Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Running and Getting Laughed at

So I ran recently, and something strange happened.

I saw a hyena.


No really, a hyena was crossing my path during my run the other day.  It didn't hurt that I was in Tanzania at the time.  Thankfully there wasn't a pack of them laughing at my running form, but it did spice things up a bit.

There also was an epic running showdown.  After I had completed the non-planned, random, "jump out and run some arbitrary distance" run, I ran into a few folks from the summit I was attending who wanted to run.

Problem.

Running with people.  Hmmm.  This would require human contact and perhaps even speaking.  Since I'm usually gasping for air at a thirteen minute mile pace, that is a problem.  Then there is the whole social interaction thing.  Yeah I usually try to avoid this.  However, in this case I thought to myself, how often are you in Africa and get invited to a track meet?

Game on.

So I went and ran a few additional laps, slowly, on the grounds of the place we were staying along with another American as well as a Kenyan.  There was an additional Kenyan who was going to come but he was obviously intimidated by the incredible physical specimen that I am.  So on the last lap the Kenyan slowed down and ran with me.  I took this to mean he wanted an all out running duel over the course of the next four hundred meters.  Well let me tell you, the duel in the hot Tanzanian sun was an epic one.  There we were, jogging around the track, bantering in the way only truly "elite" athletes can, putting on an epic show (at least 10 minute mile pace).   Then we finished a lap.  At that point all the benefits of really mediocre ultramarathon training kicked in.  I may not have trained to have Edwin Moses type speed, but I can run really, really slowly for a short time.  Well upon finishing the lap my Kenyan friend decided to opt out from running any further.  Some could look at this as him deciding that running any further at that ridiculously slow speed would be revolting.  However I look at it like this:

Winner, winner chicken dinner!  Me=faster than Kenyans.

'nuff said.