Sunday, August 23, 2009

I am Cazador Corriente

I hit the RTW yesterday with the plan to reel in a PR in a 5k, which would be beating the time 26:54.77.
I honestly can't remember my course best at RTW--I think it's in the range of 31 minutes, so I'm going to establish my current RTW-PR as 31:00.00.

Saturday morning, I cleaned my gun and set out on the hunt. A buddy of mine--I'll call him the Cheetah--decided my running has inspired him to take a stab at the RTW and run for the first time in 2 or 3 years. The horn blows, and we take off.

At a blisteringly fast pace.

I say "oh shit", and immediately start to reel my pace back so that I don't flame out. The Cheetah? He takes off with the leader pack. All I see are shoe soles and elbows. He makes the first loop with the leaders, gets down to the corner and drops back a little, turns the next corner and drops back a little more, and hits the driveway to the park and started walking. Not a bad sprint. I caught up to him at my steady 10 minute pace and he started trotting with me again. El Cazador had caught el Guepardo, but that wasn't my quarry.

Much to my surprise, I was able to chat a bit while running. This was going to be a good day.
Cheetah: you ok?
Cazador: yea, I'm great. You?
Cheetah: I'm fine.
Cazador: You took off there like a shot.
Cheetah: that why you said "oh shit"?
Cazador: No, that's 'cause the whole group took off like a shot. I wasn't about to keep up that pace and I figured I'd catch you eventually.
Cheetah: you're going to keep this pace the whole way?
Cazador: that's the plan.
Cheetah: you know I'm going to smoke you at the end?
Cazador: If you can, I'm OK with that.
A few seconds pass in silence...
Cheetah: I can't keep this pace... I'm dropping back.
Cazador: (laughs) All right. I'll come back for you. (yelling over my shoulder) with a stretcher!!

From there I motored on. No watch, no music, no nothing. Just me, the pavement, and my shoes. The simplest connection of man and his primal self. As I allowed myself to be immersed in the run, I could see up ahead the wispy image of a gazelle trotting on the path a few hundred feet ahead of me, looking over its shoulder as I approached, then taking off into the trees again. My body saying "run". My mind saying "this is inefficient, there are easier ways". So far, the body is winning, but slowly. The day will come when I see that gazelle fall over from exhaustion.

But today was not that day. El Cazador remains hungry.

32:05. Missed my course record by a minute. Missed my PR by 5. I'll be back in a month, then the 10 miler in October and maybe by then I'll have a watch.
For the first time ever, I'm feeling this thing. I'm looking forward to runs. I'm itching to get out on the roads and run. To make that ultimate connection with the ultimate of primal instincts that separates us from the animals and our caveman cousins. To just run, untethered by mile markers or my own brain saying "this is stupid".

Currently I feel better running than I did at any point in 2005, but I'm going to begin cataloging my 2005 blog entries to determine where I stack up compared to the last marathon training I did.

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