Wow, look at that Greek God! Oh wait, that's me bearded and 15 pounds lighter. Those were the days.
In a quarterly effort of beating my body to a pulp a trying to create a new record for reciting the only memorable quote from Lethal Weapon, I decided to sign up for a half-marathon training at a local running store (redacted). I won the training during a silent auction, so I might as well use it. Besides, my whole "one-man wolfpack" routine wasn't working out other than looking for strippers and cocaine (calm down, it's a movie quote). So, it was a common-sense move for someone that wanted another crack at the White Rock track...but only half.
Picture yourself, waking up at four-fifteen in the morning every other day (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday). In the waking moments, you stumble around in the darkness looking for all of your new and updated running accoutrement. The Garmin watch is clear across the way from the specially-designed running socks which is opposite room of the quick breakfast pellets to snack on pre-run. While the sleep is trying to escape your eyes, YOU HAVE TO DRIVE to the running store where the group meets (quick aside: I hate the fact I have to drive to run. I should just run...but it is a bit far for a warmup jog from the house...still hate that, though).
The car is in park. The inventory continues: watch, visor, car key separation, water bottle belt, Sports Beans, heart monitor, forgetting to powder your thighs and tape your nipples but you will tough it out. There is now a constant pile of a change of clothes and towels for the aftermath. As the truck doors are locked, there is a deep inhalation of a warm, almost radioactive, air rising from the roads that are about to be run. Get ready for 05:15...that's when it starts.
Sounds fun, right?
With record temperatures for the past--oh--sixty days (!), oh-dark-thirty is about the only safe time to attempt a run more than four miles. But it's not the waking or the anticipation of tearing my body down that ruins the group runs for me.
Maybe it's my background of adolescent locker rooms and two hulking brothers also into sports or just my general comfort level with my company during athletic endeavors...but there is an element to my group run that makes me dread Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday (other than the avoidance of alcohol on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday--boo!).
"You know, this is almost as hard as child birth."
"Oh my gosh, it is so hot out here. And I'm tired."
"You can tell that race doesn't cater to women. There race shirts were awful."
"My assistant is such a moron. She can't do one thing right."
"Are you on travel because I'm not on travel if you are on travel."
"Have you read 'The Help' or are you going to see the movie first?"
You guessed it. It's not the time or day or the strain of effort, it's the fact that I am running with a dozen women that just won't stop talking. Jeezie Chreezie, it is five-fucking-fifteen in the morning! What the hell is so important at 5:15 that you have to prattle on about it for four miles? I don't care about your job. I don't care about your kids. I don't care that you had to invite a person you didn't want to invite to happy hour. It is 5:15! Why are you talking? Stop talking and run!
Now, I don't mean to be misogynistic. And damnit if I'm not the first one in line to say I love women. To boot, all of these women in my running group are beautiful and athletic. Plus, I don't want to degrade a system that has been around a lot longer than my lone-wolf ass. The unnamed running store has fantastic coaches and a great system that keeps runners alive. For those facts, the store has nothing to do with my consternation of the group. I guess I just need to run faster.
The aimless chatter issue came to a head when we had to consolidate running groups due to a shortage of coaches. The addition of the dozen or so ladies that have nothing to do but to talk and run consumed the full-marathon group we latched onto. Ladies talking to new people...silence didn't stand a chance. The overwhelmed coach asked everyone to keep the volume down to no avail. Poor homeowners in affluent neighborhoods were subjected to my every-other-day hell.
In this case, I think a bit of segregation wouldn't hurt. Granted, the groups would be super small. My current group of 15 would be whittled to three (including me). And the limited conversations (you know, because we are running six friggin' miles at five in the morning) would be a bit more soluble.
"I sold my S2000 for a Mercedes Benz. I do miss that little Honda, though."
"Ah, that hill wasn't that bad, was it?"
"I just farted. Watch your 12 o'clock." (I made that one up because no one has had the balls to say that yet.)
I know this is merely an extension of what these ladies do while we are running. I complain. I gripe. I moan. But at least I'm fully awake when I do it. Don't get me wrong, the ladies in the group are very nice and I have had a couple of conversations, including football, with a couple of the runners. But man, sometimes it's nice to lose yourself in the run with the safety and protection of the group. Realizing I will only get that at the final mile when everyone is gassed is a saving grace. Let's just say group runs and solo runs have their respective pluses and minuses.
Lessons Learned, my three things.
1) It's hard not to over-think the obvious when the analysis begs for re-examination. However, sometimes the easiest answer is the best answer.
2) Don't you hate it when your state-sponsored cyber attack tools and strategy is leaked? Yeah, me too.
3) "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
BONUS (while writing this post): Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean it got out of hand really fast.
So, I am going to continue to take my medicine for the next 12-13 weeks, silence or lack thereof. If you see me not finish a beer or cocktail, it's because all this running is souring my taste for getting drunk (which is really messing with the image). Need to start locking down study time and fantasy football time. How about that collision of priorities. Talk later.