I was on a long run with a fellow about 2 months ago. It was
my longest run the last long run the last time I actually finished the half marathon distance before the Danville Half. It was the Danville Half course; as a matter of fact. We started in the right place; made the turn-around up behind the hotel; came back through the start; out to anglers park & up the hill; then back to the Pepsi building.
It has nothing do to with this post; but here’s the garmin data about it; in case you’re interested. (everybody loves training data; don’t they?)
Anyway. It was my first “long run” with someone else (outside of a race) so I did what I never do: I ran without headphones in. I find it slightly rude to go on a run with someone else wearing headphones. So I left them in the truck.
The guy I ran with’s name is LC. He isn’t the youngest runner (in his early 60’s). I can’t say he’s the fastest runner; but at the time I had never beat him in a race (I fixed that the following Saturday). However; when you plug his current times into an age grade calculator; it shows him with a 16:xx 5k time. I guess I should strike through that last part. Maybe he is the fastest runner I know. At any rate. It’s amazing what you learn from someone when you have 2 hours to kill with them. So we talked.
He was telling me he didn’t start running till he was in his 30’s. And he didn’t run his first race till he had been running for nearly 6 years. He’s only ever ran two marathons; one he planned to (because he was told he wasn’t a “real runner” until he had ran a marathon) and the second because he happened to qualify for Boston and the year he qualified was the 100th running of Boston.
Sidebar: if I only ever run two marathons; I hope my first gets me a BQ and my second is Boston.
In our talking; the race I had ran the day before came up; it was a 10K. It was a PR (pr’s are easy on new race distances; aren’t they?) as well as a “overall” award winner. 2nd place. (woot!! best finish yet!!) We were also talking about how many races I had ran consecutively; and that I still had more to go in this schedule that was becoming grueling. (5 completed; 6 attempted; if you’re curious) I did a 5k; half; 5k; 10k; 5k; and
half 8 miler; back to back; 6 solid weeks.
I kept saying; if ever once I didn’t place in my age group; I’d take a week off; train hard for the next. It didn’t happen. So I kept going. Every week I was a little bit faster than the week before. In just 1 month; I had gone from a 22:53 5k down to shooting for a sub-20 that weekend. A new trophy; a new PR; every week. I must’ve said something that got him started on it; but I’m not sure now what it was.
He was telling me about his 5k pr; it was something like 16:22. He said he never got to enjoy it. He said that he immediately began thinking and training to shave another :22 to get to that “sub-16” mark. He warned me that I should enjoy my PR’s now; while they are easy to set; and easy to break; because it would eventually be a time when I can’t get any faster. He was 38 or 39 when he set it. He also mentioned that he did NOT place in his age group when he set this PR. ( I can’t fathom a race that was so fast as to not
place win with a 16:xx time) However; he said he started winning everything a year or two later when he hit the “masters” age brackets.
I didn’t think much about it at the time. I knew I’d set a new 5k PR that weekend; and a new half marathon PR the weekend after that. I had also planned to do a turkey trot if I could go sub-20 before then; and then slow down for a bit before the Run for Victory.
Then of course; anyone who’s reading this knows what happened at that half; and the rest was kinda out of the question.
Fast forward to tonight. I’m sitting on the couch; watching a movie on my laptop with headphones in so I don’t disturb the wife as she’s studying for a statistics test this week. And then they catch my eye; almost glimmering in the lights from the Christmas tree. It’s my “motivation” for running: all the awards I’ve won in the last 6 months. I got to thinking about what LC had told me about enjoying a PR. I think he’s right. Especially now in my current state; I have plenty of time to enjoy it. I took more than 8 minutes off of a 5k time. I managed to beat my high school PR. I also went from being winded at 2 miles; to fighting thru a 10k training run; to racing half marathons. I can run faster; farther; now that I ever have before.
6 short months. 6 months took me from where I was to where I am. Ironically; it’s the same amount of time that the doc says I have to now take off before I can start running again. Funny huh?
I dont know now where I was going with all this and I’ve tried 6 times to end this; and nothing fits; but there is no more coherent story to tell on this post. I need a “new chapter” button; lol. So I’ll end this one here.