Training Widget

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 2 of the Lunch Running Group

Day 287 - October 14, 2009

Day 2 of the Lunch Running Group (LRG) may become known as the day the Old Bald Guy (OBG) showed the young guy why you don't exaggerate your running pace. Let me explain.

When we first decided to start the running group, one of the young guys at work, asked what pace we would run. I explained that it was really about just getting out together and everyone would run at a comfortable pace. Some of the guys would be in the 8-9 minute/mile range, and I would be running 7:40ish/mile.

You know how 90% of communication is non-verbal. Well, even though this kid nodded that he understood, everything else said "I CANT BELIEVE THESE GUYS ARE SO SLOW". So we asked him how fast he runs, and after he puffed out his chest, he informed us that he runs 6 minute miles.

Now, I'm not saying this kid isn't in good shape, but 6 minute miles is pretty darn fast. And to top it off, he wasn't talking race pace. He claimed he runs that for a 5 mile training run. That would pretty much put him in the top 1% of all local runners. Sensing that this might be a bit faster than he can really run, I was looking forward to testing him - yes, as you probably guessed from the photo at the top of the blog, I am the OBG.

I am no where near averaging 6 minute miles for a training run, and I doubt I could maintain that pace for even a 5K. I think the last 5K I ran averaged 6:25/mile. So I certainly wasn't going to run 5 miles in 30 minutes, but I let everyone know at the beginning of the run that I would be doing the 5 mile route again today and anyone who wanted to join me was welcome. The trap was set - hehehe.

We all started together, and the young guy jumped out to a quick lead. For the first 100 meters, I thought maybe I was about to get smoked and that I had really misjudged him. But I quickly pulled up on his shoulder, and within the first quarter of a mile, I was running stride for stride. I told him where the route I was running led and mentioned that if I was holding him back, he should go on ahead. With a grin, he thanked me for not expecting him to run my pace.

Those of you who know me, know that I'm kind of like Michale J Fox in Back to the Future. Just as he couldn't let it go when someone called him chicken, I can't let some young punk, who thinks he's way faster than he is, get away with being that cocky. It is my duty, as an OBG, to show him the error of his ways. Even if I hurt myself trying.

As we continued on to the half mile point, I matched every surge, step for step. We still were running much slower than 6 minute miles. In fact, I'd be surprised if we were even faster than 7 minute pace at this point. Definitely faster than I would normally run, but I was confident I could maintain that pace for the full 5 miles. At 3/4 of a mile (notice, we're still really early in the run) we turned the corner and started up the first hill. I noticed the young guy's breathing was getting quite labored, and I did my best to hide any discomfort I was feeling. At one point I may have even been holding my breath so it wouldn't sound like I was struggling. The harder he was breathing, the faster I ran up the hill. I just couldn't help myself. My inner jackass had taken over.

At 1 mile, I turned right headed for the park, and continued to maintain my pace. I turned to say something to the young guy and he wasn't there...what? Where'd he go? Did he really give up after only a mile? It turns out he went left at the top of the hill. I guess he didn't want me slowing him down :)

I finished the run in 33:50 for a solid sub 7 minute pace which I was really happy about and I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was feeling pretty cocky myself that I had out run a 6 minute mile guy*.

I really don't know why people feel the need to exaggerate their running times. There is nothing to be gained by it. Neither of us is going to make any money as a professional runner. I'm much more impressed with a 9 minute miler who has a great run and finishes in 8 minute miles than a runner who doesn't come within a minute of their "average" pace. I'm more impressed with the guy who is out there running because he wants to be healthier or the guy who completes their first race. Bragging about embellished running times only lasts until you actually run with the people you are trying to impress. Maybe he figured I'd be so far back, I'd never know that he wasn't as fast as he said. Maybe he really doesn't know how fast 6 minute pace is. Maybe he just had a bad day. I don't know. I guess we'll see next week if/when he runs with us on Monday.

* - sarcasm - its not just for breakfast.

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