I had been avoiding him for months. You see, he's actually much faster than me.
Some people at my work call the weekly noontime runs I lead the M and Peter Show, because they think we run too fast and so they don't come with us. Truth is, we run mid-eights but if other runners come along, we'll slow down. Just being out running is what is important. There is nothing like running up and down the historical National Mall in the middle of a busy workday to take a break from the stresses of work.
But M is faster than me, and he's been working on his speed lately. He drags me along at sub-eights on these workday runs sometimes. He's been traveling a lot and I was secretly relieved to take a break from supercharged assaults down the Mall whenever he comes along and no one else does, which is often. Still, these runs are good for my soul because despite the concept of running long slow distances to build the aerobic engine, which I understand as a coach and in theory, I still believe in my heart that to run fast you gotta run fast.
Wednesday morning he signaled me on facebook and asked if I was running at noon. I wrote back that I was, so we hooked up.
He had a little mercy on me. We ran at a pace where I could actually gasp out answers as he kept up an interesting conversation. I like talking to M, he's interesting and his makeup is much like mine in that I'm mostly German. His father is German and he has dual citizenship. I love his Oktoberfest stories.
So we blazed up and down the Mall and around the backside of the Capitol in about fifty-four minutes, basically the same six and a half mile run I had done two nights earlier with Sasha's Monday Night Footmall group except that it was nineteen minutes faster. (Above: At the September 2007 Tidal Basin 3K with, l-r, our agency's rock star G 10:56 (5:52), Dane Rauschenberg, myself 13:01 (6:59) and M 12:46 (6:51). M was coming back from an injury and it was the closest I ever came to catching him in a race.)
M and I work for the same agency but he works about a mile away in a different building. When it was time to part and return to our respective workplaces, I was relieved to be able to slow down a bit.
I still had to lead a track workout later that day with my half-marathon training group.