26 December 2008

New Morning

I rushed at the climb from the tunnel under the A34 (otherwise known as the E5, which runs from Gibraltar or Algeciras to Greenock: how useful is that?) and emerged into the bright sunlight. The sky was clear, the ground was dry, and there was a cool easterly breeze. This morning was just perfect for running.

I ran with my virtual partner today - the one on my Forerunner, I mean. She - I know she must be female, as so many of my favourite running partners are, though I have resisted the temptation, incriminating as it might be, to give her a name - did steady eight minute miles, and for the first couple of miles I pulled ahead. Up the hill beside our field she overtook me, so that when I crested the climb from the tunnel (with the HRM showing a disappointing 176) she was ahead again, and by over a minute. I chased her down along the Ridgeway, so by the time I turned off to head downhill again I had nearly caught her, and I'd pulled out a comfortable lead by the time I passed Upper Farm.

Hitting the smooth tarmac after the helter-skelter dash down the often-treacherous clay-and-chalk path from the Ridgeway, I consciously lengtened my stride and tried to lift my heels as high as possible - feeling the effort in a range of underworked muscles in my thighs and backside. I raced past a couple walking their doberman, gasping a polite "good morning" to them but then finding that I had acquired a new, large and enthusiastic training partner - nothing virtual about this one. So I stopped and encouraged the dog to rejoin its owners, which only worked on the second attempt when they forcibly restrained it from tagging along with me.

Meantime, VP had continued at her 8-minute-mile pace, oblivious to my attempts to leave behind my new running mate, and managed to build up a lead of about 20 seconds. I clawed it back again before I reached the school, but had to pause by the old beryllium pits to catch up with myself, allowing VP to close down the gap again. I thought about settling the matter by declaring a slightly earlier-than-planned end to the timed session, but rejected the idea: what would the records on my page at garmin.com look like if the loop were not finished? So I completed the circuit before stopping the watch, arriving home a couple of seconds ahead of her.

Fortunately, I didn't need to share my porridge with VP: I needed a large bowlful after that. I'm going to set her going at 7:55 for tomorrow and see how that goes. I think we are going to have a wonderful running relationship, though I won't be giving up running with humans any time soon. Apart from anything else, I prefer their conversation.

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