The question above was put to us by Allison, about 5 miles into this morning's 7.5 mile New Charles River Run. She was, you see, keeping the Vanilla Bean Gu packet in her sports bra. I mean, where else are you supposed to keep something like that? It was my first experience with Gu. Let me tell you, I'm not that excited about my second experience.
What I am excited about, however, is the way I ran the race. Katherine and Abby are marathoners and Allison has run with them before. And still, I kept pace. So I'm proud of that. That's no small feat, keeping pace with people who regularly run double digit mileage. At around the four and a half mile mark, Katherine said to me, "So I think you and I should pick a full marathon to train for. And we can do it together." I went through all the reasons why that's maybe not such a good idea, but Katherine's a hard sell. "Marathon training is brutal and hard," she said, "but anyone can do it." I knew running was a cult.
Unofficial results aren't up yet but I believe my pace was right around what I've been posting for 5Ks. I had no time in mind today since the goal for this race was just to finish it. 7.5 miles is the longest I've run yet. So that's an achievement in and of itself. And I feel good about the fact that I feel good. If that makes any sense. I kept up the flow of conversation the whole time and at no point did I feel like I was pushing myself too hard.
Around the 6 mile mark Katherine said, "You're speeding up."
"I am?" I said.
"Yup," she answered, "You're going faster."
"We're at 6 miles," I said, "I want to finish this bitch."
So we did.
My left hip was giving me a little attitude around 5 miles in but I decided to push through it. I'm glad I did. I had my iPod with me and we used Attractive in a Non-Threatening Way iPod man's updates to pace ourselves. We've also decided that his name should be Javier.
This inspired a mile-long conversation or so about who we'd want talking to us through our iPods and encouraging us on our runs. We all decided that Sean Connery and Isaac Hayes would be pretty stellar. Especially if Isaac Hayes busted into the Shaft theme song. How are you not gonna punch it up for that?
Amy had run the 5K version of the same race so in a reversal, she was waiting for me at the finish line.
"I'm just really glad you didn't boot," she said after hugging me, handing me some water and telling me she was proud of me. "I was standing here when some of the elite 7.5 mile runners came through and I nearly got splashed."
"Like the Matt Ryan Victory Boot?" I asked her.
"Exactly," she said.
"Well," I ventured, "I don't have to boot. So I think that counts as a win."
"Totally," she said.
We then decided that next weekend we'll take a break. This is two races for us in two weeks and some time off is good.
"Next weekend," she said, "It's a holiday. So no races."
"No," I said, "Next weekend all we're obligated to do as Americans is hang out at my parents lake house and drink beer."
"That sounds perfect." She said.
At the moment, I feel sort of perfect myself. 7.5 miles is more than halfway to a half marathon and that's what I'm training for at the moment. I'm on an excellent pace and finally feel like maybe, just maybe, I'll actually be able to do it. It's a good feeling.