Monday, June 24, 2013

How Fast Are You?

How fast are you?

10k Race up a Costa Rica mountain

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that in my life I could have paid for my college education twice. I work at a running specialty store which obviously employs a few serious runners among other fitness addicts.  Would I classify myself as a fitness addict? Absolutely! A runner? I try to pretend like I have ability in that department.  Logging about 20-30 miles a week depending on how busy things are, I clock in at average among my co-workers.  My average existence at work is comprised of hours and hours (literally) of fitness routines from tabata to yoga to biking. I don’t mean to be obnoxious but ask me any question about fitness and I promise I will have something to contribute. It’s not that I’m trying to look like Jessica Alba or anything (if only), but I really do get more excited about a workout  than I would a brownie ice cream sundae; which is saying a lot because there isn’t much I wouldn’t do to get my hands on one of those bad boys. But apparently all of those things (like that one time I scaled the South mountains of Arizona after running 5 miles) don't matter because I didn’t log my time on running to win afterwards, scrutinize my GPS watch to mentally note how fast I am at every moment in my step.   

I have been classified as a non-runner due to my lack of passionate relationship with pounding my knees to shreds on asphalt roads repeatedly, and not enjoying hours of looking directly ahead listening to the blood pump in my brain. How could you not enjoy hearing your hoarse breathing that may as well be coming from a water buffalo sweating in the mud hole for miles on end? Or receiving the constant shouts from random drivers who somehow manage to find time in their day to shout at a total stranger (that is an entirely different soap box all together).

Don’t get me wrong I love to run. It has been an aspect of fitness that I incorporate into almost everything I do for years now. The freedom to be on your own and go wherever at your own desire is incredible. I am just feeling a little cynical after being surrounded by “the fastest people this side of the Ohio.” And after being told that I don't run when I could have sworn I went for an hour yesterday.  If you are someone who feels a little anxious at the thought of never changing anything about your fitness chances are we may be in the same boat on this issue.  If I ever tried to become the kind of runner that these fast people claim to be I would probably have to start hurdling random street objects and giving high fives to spice things up a bit. 

The typical conversation goes…

New person: “how fast are you?”
Real Runner: “HA! Riley doesn’t run.”
Riley: “uh yea I do…”
Real Runner: “oh yea how fast are you…”

To which I really want to respond fast doing what? I like to think that I run pretty fast when there are sketchy people lingering on the sidewalks or hanging out in the park that my route runs through. Yesterday I ran way slower because my pony tail kept whipping me in the face. Do you know how hard it is to maintain pace while getting jabbed in the eye continually? When I am about to start my period I feel like a porpoise whale tumbling down the street, knowing that I look like I am running through cement. Sometimes I am so stressed out pre-running that I hardly notice I exceeded my distance by a few miles, and out did my intended pace without even noticing.  Especially when I run by my work…during those times just call me Riley Hall. 

the South Mountains in Phoenix AZ
During high school fast was a term used to describe how bold you got with the boy in the back of the movie theater. In this case I don’t feel comfortable discussing my speed at work. I may even do my best to depict myself as slow in that department.

It’s not that they are trying to be mean or anything when they say that. I can understand how easy it is to exclude when you specialize in something… like me and squats or brownie sundaes.  But you can’t just count out those who are trying, otherwise we wouldn't have any real runners in this world. Oh you ran into get coffee at a record time this morning? I have no misgivings to call you a runner at that point in time way to go.

Basically what I have been ranting about is that I don't will never know how fast I am. I’m too much of a control freak for that…if I can’t give you the realest and most impressive answer with full confidence in my numbers, I will most definitely avoid your question.

I guess the next time it happens a better response than “who are you? And when did you know my life?” may be something like

“I’m fast enough…”