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Racing sucks

I’m not good at it.

I don’t enjoy it.

I’d much rather run with a small group of friends than deal with the anxiety of racing.

However, thanks to Rick, I now possess the best possible excuse for a bad racing performance …

“I was pacing someone”

Here’s the situation  – you’re at the starting line for a local 5-mile race.

You’re just not feeling it today.  Your legs are tired.  Your socks are too tight.  You’re regretting the bean burrito you had for dinner.

Whatever the cause .. you know you’re not going to have a good race and your concerned about what your friends will think when they read the results on Cool Running tomorrow.

So what do you do?  Well, if you’re Rick, you quickly offer to pace your wife, Tina, and her friend, Mary, whose goal it is to finish in 45:00.

But what if you’re not running with your wife who will vouch for your awful lies?

In that case, you scan the other runners in the corral, trying to seek out someone who will probably be slower than you – maybe someone you know to be running their first race.  As the race begins you work your way over closer to him/her.  You make some small talk, offer some tidbits of advice and words of encouragement, offer to stick close to them for a couple of miles.  Voila .. you can now tell all your running friends that your slower than expected time was due to “pacing someone.”

Rick – thank you so much for this tip.  I’m now looking forward to my next race.  I call dibs on “pacing” our 4:39 marathon friend.

The decision to switch my running routine last year always felt a little bit wrong.

It felt like I broke up with a girlfriend and didn’t give her a reason … just stopped calling and hoped she’d get the hint. (technically, I was always the dumpee and not the dumper, so I’m imagining the feeling)

But that’s all changed now.

I’m back with the Wednesday night group.

In less than 8 hours I’ll be huffing and puffing my way around a track with 50 other local runners.

The workout tonight is a good one as outlined by Coach Paul:


I have no inclination to push it too hard tonight. We’re supposed to have some rain storms, along w/ some thunder and lightning – not the best conditions for a return to the track, but I don’t care – I’m bordering on giddy w/ the thoughts of getting back to what feels right.

My body ached this morning.

Between the too fast run on Saturday and the hours spent working in the yard, I could barely get out of bed this morning.

My neck was tight.

My arms felt too long.

My left calf was (and still is) twitching.

My head was pounding from too much sun yesterday.

The last thing that my body wanted to do was run.

Unfortunately, I made a promise during the 7th piece of linguica on Sunday afternoon – “If I eat this, I promise to run at least 10 miles on Monday.”

Stupid promises …

So with that bit of self-induced guilt, I crawled/slid out of bed @ 5am,  used the wall for leverage down the stairs, shook out two Advil and pored myself a huge cup of coffee.

The next 30 minutes were spent sucking down coffee, rubbing the kinks out of my neck and trying to remind myself of all the reasons that I enjoyed running.

The run itself was fine – not good or bad.

I think I ended up covering 6 miles instead of the self-promised 10.  As far as I was concerned, the fact that I was actually running and not still in bed was good enough.

Now I’m sitting in the office, waiting for a co-worker to get me a software spec on some Do Not Call list integration that I need to incorporate into our internal application … the more I think about it, I’ll need the coffee and advil a lot more to get me through the rest of the day.

We said it at least 7 times – starting right after the first mile – “I think we should slow it down a bit.”

We’d slow down, but then someone (OK, it was Colleen) would speed up. She’d casually glance over her shoulder with a smirk on her face, practically daring us to maintain her pace. She was a machine out there. I can’t speak for Kevin, but I was a beaten man.

We covered the 10 miles in 1:22 (about an 8:12 pace) – not quite race pace, but faster than I’ve run in a long time.

I don’t remember my drive home from their house. I can barely remember taking a shower (visions of leaning against the shower wall contemplating the tingling in my left arm.)

It’s 3 hours later, and my chest still hurts during deep breaths.

As far as determining who is the faster Terrill .. they’re both pretty damn quick. They took turns controlling the pace and the conversation. While my breath was sputtering and I couldn’t complete a sentence they were merrily chatting about the kids, work, upcoming races, past races. I was only able to add an occasional “Uh-huh. Yup. Sounds good. Really. You bet. Unmhbasdf.”

We’ll be together again Wednesday night @ the Barnstable High track. I plan to rest between now and then so I can make an attempt to keep it close.

Our run.

I’m a little bit scared.

