This is an e-mail I've just received from a very, VERY close friend. He has recently turned his life around by paying attention to diet and exercise. He was one of those people who used to make light of my working out until I showed off my after pictures. He has also discovered running:
Tonight was very different. For the first time, I ran with someone. It was by accident. My neighbor apparently started his run right after I did, and he saw me, caught up to me, and before I could say anything we were running together. He's not just any runner. His wife told me that he is training for a marathon and he looks like a marathon runner. Mistake number one. He asked me how far I planned to run tonight. I told him that since it is Tuesday night, I planned to do my short run which is three miles out. This was a mistake because I just committed myself to running six miles with him. Mistake number 2. He mentioned that his wife told him that I told her that I run every day. While this is true, or used to be true, his expectation level was very high for my performance. Mistake number 3. When we reached my marker, he suggested going to the Hudson bridge, which was another three miles out. I couldn't say no, since this is a super stubborn guy thing, so we continued on. His pace was faster than mine. I kept up with him. He doesn't take little walking breaks and I absolutely could not tell him to go into a walk because I was tired or out of breath. I sucked it up. I didn't show any pain even though I felt pains in parts of my body I had never felt before. There was even a moment when I felt light headed and dizzy, but that lasted only a few seconds. Since we were talking the whole run, time just flew by and I got into a marathon like rhythm. I have never run that far, at that speed, without stopping. When we reached the bridge, he said he was going to add a few more miles by doing the off trail loop that goes around the mall. I told him I couldn't do that because I had to get back home. Real reason? That would have killed me. So he went on farther and I turned around and dropped into a walk as soon as he was out of sight. Then it hit me. Once he's done with his mall loop, he can't see me because that would mean he caught up with me. I even thought of doing a cowardly thing like ducking off trail to a side street until he surely had passed by on his return trip, then finish walking home. But, no. I couldn't do that. After a few minutes, even though my legs felt like rubber and my whole body ached, I went into a trot and then into a jog. I did stop a few times, especially on hills, but I made it back home before he could catch up to me. The total journey was about 12 miles so that is my Q time run."
Here's my response back to him:
"Well, Kudos for sucking it up. As I was reading this e-mail, I kept thinking to myself "What a dork! He's gonna hurt at the end of this." Well, now you know what you CAN possibly do, and with training you could muster a half marathon with out too much pain... Well, now you have something to think about. (BTW, I used the word "Dork" with only the most sincere affection...) You should consider even a 5k event, just for fun. They only set you back about $25 and you usually receive a t-shirt, a goodie bag and some sort of food & beverage at the end, usually a bagel, water or Gatorade. Some events even have cookies, coffee, free beer, kettle corn, bagles, juice and other goodies just for the participants. There's a Shelter Island
5K walk/run on November 13 that I am considering. There's a champagne brunch afterwards ;)"
FYI, He gave me permission to post his letter.