The morning after Thanksgiving, while everybody else was out shopping, I met M at 9 o’clock at the bicycle bridge on the W&OD Trail for a medium to long run. It was forty degrees colder than the day before and windy. M has actually won a race, in 1:29 at a Half-Marathon somewhere. She modestly said that all the good runners were off doing Boston that weekend.
She came running down the trail with her husband R, who thereupon ran the mile and a half back to her parents’ home to complete his workout. He is new to running and does ten-minute miles so they run together only infrequently. (Left: M & R on the W&OD Trail.)
We set off for the turnaround in Shirlington seven miles away. Here were our splits: 8:06 (our warmup mile); 7:53; 7:55; 7:55; 7:57; 7:57; 7:57; turnaround time at 7 miles, 55:44 (7:58).
Let me here state the obvious, that seven miles is an oddball distance for a race. There is a 7-mile race in June I like that runs around the Inner Harbor of Baltimore which I have run three times. This seven miles would have been my second-best 7-mile race, and we still had seven miles to go! (Left: In the 2006 Survivor Seven Inner Harbor 7-Mile Race in Baltimore, this runner came charging by me at the end and we put on quite a show sprinting fullbore towards the finish line after seven miles. I'm the old guy getting scorched.)
M was being encouraging, saying how easily I was running (looks can be deceiving). She's great to talk with. She has a masters degree in physical therapy from an Ivy League school and we chatted about Ryan Shay's untimely death from an enlarged heart at the National Olympic Team trials (M had presented a paper on that condition previously, and received some recent calls from information seekers), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, know any runners displaying some of its symptons?) and its cousin, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder, I have at least one child so afflicted). She would elucidate interesting observations as we ran along and I would respond in ragged three-word bursts. My tongue was hanging out.
I discovered as soon as we started back why the outbound trip had been so smooth–there had been a strong wind at out back. Now it was in our faces, whistling through our gritted teeth.
Our splits weren’t so pretty going back: 8:15; 9:26 (a blessed Gu break); 8:28; 8:37; 8:42; 9:11; 9:01. The numbers confirm that I was getting tired. No negative splits there!
We finished the fourteen miles in 1:57:26 (8:23), counting the Gu stop. I waved goodbye to M as she ran on to her parents’ home, probably at her interval pace once she rounded the bend. I was wiped and I walked home on unsteady legs. But as I prepared to go to work, I knew it had been a good run for me, my best since the last time I ran with M way back in July.