I’m running with the Terrills in 30 minutes, and I think someone’s going to get hurt.

I’m picturing 10 miles at 5K pace.

I’m picturing someone (me) left in a heap on the side of Route 130.

I have a feeling they’re looking to settle a bet on who’s the fastest Terrill and they’ve invited me to come along as a witness. 

Help me.

… if I make it back to Cotuit, I’ll post the results.

After all of my about getting to the track, pushing through speed work and “no more excuses”, I ended up staying home on Wednesday.

I didn’t last one day listening to my own advice, but I have an excuse.

It might not be the best excuse, but any husband will understand it … Michelle wouldn’t let me go run with my friends.

Well, technically, the choice was mine whether or not to run.  Michelle didn’t specifically say that I couldn’t go, but she was clear about which option she’d prefer.

You see, Wednesday wasn’t only track day, it was also Michelle’s 37th birthday.

When we went to bed Tuesday night she let it be known that all she wanted for her birthday was to wake up next to me. 

Aaahhhh .. now isn’t that sweet?

Not really.

We have very few rules in the Fravel house, but after 12 years of marriage I’ve learned the most important one – don’t talk to Michelle until after a cup of coffee or 9am … whichever comes first.

This is a very hard rule for me to follow.

I wake up around 4am each day. 

By 5am I’m wired on caffeine and bouncing off the walls. 

By 6am I either out for a run or pacing the house looking for someone to talk to.  I’m not picky – @ this point, I’m content to chat with the dogs and share stories with the cat.

By the time Michelle wakes up around 7am, I’m doing the happy dance because there’s someone around who will talk back to me.  Yay!

Most mornings I’ll deliver a rapid-fire recap of my morning so far  “I had two cups of coffee and I read the paper and I did some work and I ran 7 miles and I watched a little news and I fed the cat and let the dogs out and I packed my lunch and I thought about stuff for dinner and made you a list of what to get at the grocery store …”

At this point Michelle will look at me through puffy, tired eyes and say something sweet like “Shut the fuck up.”

So, you can imagine my confusion when she told me that all she wanted was to wake up next to me on her birthday.

“Um … are you sure?”  Is all that I could think to say.

So I did what any husband would do.  I caved.

I woke up 4am, sent an email to my running partners letting them know how whipped I am and they should run without me, got back into bed and stared at the ceiling until 6:45 when I mercifully fell back asleep.

At 6:50am Michelle opened her eyes, saw me still lying there, yawned in my face and told me to go make coffee and wake her when it was done.  I think what she really said was “It’s my birthday, bitch.  Get your ass up and start waiting on me”  … or something like that.

So, was it worth it?  I sacrificed a morning run to lie awake for two hours, fall asleep for 5 minutes, wake up to morning breath and face the taunts of my running partners … yeah – it was worth it. 

Happy Birthday, Michelle. 

Thanks for putting up with my 10 pairs of running shoes, sweaty running clothes in the hamper, sore muscle complaints, countless requests to check out my leg muscles (they’re rock hard, aren’t they sweetness?) and occasional irritability when I don’t get in a good run. 

You’re the best wife a runner could have.

Aaahhh … now isn’t that sweet?

Just a quick post before I head over to the Terrill household for our usual Tuesday morning 5-7 miler …

Kevin’s afraid of speed work.

Each Wednesday he has some new excuse why he can’t meet us at the track:

  1. on call and didn’t get any sleep the night before
  2. has to make breakfast for Colleen
  3. has an early mani/pedi appointment
  4. he’s too cheap to put 10 extra miles on his car
  5. Wednesday is Prince spaghetti day and he has to run through downtown Hyannis like Anthony
  6. he’s too damn slow and is afraid that he’ll embarrass himself
  7. he heard there might be a patch of ice on the track and he doesn’t want to crack another rib

This post is being written to proclaim that I won’t accept any more excuses from Kevin.   This Sunday,  while I was waking up in some dumpy New Hampshire hotel with a pounding in my skull and cotton in my moth, Kevin ripped off a 22:00 5K (7:06 pace) on his way to a top 25 finish.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt up till now.

I always assumed he was too slow.  I didn’t want to push too hard about the speed work. Those days are over.

Wednesday morning – BHS Track.  10 400s @ :90.

We’re officially in training.