or mental, but I’m always just….sluggish.  Today was no exception.  I plodded along, silently pouting.  New shoes or not, I felt like crap.  This was NOT fun.

As I hit those particular benches that mark my halfway point, I let out a frustrated huff.  Halfway?  Really?  Do I HAVE to run back?  Ugh.

But then I heard a huffing and puffing that was far more pronounced than my own.  A girl, about my same size and build, came plowing around the corner and swept past me along my intended route.  I sized her up.  She seemed to be going about the same pace that I had been running – or maybe just a little faster – and she was WORKING it. 

Eff that, I thought, and set out after her.

And this is what I usually mean when I say I’m a competitive person.  I am most certainly not out there winning races every weekend.  I’m not even in that realm!  But I will be damned if this random person on this random run is going to run by me and “beat” me!

It took me a several minutes to catch her.  But as I slowly narrowed the gap between us, I stopped looking at my watch every minute and agonizing over how many minutes until home.  I stopped cursing every step and bemoaning my leaden legs. 

As I passed her, I could hear her short, breathy gasps and her shoes slapping the pavement quickly and forcefully.  This girl was not just out for a run – she was running.  She was working hard and she was NOT feeling good.  Believe me – there is not an ounce of judgment here; I have totally been there.  I was impressed.

And as I slowly pulled ahead of her, I realized she was not going to let me go so easily.  Gliding by her, suddenly everything felt easy.  I was running far more quickly and gracefully than I had been before – and it felt effortless.

But the slap-slap-slap and the labored breaths of my competitor stayed with me.  I have to give this girl a ton of credit – for the remaining mile of my run on the park path, she remained right on my tail, her footfalls churning faster as I continued to push the pace.  I could hear miniscule little moans interspersed in her breathing.  She was giving it her all.

As I split off to cross back over the highway and weave my way through village streets toward home, part of me wanted to stop and give her a hug.  Even though as I targeted and challenged her – I admit, my primary motivating was wanting to beat her.  She made my workout infinitely better, and I hope I did the same for her.

If nothing else, I’ll have that random girl to thank when, as I lace up my running shoes tomorrow, I feel energized and excited about running again.

Today’s EAT: Dinner was a mishmash of leftovers from yesterday’s dinner at Ping’s in Chinatown.  Oh, and I found an awesome new lunch place near my apartment today – a tiny little coffee/sandwich shop called Local.  I had a ham, fig and fresh mozzeralla sandwich.  Divine.

Today’s DRINK: Hubs and I are splitting a bottle of clearance-rack Rosemount Chardonnay.  The pleasure factor is about what it cost, which is to say, not much.  When will I learn not to buy sale rack wine??

Today’s RUN: See above.  Ended up doing 5 miles in just over 41:00, but my pace was much faster during the second half of the run!

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One response to “A Bitchy Little Boost

  1. You rock! That’s all. 🙂

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