Monday, June 19, 2017

Outta My League

Have you ever looked at a group of runners (probably completely cut, shirtless or wearing only running bras) who pass you chatting and laughing with each other while seemingly-effortlessly running 4 minute miles?  Have you looked at them and thought, "Whoa. Those runners are WAY OUTTA MY LEAGUE," yet you couldn't help but get a small twinge of wondering, "What if? What if I tried to hang with these machines? How far would I get before I cough up lung butter?"

You know, like this guy, who for one glorious mile got to hang with Meb and the elite pack at the Boston Marathon. Sometimes we just have to try to hang with people way out of our league, and that is what I did this week.

Example #1: I belong to quite a few online running groups, and while I lurk there, snooping on their runs and pictures, I have never run with many of them because. . . well, look at the title of this post. Phillips Phlyers is one of those groups.  They run at all times of the day and night, and there have been many times I've seen them at races or the same running route I'm taking that day. Last Tuesday, Joey Phillips (the leader of the Phlyers) posted a hilly 7-miler at 9:30 in the morning, which was just the time I was trying to kick my butt in gear. I first posted to Joey about pace because my main concern is I don't want to jack up someone's run. He told me to join them, so I did. After an interesting initiation ceremony that involved some group chanting, a selfie, and an American flag, Joey, John, and I got going.

This is EXACTLY how I look before running with Joey and John. 
We ran up the biggest hill ever. I tried to give up, but Joey and John weren't having it. I made that hill my bitch (you knew it was coming), and then Joey and I split off to the trails while John continued on the road. To take my mind off the fact that I was dying, Joey told me about his running history, and boy, am I glad he did! This man ran the Boston Marathon 20 TIMES!!!!  He trains hard, he is an amazing runner, and he is super-kind.

We met back up with John at the end, and he had water for us. I was feeling a little guilty because I knew they had run more slowly than they are used to, but they were both so kind about it that I got over myself. Thanks, Joey and John for letting me run with you on a super-hot day!

My Instagram Post after the run: I survived a run with Phillips Phlyers. I'm going to go throw up now.
Example #2: I needed a recovery run the next day, and I saw a post from the Canal Rats. I've run with the Rats a few times, so I should have known what I was getting into there, but, well, I'm not that smart. The Canal Rats meet before dawn to run the Towpath and/or Sand Run. They have a set weekly schedule, so I know that if I run with them on a Tuesday or Thursday, I could use it as a tempo run. This post was on a Wednesday, and it said "Relaxed Pace," so being gullible, I showed up at 5:50 AM to run "4 easy miles" on sore legs after my hill run with the Phlyers.  Umm.  Yeah.  The easy run was sure enough at my half marathon pace, and I had jumped into it with my eyes wide open.  Dumbass.  I ran the first two miles steps behind the pack (on the struggle bus the whole time), and then at the turnaround, Mary Jo ran back with me. This is usually what happens when I run with the Rats; they are so kind that one of them takes one for the team and runs with me for a few miles. I stayed with Mary Jo for one more mile, then I told her to catch up to the pack because I was going to cool down with run/walking.

My Instagram Post after this run: Aaaand today the Canal Rats kicked my ass.
Example #3: My friend Pam (@HopRunner), a fellow Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador, is training for the Canal Corridor 100, and she has been putting in serious miles each week. She is a real badass, so I knew this was the time to try to run with her, while her legs are seriously tired before the taper. We made a plan to run 15 miles together on the Towpath on a hot Sunday morning. Pam needs to run slowly, so I thought I'd be able to keep up with her.  Unfortunately, I made a really stupid rookie move by doing lots of lunges and goblet squats the day before our run.  GAAAAAAA.  My legs hurt SO MUCH on our run. I have NEVER punked out by walking so much at the end of a run in my life! After mile 12 I was over-heated and my legs were toast. I felt terrible for Pam, but she was a great sport about it. We had a great conversation over the 15 miles, and I'm so grateful to her for letting me run with her and soak up some running-wisdom along the way.

This is the before pic. No way was I going to take an after-pic.  Look how fresh and pretty and cool we are here!
Ok, so I really stretched myself this week by running 47 miles, 15 of them counting basically as speed work. I'm pretty proud of myself; I ran a lot, I ran hard, and I didn't injure myself. I attribute the non-injury to my secret recovery drink:

Most importantly, I spent time with some inspirational people this week, and I learned a lot. As you have read, I learned that runner peeps are the best peeps, even when they are Outta My League.

How are you handling the heat? However you are doing it, I hope you Run Happy, Peeps!

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