Fighting words

Step 1: Tell myself that I am going to run all of my runs at an easy pace.

Step 2: Fail miserably. Twice. In one night.

On Wednesdays Mr. Shoe and I usually head to a local running group to get our miles in. We started doing this over the summer and it was one of the best running decisions that we have made. We found out about the Growler Gallop through this group (and I scored a growler of beer at this race!) and I met fellow runner who just happens to be our neighbor. If she hadn’t texted me on Tuesday to go run, there is a chance I would have chosen pajamas over running tights and stayed in bed reading all night.

The group usually runs 5-6 miles. Everyone stops at the halfway point to regroup and take a bit of a break and then we head back to the starting point to regroup one last time (and pick a restaurant/bar for post-run refreshments).

This week, about a half mile or so into our run, Mr. Shoe flagged me down to tell me he is heading back to the car. His calf has been bothering him and he didn’t want to over do it. We chat for a minute and I figure I can easily catch up with the end of the group. So I catch up with the last few runners but decide I want to run just a bit faster. So I tried to catch up with the next group of runners. It was a straight section and I could still see them. Easy peasy.

Except not. After a few minutes I realized the trail started twisting around and I lost sight of my friends. I couldn’t see anyone behind me either, even though I knew they had to be there. Suddenly it was just me, my footsteps, and my breath fogging in my headlamp (which added a nice eery glow). It might have been peaceful if I wasn’t so afraid of the dark. So I started running faster to catch the next group. And faster. And faster.

Finally I caught sight of them, about a quarter mile from our well-lit meeting place. I knew I wasn’t really in danger, if I had called out, I’m sure the group would have heard me. Or I could have waited a minute or so for the group behind me to catch up. But alone in the dark, I panicked just a little.

So for the return trip I made sure to lock in my pace with a couple of guys so I wouldn’t be alone. With about a mile left, without comment, we slowly started picking up our pace and trying to catch the two guys ahead of us. We pass this one guy with about a half mile to go. A minute or two later he ends up passing us back, and before I can stop myself I say, “Wow, it’s like you want me to pass you twice.” There is a brief pause before my previously silent running partner says, “Yeah, those are fighting words.”

Wednesday. Raceday. Same thing, right?

The next thing I know it is an all out race to get back to our cars. I’m sorry to say that that one guy out paced me in the end, but hey, there is always next week for the rematch!


One thought on “Fighting words

  1. Sometimes you just need to get a “fast” one out of your system! As long as you're not hurting, don't sweat it too much. Just be careful and take it easy next time!

    I don't blame you for being spooked. It's unfortunate that we live in a world where a woman running alone needs to feel that way, but, sadly it's reality.


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