December 11, 2005

Kelly's 5k

Morning Workout
2 hours 15 minutes
Zone: Aerobic / Lactate Threshold
Random Comments: Beautifully hilly run overlooking the water in Redondo Beach, including a jaunt up the strand right on the beach. We ran past the bit-too-serious volleyball players. They take their volleyball very seriously down there in Redondo. Lot of yelling and grunting. Made my random running noises sound almost normal.

Main Set: 16 x 25m / 8 x 50m / 4 x 100m / 1 x 400m
Random C
omments: After the long hilly run, I was tired and didn't want to swim. But Cat made me go. Good motivator, Cat. Still, I was tired when I started, tired during the workout and tired when the pool lady stopped us 200m through the end of the main set because the pool was closing. Sometimes the best workouts are the ones you didn't want to do in the first place. Not sure this was one of them, but glad I went anyway.

Evening Workout
Are you fucking kidding me?! Did you see what I did in the morning?! Evening workout....jeeez. The nerve.


Catherine is a volunteer coach for Girls On The Run (GOTR), a non-profit organization that encourages young girls to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle. Once each week for the past few months, she'd slip out of work for a peculiarly long lunch break, and head over to the local elementary school to coach a handful of girls on running. After months of training (and considering these are 10 and 11 year olds, I use that term very loosely), all the GOTR participants in the LA area get together for a celebratory 5k run. That run was yesterday. About 50-odd girls showed up along with an assortment of coaches, volunteers and a motley crew of family members to cheer them on. Yours truly volunteered to be a volunteer.

I was assigned to run with Kelly, a seemingly quiet and shy 5th grader who decided to run the 5k in what seemed like her morning "hang out" clothes, if that's what the kids call them these days. Decked out in some pretty nice sweat pants, a fairly stylish t-shirt and a baseball cap, Kelly looked more like she was going to hang out with her friends at Jamba Juice than run a 5k. Meanwhile, here I am in my dry-fit shirt, Ironman visor, heart rate monitor, enough Nike logos to feign an endorsement and a variety of other accoutrement that I wear to make me look really fast. So when the starting shout was bellowed by the local director, after her quasi-motivational speech, I was all set to proudly lead Miss Kelly around the 13 laps of the rutted-out, dried dirt, sad excuse for a track.

Imagine my surprise when Kelly took off like a bat-outta-hell. Holy shit, I muttered nervously to myself as I wondered whether this four-foot-something munchkin could actually maintain this pace for a bit over three miles. After the first lap, she was still going strong. Second lap, not even a bead of sweat. Suddenly we're one mile into this and Kelly is not missing a stride. At this point, it started to get ugly for me. Both of my calfs were pretty tight and there was a knife sticking into my right achilles. I didn't know if I could get through the run. I could picture the headlines, "Ironman hopeful gets dusted by 11 year old in local 5k". Not that there would even be headlines anywhere know what I mean.

Halfway through our second mile I turn to Kelly and ask her how her legs are feeling. "Fine," she says. "How are yours?"

Kelly had been quiet the entire time so I couldn't really get a grasp on her personality, but if I were a bettin' man I'd say that suddenly she was being a bit of a wiseass. Being the kind volunteer, I really held back in my desire to reach my left hand out and thwap her right across the head. Instead, I took a deep breathe, analyzed my aching legs and confidently replied, "They're great! This is a lot of fun. Thanks for asking." Take that, ya little wisceacre such-and-such.

Well, fast forward a little bit and Kelly actually started to get tired. She finally wore herself down before she wore me down. And right about the time she had to slow down, we finally found a common subject to talk about. So, with but a mile left in the run, Kelly and I finally bonded. And as we rounded the last lap, she told me she wanted us to sprint the finish. And let me tell you Bob, Kelly can sprint. She hit the accelerator and took off like a rocket. And we crossed that finish line together in a proud blaze of glory.

There's a moral to this story. Unfortunately, I don't know what it is but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that giving and teaching is a two way street. Though you may feel like the teacher, some day you might wake up and suddenly realize you've been the student after all.

Then again, maybe there's no moral and I just wanted to tell you the story about my impressive running buddy, Kelly. Either way, it was a wonderful experience for me.