"Runners are a different breed. We swear, but it's not dirty. We spit, but it's clean. We puke, but it's necessary... And we can pee really fast." -Louisa Blanchard (aka Cool Aunt Louisa), fellow FAST teammate
These are the sorts of deep thoughts we discuss during our FAST group runs. I had the distinct privilege of running with Cool Aunt Louisa last night and we had a lot of great conversation about the sport of running, including the above discourse.
It started on the first lap of our 1000m repeats. I passed Louisa in the first half. Then, as I kept running, I realized that her footsteps weren't getting any farther behind me. She was keeping up. So I sped up a little bit. And she sped up a little bit. And I sped up a little more. And she sped up a little more. As we finished the first repeat, she told me "Wow, you really pushed me!" When we started our second repeat, we ran together, but this time Louisa set the pace, and it was faster than the first repeat. So at the end of that repeat, I was the one who said "Wow, you really pushed me!" We ended up running three repeats together (and then I did one more by myself), and I think we both ran a little faster than we would have run alone. That's the power of the running family. There are a LOT of things I do at FAST group runs that I would likely never do on my own. I suspect that's the case with several of my teammates as well - which is why so many of us have become dramatically stronger runners since joining FAST.
What was particularly interesting last night was a discussion between Louisa, Becky and me. I think Louisa started it first by telling Becky and me that we were here running heroes (or something along that line). And then I pointed out that, no, I couldn't be their hero because they were both my heroes! I mean, Louisa, who is 60 years old and achieving marathon PR's, and Becky, who is a faster runner than I will ever be are both people who inspire me. And then Becky goes on to say that she admires me and Louisa. Well, as you can see, it's just a huge circle of inspiration and admiration and, yes, perspiration (after all, we were running while having this conversation). I have a hard time imagining anyone looking to me as an inspiration in the sport of running. I'm not particularly gifted in the sport. I have great endurance, but only at tortoise-like speeds. Maybe I'm inspirational because of the fact that I run despite my lack of natural talent. All I know is I admire every single member of FAST - they are all my heroes. They are also my extended family - my sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles.
Because we are so close, we can talk about everything. I mean everything. For example, last night, one of our teammates had to take a potty break during one of the 1000m repeats. She was about 20m ahead of Louisa and me when she veered off to the port-a-potty. When I finished my 1000m repeat, she was right behind me. Louisa was quick to notice this. "Wow, you peed really fast!" she said. And that's when we started discussing speed-peeing techniques for race day.
Women are notorious for taking a long time in the bathroom. Women runners, however, can pee with great haste. We have perfected the art of the 20 second port-a-potty stop, because any longer than that can cost us precious time when we're shooting for a race PR. Even when our shorts have pesky drawstrings to untie, we can get in and out of the port-a-potty in record time. Yes, runners truly are a different breed.
Getting back to the actual workout... We had a 1 mile warmup, followed by 4 x 1000m repeats at half-marathon pace, and a 1 mile cooldown. Well, that was the workout for people who are tapering right now (which is most of us). As I started my 3rd repeat, I accidentally hit the Stop button on my Garmin instead of hitting the Lap button, so you'll notice I'm missing a repeat in my data (the other three are highlighted in blue). It wasn't an extraordinarily difficult workout - it was more difficult to hold back and not run at, say, 5k pace. But this is the taper, when the body repairs itself so it's fresh for marathon day, so it's important to not push too hard in workouts. I admit, I ran a wee bit faster than half-marathon pace, thanks to Cool Aunt Louisa. But considering all the conversation we were having, we couldn't have been running that hard. Right, Coach Brad?
Peace. Love. Train.