I recently ran the monthly running of the noontime Tidal Basin 3K. I've done over 90 of these races and this one was the most interesting by far.
You might know that I was recently elected president of my running club. Suddenly people come up to talk to me now, who never seemed to notice me before. Usually they want something. A president of another club I spoke with recently advised me to learn how to say "No." No, no, no.
This 3K race kicked off in the rain. I set off and as usual, another club member, a friend of mine who is faster than me, came up on me at about the quarter mile mark. But he didn't sweep by and steadily get ahead of me, as usual. No, no, no.
He fell in beside me and started talking to me. Now, I like to be social when I run. I talk to lots of people (except for those antisocial types wearing headphones).
But this friend wanted something from me, or rather, from the club. I won't get into what it was but there was nothing improper about his request (you can always ask). It's just that he wasn't going to get it. But he had plenty of time to make his case. Did I mention that he's faster than me?
As we ran side by side for long minutes while he went on about how the club could benefit from the synergies he could bring to it through this or that skill that he possessed, I ratcheted up my pace to my top speed, hoping that I could run away from him and save the conversation for later when I could concentrate. No dice, he just loped along, chatting me up easily.
I answered in one word gasps. I listened carefully, to make sure I didn't reflexively say, "Uh-huh" at an inauspicious moment. This was very taxing, both physically and mentally. I couldn't let this old familiar race just flow, as usual.
Whenever I took a straight line through the curves I had to dip behind him or else bang into him because he took the curves without cutting the corners. Once I left the sidewalk to cut across the roadway towards a far curve and we did collide and almost fell. It was nerve wracking.
With a quarter mile to go he lit out and finished many seconds ahead of me as usual. I breathed, or rather gasped, a sigh of relief as he left me behind.
Later when he said that he took my non-committal reticence to be a "No," I didn't dispute his perception. He imparted some wisdom then, saying, "I always say that you didn't ask a question if you won't accept no for the answer." No, no, no.
13:56 (7:29), 21/32, bottom third, a terrible race. It felt like I was a prisoner being escorted.