The Cheese Runs Alone

I don’t know what it is about my running speed, but I’m either too slow or too fast to run with a buddy or in a group. It’s like I give off some sort of anti-social pheromone (it’s probably sweat, which I do a lot) whereby people catch a whiff of it and are motivated to run a couple hundred yards ahead of me.

Case in point: my recent track workout. I showed up for my first track night in like a month, but the pattern was eerily familiar. We all do some warm up laps and some drills before Teresa tells us what the workout is and assigns a pace for each of us. Every single time she does this, she assigns everyone a pace and seems to forget about me. I ask her “What’s my pace?” and she gives me one, then she scans the group and tries to find someone who runs at the same pace as me.

And, I swear to God, whoever she pairs me with ends up running like a minute frickin’ faster than what Teresa assigned us as our pace. We all take off in a group and I check my watch to make sure I’m running at an appropriate speed, then I look up and see that the group I’m supposed to be running with is a million paces ahead of me, competing in some sort of unknown foot race that I’m most certainly going to lose. I mentally shake my fist at them and call them jerk face overachievers for running faster than they said they would. I then proceed to run by myself. This happens to me a lot.

The same thing happens with Jason. We start off on a long run together and he half-ass jogs right in front of me because he thinks he needs to hang back and run at my pace. But then if I need to stop for whatever reason (e.g., I have a cramp, that hill nearly killed me, I’m fat and out of shape), he begrudgingly slows down and walks alongside me for roughly twelve seconds before whining, “Can’t you at least jog?” Then I snap at him to run at his own pace without me, which he ends up doing. He trots back to find me every so often, which I both hate and like (hate because I hate that he’s faster than me, like because at least he’s not completely ditching me).

I’m starting to think that I’m destined to run by myself because apparently there is nobody in the entire Seattle metropolitan area who runs at the same pace as me. It’s like the Farmer in the Dell and I’m the cheese who stands alone. Or, in this scenario, I suppose I’m the cheese who runs alone. Hi-ho-the-dairy-o, the cheese runs alone. I’ve gotten pretty much used to it at this point, though. Besides, I’m not much of a talker when I run. I once ran around Greenlake with someone who talked my ear off the entire loop, with me offering up the occasional grunt and winded “Uh huh.”

But still, there’s something about having a presence next to you that’s somewhat comforting. It’s like you mentally push each other to keep going and maintain a good pace. You don’t have to exchange words or have a lengthy, heart wrenching conversation about the meaning of life or anything. Oftentimes all you need is the physical presence of someone next to you to encourage you to keep going. And I don’t have that. (Well, Jason is pretty encouraging when we do our long runs, but I find his encouragement to be great or annoying, depending on my mood. Today it was annoying, then begrudgingly great.)

Maybe I’ll tape a dummy to the side of me, you know, like one of those vaudeville acts. Or I could pay a ridiculously fast runner to trot alongside me in a tortuously slow pace, just to stick it to him. (Wait, if I’m paying him then the joke would be on me.) Or I could get faster…that could work, too. I guess I’ll just have to work hard and try to catch up with all of the fast a-holes I train with. Until then, the cheese runs alone…

3 Responses to “ “The Cheese Runs Alone”

  1. Teresa says:

    I like the idea of taping a dummy to you. I will start bringing the blow up doll to track! You did a great job getting back into it. Keep it up…and don’t forget to put the deodrant on!

  2. Bri says:

    OMG I was dying reading this old post cause this is EXACTLY how I feel at every track workout!!! I would offer to be your running buddy but I think you are faster than me…..turn around next time everyone leaves you in the dust….I’ll be in the dust behind your dust 🙂

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