Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Not in the Plan

I had originally planned to do an hour in three 20-minute segments, with a water break between each. I didn't really feel up for pushing myself, since I had a brutally busy weekend. I was just getting started as Dr. Boston came up to the track. He pulled up next to me and asked "Hello, Greg," - he calls me Greg - never try to introduce yourself to anyone while running past a Spinning class.

"Hello, Greg. How var are you goink zoonite?"

Before I could explain my strategy "Six Miles" blurted out from my mouth.

"I hupp I can keep up wizz you," he replied.

Well, I was in for it now. You see Dr. Boston isn't real fast - maybe 8:30 miles - but he keeps a metronomic pace and never takes a break. Instead of my conservative paln of 3X20 minutes, I had just signed myself up for 1x50.

We ran side by side, since I knew that if I got out in front, I'd push my OWN pace to hard and blow up. I just let him take it. The first mile was a quick 8, followed my a leisurely 8:15. I felt great. I wasn't gushing with sweat, just barely starting to dampen. I was breathing only a little harder than a run up the steps. "I can really do the whole six, in one lump."

We got to three miles in about 25, a bit quicker than I'd been running out on the street, but that would be expected ... no hills in Bally's.

The track was getting crowded ... we were out there between aerobics classes. As we came around the turn on lap 40-something, i saw two chubby women crowding the walking lane about halfway down. Immediately behind them, was a large man with a red shirt drifting into the running lane. He was the size and shape of a fire truck. My faux bike messenger spider sense quickly calculated where I had to be to get around him before he completely shut down my lane. I accelerated to hit the gap between Tubby and the warning track next to the windows. My footsteps must have startled him. The instant I got on his back he turned to look over his left shoulder, shutting the door. I tried to backside side-step into the gap, but it was gone. I slammed my left houlder into the metal window pillar. When a one hundred and fifty pound man moving 7.5 mph hits an eight inch steel beam ... he bounces. I rebounded backwards right into Tubby and ricocheted AROUND the pillar facing where I had just come from. Somehow I managed to keep my feet under me. In a low mumble he apologized, but I wasn't sure whether it was for being in the wrong lane or resembling a rescue vehicle.

AT the other side of the track, a young woman in white T-shirt and white sweats came up the steps. "Zat iss . She iss a goot rrunner. She vill rrunn wizz uss." It took her about a mile worth of our running for her to get ready to come out. We now only had two to go. As I had said to Dr. Boston (whose real name is Joe) "The good looking ones either are just finishing when I start or start when I just finishing."

Laura - I asked later - is training for the State Police and brought her 7:45 pace with her. Joe and I gladly met the challenge and carried on. I was hesitant to really stretch out under 8, but since I only had a couple miles left, I felt that I had come close enough to bail if I started to crack. We took off together as a small pack, Joe and Laura in front, with me behind. Whenever I spotted interference with our lane I moved to the front and elbowed the offender out of our lane. Tubby had left, so I felt i was in no danger of getting checked into the glass again.

Even with the elevated pace, the two of them were able to chit-chat. They had "rrrun togezzzer bevore." I had nothing to add, so I just stayed back and waited for lap 72.

"Um, Joe, You ARE counting right???"

"No, I zaught you verr."

"Uh, yeah, I just wanted to see what lap YOU thought we were on." I looked at my watch ... 46 something ... at 8 minutes per ... 48 would be six ... that leaves two ... 40 seconds ... 40, 80, 120 ...

"I got three to go."

"I zink I got fife denn."

Much to my surprise I found something on Lap 70 ... It resembled a kick, it felt like a kick, and since I ran the last 2 laps in 1:15, it must have been a kick.

I might actually have a shot to break two hours at the Half on September 18th.

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