“Sorry.” “Bike up.” “A little slow.” “Last mile.” “Pervert.”
These are the scintillating bits of conversation I am capable of uttering during a ten-mile marathon pace run. If you like to pass your tempo time with witty repartee and fascinating tête-à-tête, I am not your gal. It’s all I can do to muster an apology for elbowing Elda, warn of an approaching missile on wheels, nudge us to pick up the pace, and prod us to a blisteringly fast finish (7:11 pace mile 10!).
Oh, and grace Ken with the admonishment he was hoping for after commenting on my shorts. Having spent the warmup and first several miles being entirely and uncharacteristically too appropriate, Ken needed assurance he hadn’t lost his touch. (No, not that kind of touch. Especially during a grueling tempo.)
I’m always in awe of people who can chat away during faster running. Tempo pace is always defined as “comfortably hard,” or as “a pace where you could carry on a conversation, but you don’t want to.” That last descriptor suits me: I can always listen really well, and grunt a two-or-three-word answer to a query, but when I’m running harder than easy pace, I can’t really focus on much more than my breathing, leg turnover, arm swing, and posture. I’m always amazed, and jealous, when our group (Group 4 Shout-Out!) passes another group, and folks are having a grand ol’ time laughing, teasing, discussing the business section of the WSJ, etc. I say to myself, “If you can do that during tempo, it’s time to move up into a faster group.”
Invariably, though, another thought always sneaks in: “If they can chat comfortably during a pace run, why can’t I?” Maybe I’m working too hard for my abilities. Maybe I should be able to formulate complete sentences and hold a soirée on the fly. Maybe everyone else is normal and I’m a freak.
So I’m throwing this question out there: where do you fit?
a. I can and do chat comfortably and easily on a marathon pace run. I like my peeps!
b. I chat, but only because everyone else does, and I don’t want to seem antisocial.
c. I can eke out short sentences.
d. I want to strangle people who chat during pace runs.
I’m a “C.” I like it when Ken/Steve/Brian/Lauren carries the group through a grinding workout with stories galore (“Did I tell you about my last 50K in Montana de Oro? No? Well…”); philosophy 101 (“Why are endurance runners so obsessive?”); shopping (“Where do you buy your shoes? How much did you pay for them?”); and geography (“there’s a steep short hill coming up, then it’s flat for a while, then a long-ass hard incline, so get ready…”). But I don’t like to come up with fodder myself, so I’m grateful for the “A’s” and “B’s.”
What are you?