We had so many things going on that day, but I figured I’d squeeze in a couple of miles just to kick the day off right. When my husband gave the official eye roll of agreement, I grabbed my Ziploc bag with a cinnamon mint and my cell and was off and running.
Trot, trot, trot. I was cruising along, minding my own mind, trying to decide whether I should wear my navy and cream maxi dress or capris with this cutesy new top my mom just bought me – yes, deep thoughts, people – when my Runkeeper app announced in that warm, automated bank teller voice, “Five minutes, .5 miles with an average pace of 10 minutes 2 seconds per mile.”*
I wasn’t really paying attention because a 10 minute mile for today’s run was perfect. Until I turned the corner and almost collided with a woman I sort of know from either baseball or elementary school or possibly from the neighborhood. She could be a friend of a friend. I don’t know, but I knew her and she knew me and we said hello as she passed me by.
I followed her butt from a car length or so behind and started racing her in my head. I sped up a little, then worried that we’d have this awkward moment where we were running side by side. I’ll just cross the street if that happens, I told myself. I wouldn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
Congratulating myself on this brilliant idea, I realized that in the minutes that had passed I was no closer to catching her than I was before. Hmm. Might have to speed up a bit more. Now I’m panting, still waiting for that moment where – oh, ha ha, here we are together – but I had made zero progress.
WTF?! I did a self-confidence check. I’m in decent shape. I’m pretty competitive. I’m not a speed demon, but I’m no slack. She didn’t even look like she was running hard, while I imagine a photo of me would reveal someone who looked like they needed medical attention.
At that moment, Runkeeper announced, “15 minutes, 1.75 miles, with an average pace of 9 minutes 17 seconds per mile.*” Well, that’s certainly faster. Yet, I’m still at least a car length – if not two – behind her.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, she trips.
I watched her fall to the ground and do a kind of half roll. My mouth dropped open, and I am definitely not thinking that this is the moment I catch up to her. I am going to make sure she is okay. I get a little closer and yell, “Are you okay?” but before I reach her, she is back up and on the move again, brushing herself off as she goes.
She doesn’t even turn around, but gives me a little half wave in acknowledgment. Within two minutes, we are back at our regular spots, her striding ahead, me lagging behind.
I’m pissed – no biggie, just a pelvic wall thing from the babies – and I’m frustrated. All my dormant competitive instincts now come alive. Oh yeah, let’s take it up a notch.
I do gain a little ground, but quickly realize as I huff and puff that I am not going to blow this house down. Besides, I wonder, what would I do if I actually caught her? I could probably only match her pace for about a minute, before giving some ridiculous little wave of triumph and slowly falling back to my rightful place behind her.
No. I was humiliated enough. I slowed and followed her swaying short shorts until I hit my block and turned. She, of course, continued on, forever in front of me, just out of reach.
When I got home, Runkeeper clocked my fastest mile at 8:27. Not bad. I probably should run with her more often.
*Numbers are approximately accurate, just in case you’re checking my math. 😉
The competition is only ever with yourself. Unless you’re in a ten mile race and about to be overtaken by someone in a crocodile suit. Nope don’t know anyone that’s ever happened to (whistles)….
haha!! well i know now not to follow crocodile butt!
8:27 rocks! my best mile the other night was 8:47. keep going
apparently i need someone to inspire my competitive side
Hahaha I love your competitive streak. And this post totally makes me want to up my game 🙂
you just need to follow someone in short shorts!
Love it!!! So impressed you run!! While you’re out there pacing yourself against other mom runners I’m in the house trying to do a Pilates DVD with a baby and dog jumping on my stomach! Super!
that is a serious degree of difficulty. go you!!
I do this all the time when I run, making up races in my head and trying to win!
me too – but usually i win!! haha
That was a fast mile, my friend!
i was pissed – the other kind – and i still couldn’t catch her. she did up my game though, since then, i’ve been consistently running faster. a little kick in the ass never hurts. unless you’re wearing heels.. .
Okay – I officially suck..I’m proud with my 13 minute pace!! LOL
slow and steady wins the race! 🙂
Go you, Speedy Gonzales! I say she was put in your path for just that reason – to spark you to push yourself. I’m in awe of your times. xo
awww shucks, stop it. but i do have a dormant competitive drive that sometimes kicks in. 🙂