As the years pile up, the words “You’re fast” aren’t heard so much. On a typical day, my per-mile pace is 3:00 slower than it was while running in my 20s and 30s.
That is why it was amusing to hear the words “You’re fast” when a young man came running past me on the Great Western Trail today.
I didn’t hear him coming until he was about fifteen yards behind. At that point I turned to see who was catching me. While I’m slower than I once was, there still aren’t that many people that pass me by on a typical day’s run.
I’d covered the first two miles in just over 9:00 pace, which is close to my “base” or average training rate these days. .
The third mile I slowed because it was humid in the woods. I came through in 9:31. But when I started back east I started to feel light on my feet.
Perhaps I was warmed up. Or maybe it was the east breeze cooling me off on a humid morning. Whatever the reason, I was picking up the pace without trying. The next mile dropped to 8:44, and the second half of that mile was much faster than the first.
During the last mile I felt young again. Clipping along at sub 8:00 pace, I loved the feeling of effortless running.
At the same time, the young man that eventually passed me must have been closing the gap. When he did, and he uttered those words, “You’re fast,” I laughed called out. “Who do you run for?”
“No one. I run for boxing,” he replied. And kept going. There’s a Muy Thai place not far from the trail. He must kick ass there too.
My Old School
Before today’s run I’d stopped to speak with a group of ten kids waiting around at the trailhead to go for a run. The Covid laws still stipulate that even groups of teammates could not exceed ten people. I talked with them at a safe social distance about the fact that their team had won the state title in cross country the previous fall.
“Well,” one of them mumbled. “We’re not the ones who did that.”
I made a sweeping motion with my hand and replied, “Guess what?Everyone here was a contributor to that effort. The whole team matters.”
I meant that. But I should have told them, “You’re fast,” because compared to the rest of us in this world, they probably are.