Sunday, March 18, 2012

Six Miles

A new person joined our Walk-To-Run (WTR) training group last weekend, a runner intending to run in her first half marathon in June. The group itself was doing four miles, as usual, at a three-minute walking two-minute running pace. It is a sedentary pace and takes about 65 minutes to complete the distance.

Allie (not her real name), however, has a three mile base currently and although she's got a long way to go to get ready for a 13-mile race, she is more advanced than the other runners in the group. The head coach assigned her the task of going six miles that day at the 3/2 ratio as her long distance.

Allie had been training, however, at a 2/3 ratio (two minutes walking/three minutes running) and furthermore, she didn't know where to go to gain an extra two miles (we were going two miles out along the trail before our turnaround, not three miles). So I offered to take her out the six miles at the 2/3 pace, since the larger group had two other coaches for five students.

It was a pleasant outing. Allie is originally from North Africa and very interesting. Her father was a diplomat and they lived in Mexico for many years and although her English is excellent, she laughingly explained that some people think she's Mexican, not African, when they encounter her foreign name, view her dusky features and hear her slight accent.

We toiled northwards up the Mount Vernon Trail from the Lady Bird Johnson Park to the Roosevelt Island footbridge, exactly two miles. There we traversed around Roosevelt Island on its dirt footpaths and wooden walkways through its long marshland to pick up the extra two miles Allie needed for her training. Although there were some people perambulating about on Roosevelt Island, that part of our run was as usual on the island quiet, remote and pastoral.

Once we had circled the island and crossed the footbridge, we headed south back to our origination point. I was secretly disappointed that we didn't catch up with the main group despite doing two extra miles because we were running for a longer time than them each five minute segment plus we were going faster, as Allie has a pace that is closer to my swifter pace than anyone else in the WTR group. We arrived back at the park at about 68 minutes, a few minutes behind the other runners.

It was a beautiful morning and a delightful run. And as always when I finish a good run early on Saturday morning, the weekend stretched out ahead of me.

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