Sunday, June 26, 2011

Black Jack & Jokers

Black Jack is a game of Chance AND Strategy.  Some days running feels like that too.  You get the cards you get.  If you choose a "hit", well, sometimes that means you bust, and sometimes it means you win.

I made a plan to run my long run, 13 miles, on Thursday of this week.  Poor "strategery" lead to rescheduling for Saturday.  The catch?  MTT was only scheduled to run 9.

NBD, True?  I'll just tack on an early 4 miles to the run.  People do it all the time.  I threw a post out into the msg board, looking for company, for 4 miles, 9-9:30 pace and waited patiently for the replies to come pouring in....

(crickets chirping)

So.  Um.  Yeah.

I did eventually get a reply.  It was from an unexpected source.... and this is when things got interesting.

The BLACK Team Coach invited me to join them.  "What, WHAT?"
(an actual quote, I never pretended that I'm articulate).

He was cool though, and said I could join, even though the pace was "different".

I’m pretty sure that he didn’t know he was inviting SOCK GIRL to his run.  I'm pretty sure he still has no idea I'm "The Social Elite".  I'm pretty sure he didn't know me from Joe, and yet, he still invited me. 

At MTT some people acquire nick-names.  "Safety Nazi"... "Pants Guy".... "Sock Girl"....  Truly I think my 'name' could be much worse.  (as far as I KNOW I’m NOT known as Head-lights Girl or High-Beam Runner, but….)

I shot him a reply:  "Yup, sounds like a great plan."

I felt Okay about the whole thing.

Nope.  That is such a HUGE freaking LIE.

I was really wicked nervous when I showed up. 

Like, “babble about nothing for five or six minutes” nervous. 

Like, seriously, I... forgot Robert Downey Jr’s name NERVOUS. 

Like, …what self respecting female could do THAT?  seriously, I know!  mortified.


So nervous, in fact, that I made a total "joke FAIL".  

"I'm not going to try to keep UP with you people...."

YOU PEOPLE!  ~they were mock outraged~

Oh the hilarity that ensued was... hilarious.  A 5 minute story getting to "you People"...  Another Joke on You People.  Now they're referencing themselves as "you people" and I'm standing there trying to decide if I laugh, or die of embarrassment, or ... both...  

And you know how sometimes a Joke Fail isn't really a fail at all?  

Well, I guess it's all in how you choose to play the cards you're dealt, True?

We took off on the run with the intention that they would leave me, or I would drop off once we got under the over pass.  They didn’t choose to leave me, and fear is a strong motivator, so I hung in there for a solid 2 miles.  When they pulled away, a nice guy named Bill hung back with me.  He kindly pointed out that Those People were only about 100 yards ahead of us at the finish….  And basically, what I’m saying here is:  I didn’t suck.  And neither did they.

Back at the stadium I went and joined the Red Team.  I figured it didn’t matter what group Mustang Sally, T, & I ran with, we just needed a sign in sheet. We would run in our comfort zone regardless of "who" we ran with, right?  Well, as we went through the 9 miles, the Black Team was running "into us" on the same route. 

“HEY! There's PINK!" I heard.  "Doin' OK?”



All smiles and laughing.  It was fun.  One of the runners with me commented on it.  “Black team doesn’t usually say anything.”

“I ran with them this morning… it was a, uh, student exchange…”

I ended up having an EPIC run.  I finished with gas in the tank, a smile on my face, and I totally crushed my last mile.

I ran into Coach Black as he was waiting for Mrs. Black to finish her run.  He was a good sport about a photo for the blog, a good sport about my interest in striking up a conversation, and generally a nice guy who knows a lot about running.  

I'm giggling here because he offered to take off his shirt for the photo so he could be "Clear", which, of course killed me.  Freaking KILLED ME.  I swear, if I hadn't been trying to be cool while being stupid and asking for a photo, I might have died laughing on the spot.  

I've concluded that the black team members are just runners.  They speak the same language I speak.  It’s just a faster dialect.  

Mr. Black is a good running coach, but he's not MY coach.  He didn’t say “Well Done” as one of my coaches does when I don’t suck.  He didn’t say, “Good Job G!!!” as sweet Coach El says when I finish strong.   

Instead, he offered me something else...   As he was walking away at the end of the day,  he turned back to me and said, “Anytime you want - 6:15, at the Stadium, on Saturdays with The Black Team…. Anytime.”

I am invited back.  Anytime

Not that I’m going to make a habit of it.... people who run outside of their pace zones all the time are just asking to get hurt.
~savor the run~