Everybody’s Got a Complex…

WEATHER: 29 degrees F, flippin’ windy.

MILES: 15ish




MOOD: Pleased.

TYPE OF RUN: Long run with S., including a pissing contest with fellow towpath occupants the last 2-3 miles.


Today’s run at first promised to be rough.  Standing by the Iwo Jima memorial at 9:30 this morning, feeling the negative-50-bazillion-degree wind cutting through my 3 shirts and extra-thick tights, waiting for S. to show up and swearing to beat him senseless with anything at my disposal (namely, my SmartTrip card, $20, and a mocha-flavored energy gel) if he were again late, I felt sluggish, tired, kind of chunky, irritated, and hungry.  This is a sensation that sports doctors refer to as “feeling like ASS.”

S. and I met at Boston last year, the night before the race, at a pasta restaurant where we were both carbo-loading.  As he was alone, my friend Sarah and I invited him to eat with us.  And thus we became running partners.  Since then we’ve done long runs together, on and off, all 10-ish (give or take) of them enjoyable.  Though I realized today that perhaps he doesn’t quite “get” my unique(ly lame) sense of humor.  This became apparent at the start of our run, as we crossed the Key Bridge and the 40-mph gusts of wind repeatedly bonked me into him whenever I broke concentration.

“THE WIND IS FROM THE NORTHWEST, I THINK!” he yells, pointing forward and to the left.


He turns to me, a thin strand of spit frozen to the left side of his face, a perplexed look in his eyes.


Ah.  He didn’t get the subtleties of my joke.

You have much to learn, S.

One of S.’s unique features is that he runs his training runs at my pace — a minute per mile slower than his — insisting all the while that I’m going faster than he can go…and then he gets to a starting line and turns into a freaking Kenyan.  So for the first half of today’s run I was half-stepping ahead of him most of the time.

Then, at mile 9 or so, three 30ish guys in tights, shorts, running gloves, non-cotton race shirts — fellow runner-runners — passed by us at a water fountain stop.  The rest of our run was done at blazing speed.

“…are you trying to catch those dudes?” I asked him.

“…uh…yeah,” he said sheepishly, nevertheless ratcheting the pace up another notch.

And as my lungs bled and my ass muscles tore, I formulated a theory about runners — every single one has a sort of complex.


“No…you…are,” I heaved.


“Dude.  So do they.”

“GOOD POINT!” he said, with a Doppler effect as he sprinted away.

S. later admitted that he refuses to let people he KNOWS are slower to pass him…though I still fail to see how he thinks he “knows” who is slower or faster than him (0r me).  Anyhow.  This seems to be a guy thing, a sort of runner’s equivalent of territory-marking.  Many a morning run through Georgetown has been made more interesting by some 40-something dude  deciding to hound this young chick who ran past him.  It’s kind of fun to toy with these people…to slow down and let them surge past, then to flat-tire them for a full half mile, muttering filthy things about their mothers, and capping it all off by blowing a gnarly wad of spit and mucous on them as I blow past.

Haha.  Just kidding.  Though what I usually do is let them push by me, wait for a hill, then sprint past, up the hill, for effect.  Particularly persistent old suckers might need a few lessons, of course, tailing me, surging ahead, and dropping back several times.

“Listen, Male-Pattern-Baldness.  I’m not going to tell you again,” say my bodacious gams, awash in spandex, as I recede into the distance.  “THIS IS MY HOUSE!”, I consider screaming.  Though it’s not.  I live in Howard U. territory.  So come on up to the ‘hood and try it again, you WASPy S.O.B.


Anyway, I don’t mean to imply that S. is of this level of toolishness (and definitely not of my level).  He just hates to be passed.  Likewise, I refuse to drag down a fellow runner.  If my training partner wants to go at a 5-minute-per-mile pace, then by God I’ll hold that pace as long as I can (roughly 8 seconds).

Regardless, the run was what I needed to shake off my egg-nog-induced post-Christmas I-can’t-run-anymore funk.  The day was rounded out by delicious brunchy goodness with S. and then an afternoon with my friend, Haley, who helped me lose my Costco virginity.  110 servings of oatmeal?  A half-gallon of salsa?  A bale of cotton-balls?  Don’t mind if I do…

On to thesis work!  <face-keyboard>


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