Friday, November 27, 2009

The Buddy System

Fresh  Hungover after yesterday's 23 second PR  Thanksgiving day feast, I opened my bleary eyes to find Mattie sitting by my side of the bed, tail going like a propeller, her eyes, her judging brown eyes, fixed on me.  I stumbled out of bed, the headache creeping behind my sinuses, and went straight for the coffee, then for the orange juice.  The dog let out an exasperated sigh as she plopped down next to me in the kitchen, as if to say, "You did this to yourself."

It was 9:30 and I remembered somewhere between bottles of wine last night, my friend and I talked about going for an easy 5-miler today.  I figured I had about 2-2.5 hours to talk myself into that as well as prepare my body for it.  This is the same friend who ran his first 5K yesterday, debuting at a smoking 6:48 pace.  I think he's hooked.

I've talked about the value I get (at least mentally) from the detox run, that reluctant yet sweaty and often gut wrenching run that follows a night (or week) of gluttony.  So that's essentially what I had in mind this morning: if nothing else, I'd sweat out that food pouch that suddenly appeared around 5:30 yesterday evening and only seemed to grow in girth with every piece of pie thereafter.

At 11:40, I fired off the 30-minute warning text to my friend, he replied a couple minutes later, and my fate was sealed: it was on.

In addition to the swishing of Mattie's tail this morning, the wind whipped at our townhouse adding that extra element or roadblock to wanting to get out there today.  Still, the bruised clouds rolled in and as I debated whether or not to pull a hat on, it started spitting.  Leaves spun in loose tornadoes around the yard and the pine trees bowed in unison.  The sun peeked through in shafts but did little to raise the temperature. It's indeed fall in Northern Virginia.  "Brilliant," I thought.  Betrayed by the hour-by-hour forecast.  When it says 20% chance of rain, who really takes that seriously?  Beyond the debate of should we run, should we not, came hat and gloves?  Hat, no gloves? Neither?  *sigh*

At 12:15, my friend and I met at my front stairs and trotted off on the 5-mile "lake loop" course. This was somewhat of a new experience for me.  It's been quite a while since I've run with anyone.  My wife and I trained together for our first marathon back in 2004, but in terms of running, have gone our separate ways.  There's been the occasional run with my dad when we've visited and vice-versa.  It's not something I'm averse to, rather, the situation rarely presents itself.  Either people's schedules conflict, fitness levels/goals are different, or for whatever reason, I find myself out there alone.

Today was great, however.  My friend normally runs through our neighborhood so this gave him a new 5-mile loop to add to his repertoire.  Plus, we chatted for the majority of the run, which took some of the sting out of climbing the hills, and ensured we kept the pace nice and easy.  It was also fun to have someone along side me to "enjoy" the headwind and the random moments of rain showers that passed through as quickly as they came on.  Like many have said, the fact that we'd made this commitment the night before held each of us accountable for pushing through to get up for this run.  The conversation flowed from piecing together last and making plans for this evening to swapping stories about bonehead motorists and future plans to bike the entire W&OD trail.  Before I knew it, we were coming out of the trail and into the 1-mile homestretch.

Will this happen again?  Perhaps.  He's a morning runner, while I'm an after work runner.  But who knows, some weekends or days off may align our schedules.  At least for today, we used the buddy system to push one another through and make that food pouch just a little smaller.

Did you use today to trot yesterday's Turkey off?

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