Saturday, March 20, 2010

Etiquette in passing

I've been a bad blogger lately. I'm getting over this cold finally, and have just been so wiped by the end of the day that I don't make the time to write a post. I'm sorry! I'll make up for it soon. But next week I'll be in L.A. for a few days, likely without my computer, so I'll apologize in advance for the lack of posts between Thursday and Monday.

Today was an absolutely gorgeous, sunny day in New York. The birds were chirping, the sun was shining, and it was a perfect day for a 9-mile run in Central Park. Compared with last week, this was quite a step up -- no gusting wind, just a lovely breeze; no pouring rain, just a clear blue sky. B and I left the apartment just after 9 a.m. and went up to E. 77th St. We did one full loop (6 miles) around the park, then ran 1.5 miles one way and 1.5 miles back so we would stay on the east side. Ending up on the west side would have been fine, but I had a brunch to get to soon after the run so we stayed on the east side. The park was insanely crowded -- I guess that's to be expected on the first beautiful day of the year, and especially considering last week's atrocious weather.

The run went really well -- B and I were pretty quick, though as you can see in the first mile, there was some glitch with the Garmin...maybe I pressed start too early, maybe it took a while to adjust, but as soon as the first mile was up it went back to normal! Go figure.

Here's the map and our splits:
Not bad eh? I felt really good during the run, but there is one killer hill that seems to be neverending (can you guess where it is? Yup, somewhere between miles 3 and 4). B and I persevered though, and had not just a good run, but a great one :) Given the gorgeous weather, I'd say this is my favorite run so far during this training. It might have some competition while I'm in L.A. though!

Since the park was so crowded, we had quite a few opportunities to pass by and be passed by some runners. It always feels a little awkward, and B had actually asked me on one of our first runs on the West Side Highway what one should do when passing someone. My advice was to just focus on what you're doing -- if you happen to be in a situation where you can pass someone, pass them by. I've been passed plenty of times, and while it can sting a little bit, I have to remember that everyone's out there doing their own thing. The speed demon who just whizzed by me may be on a 2-mile sprint while I know that I'm building up my endurance on a 10-mile run. Even if that's their 10-mile pace, everybody's different and has their own pace at which they feel comfortable running.

That's what I do on a day-to-day run. During a race, I adopt a more competitive mentality. I pick someone ahead of me that it looks like I could pass if I keep doing what I'm doing or pick up the pace a little bit, and I race them. It gives me something to focus on other than the pain my legs are (probably) feeling, and it keeps me feeling quick. My roommate K gave me this advice and I always keep it in mind. It definitely does the trick!

Not going to lie, though, there is a bit of smug satisfaction that I feel when I pass someone. This is probably because I usually think of myself as a slow runner, but I'm quickly brought back down to earth as soon as someone passes me.

If you get passed in a race or on a run, don't be discouraged. Just keep focusing on putting one foot in front of the other and doing your best. And when you do pass someone, try your best not to call them a slowpoke under your breath as you fly by. Chances are they were on the minute recovery of their speed intervals and will come racing up behind you moments later and you'll be eating your words...

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