I think my new running partner might be...(just a minute...checking over my shoulder)...Kenyan...(sshh...don't say it too loud he might hear you.)
I have no problem with Kenyans. In fact, I am envious of their harldy believable running talents (in an I'm not willing to work nearly that hard sort of way). Just not sure, I am exactly qualified to have one as my running partner.
You see so far, I've lost 3 partners in the last 5 months or so (maybe he's the one that should be afraid then eh?). First my husband went down to injury, then my mom. Following which my brother-in-law had to cut out to go do something crazy like taper for his marathon (which he ran yesterday in Detroit, 1st one, feel free to leave him comment on what a running rock star he is now!) so our running schedules weren't exactly matching up and we had to go our separate ways.
But somewhere in the middle of all this another someone else, who shall remain nameless because I do believe he has not exactly chosen to out his running to the rest of the world just yet, decided to throw themself into the crazy running mix. Now he's in pretty good shape because of his line of work and he's been working out in various ways since the beginning of the year (I think so anyway or at least I like to tell myself that) but really he's only picked up running steadily the last couple of months.
Well after the whole Chicago fiasco (you can read about that here so I don't have to relive the agony AGAIN), this mysterious masked man (ok ok he doesn't actually wear a mask, but if it gets any colder here he might be willing to consider it which would thus make me running not only with a Kenyan, but also a superhero...a Kenyan Superhero...I could be in trouble here folks.) decided that he'd go along for the do over in Indianapolis with me. What?! Seriously?! I thought he had pretty much lost his mind because Indianapolis is just a short 3 weeks (well 3 1/2 weeks at the time) away and his longest run had been 10 miles. Typically, when one decides to run a marathon they take more than a month to train.
But no, he was seriously wanting to give it a go. You see, apparently, new as though he may be to running, he's posting some 6 minute miles on shorter runs (**sigh**...give me a moment to bury my lack of speed frustration here....errrrrrr.....ok that's better). Not too bad for a guy that just started right? His 10 mile run was 1:30 putting him at an average 9 minute mile pace. He knows my long run pace is a little more 10-10 1/2 ish, so he figured if he just slowed down a bit, he could run with me. I wasn't too sure what the results of a sudden 5 mile increase would be, but was directed to make him a schedule. So I did. And guess what? So far he's right on. I swear. And not in an I will finish by sheer determination despite the fact that I will not be able to walk afterwards sort of way either.
Our first long run was Friday, 15 miles, 5 more than he had ever gone. I did NOT take it easy on him. I mean what's the sense in that? Marathons don't baby people. You've got to respect the distace right? How many times have we heard that? If you don't, it's gonna chew you up and spit you out in a way that will leave you questioning your own sanity for even setting your foot on the starting line. So I just did my thing and watched to see if he would keep up. Our pace was 10:18 and the last three miles were all sub 10 with a last mile (on a sucky stupid hill I might add) that was 9:00 minutes (oh wait!! Let me also not fail to mention that it was wicked windy from about 8 miles on).
Now here's the kicker...he hardly takes anything on a run. I think I saw him drink a few sips of gatorade twice. That's it. Whereas I, on the other hand, am trying out yet another way to keep my electrolytes in line (we always seem to be at war, the electrolytes and I) by "doing the salt." Sounds weird I know. Here's the Runners World article link so you don't think I'm making it up. And you might want to also check out this followup article too. (FYI: it actually worked out alright during the run, but then I made the fatal mistake of not eating anything for a looooooong time after b/c of a fussy baby who needed a nap and a diaper, and a three year old who needed her fair share of attention and lunch and then of course there was me, who desperately needed a shower...and I uh...forgot to eat. Stupid huh? It was sometime while I was drying my hair and the spots began to appear that I remembered I hadn't eaten since 5AM and it was well past 1PM at that point...and you know the whole 15 mile run thing. Spots were followed by a massive headache...yeah...it was not good. Not a mistake to make again.)
So in light of the apparent God given super speediness with nada speed workouts to date coupled with his body's seemingly natural ability to tolerate the long run without much by way of outside supplementation/hydration, I'm thinking before I continue to run with this fella I might want to get a look at his birth certificate and just maybe take a little peek into his ancestry. He claims to be Polish, but I don't want to be at mile 23 of my marathon to find suddenly that the inner Kenyan has surfaced and we have crept up on a pace that rivals the elites for a brief and shining moment which would most certainly be followed quickly by my drastic and probably very dramatic demise due to my inability to maintain such a mind altering pace. And though he has repeatedly assured me he would stick with me rather than vice versa, I'm not so sure that's possible. I mean can a Kenyan not be a Kenyan when once he's slipped on the running shoes and the feet are hitting the pavement? And once that finish line gets within site can the inner Pole suppress the running heritage that has made Kenyan running so great? I guess we shall see now shan't we...(HA! I just used shan't in a sentence...how many points is that worth?)
Maybe I should've gotten the hint when his wife bought me a headband at the Detroit Marathon Expo this weekend that said "In my dreams, I'm a Kenyan." (and also a t-shirt btw with my all time favorite running shirt slogan..."Does this shirt make my butt look fast?" Hee hee. I smile just thinking about it. Check out One More Mile for more really cool running clothes with funny slogans) Maybe it wasn't so much a gift as it was a warning...hmm...
So we've got 20 miles next weekend, I'll let you know if he starts suggesting we run barefoot or something...
'Til next time...
P.S. HOW COULD I FORGET THE RELAY!!! We ran the Detroit Marathon Relay this past weekend for Make-A-Wish. Our team raised over $5000 dollars and ran GREAT race despite two runners with a cold (one of whom also had a minor case of hypothermia. Why is it that the race organizers think that the 3rd leg of the relays can self heat themselves for 2 hours waiting for their turn to run in 35 degree temps but yet all the other legs should have heated buses to protect them from the elements?) and a couple of our teammates were still on the mend from injury. Way to go Ollie, Mom, Karen and Tom! (Tom's first race btw all...4.4 miles bringing it home for us on the glory leg. You'll be hearing more about him in the near future. I'm sure of it :-) Thank so much to all of you who generously opened your hearts and your pocketbooks to make a wish come true for a little lady or gent!
P.P.S. Thanks also for all the marathon suggestions and words of encouragement (and sympathy) with respect to Chicago. My head IS back in the game now and I AM officially now registered for Indianapolis on Nov 7 for the 2nd running of the Monumental Marathon. But wouldn't you know the very day I do, I'm face with two snotty (as in sick) kiddos and my own sore throat. Oy! Send me all your healthy vibes, so I can kick it quickly and get back to it in time for my long run Saturday please. Don't want to miss the 20 miler with my favorite Kenyan now do I? ;-)