On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Running: oh, right, that's something I do

I'm back from Egypt, just in time for the country to descend into chaos... again. But this time, luckily, neither the American taxpayers nor my sister will be funding my recovery mission.

I went for a run this morning. It was a rather brutal baseline of where my fitness is right now. But the good news is that things can only go up, eh? Actually, I suppose they could go down. I ran 3m in the heat with little trouble - I could have struggled through a shorter run in cooler weather.

I did lose some weight while I was in Egypt, but I'm not kidding myself that that is anything but water weight lost from standing in the 110 degree sun 8 hours a day. I mean, I did the NYT 7 minute workout regularly, but now that they have a 4 minute workout, why did I waste those three extra minutes?

While I was running this morning, I overheard something kind of funny. A woman was walking along with a friend, and it looked like they'd just finished their run. She was saying to him, "Yeah, the first mile was like 20 minutes, and the second one was way faster, it was, like, 10 minutes." I think I gave her an odd look.

As she said it, I realized how different that was than how I'm used to hearing people talk about their running. I'm used to my friends saying things more like, "The first mile was about 10 minutes, but then I picked it up to 8:42 for the second and third miles and 8:20 for the fourth." Or, if they're being imprecise, something like, "The first mile was about 10 minutes, but the second was probably 9:15 to 9:30."

It kind of reminds me of back in the olden days when I started running, when I used to approximate my mileage by driving as close to my running route as I could. The future is now.

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